Greens launch radical manifesto

Green Party manifesto launch
Image credit: YouTube screengrab

With the election less than three weeks away, all the major parties standing in England have now released their manifestos. First up this week was the Green Party of England and Wales. And its manifesto set out a radical programme for transforming the country.

In the wide-ranging manifesto, the party set out a series of policy proposals including:

  • Ending privatisation of the NHS by repealing the Health and Social Care Act and abolishing the internal market.
  • Increasing the minimum wage to £12 an hour for all workers over the age of 16.
  • Abolishing the Home Office, replacing it with a Ministry for Sanctuary and a Ministry for the Interior.
  • Providing 35 hours a week of free child care for all from the age of nine months.
  • Introducing rent controls for private tenants to tackle the rising cost of housing.
  • Ensuring all forms of birth control are free.
  • Abolishing tuition fees for undergraduate students.
  • Ending the academies project and bringing all state schools into the control of local authorities.
  • Legislating for a right to food – giving access to healthy and locally sourced food to all.
  • Scrapping Trident nuclear weapons.

At the launch Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales said:

Today, we’re so proud to put forward a manifesto which puts us on track to decarbonise every single sector of the economy by 2030, while delivering social justice across Britain.

Scottish Greens to pledge free public transport for all

Patrick Harvie
Image credit: Creative Commons: Ric Lander

The Scottish Greens are yet to release their manifesto. But the document, due to come out on Monday is set to include a pledge for free public transport for all.

The policy would be paid for through duties on road vehicles.

Speaking on the free public transport policy, Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie described it as “liberating”. According to the Scotsman he said:

To tackle the climate and air pollution emergency, we need to focus public funds on public transport, making it the most convenient and easiest choice.

Imagine how liberating it would be, to hop on and off our buses, trains and ferries at will without the need for fares.

Free public transport isn’t far-fetched.

It is happening in cities across Europe and will be in place in [the] whole of Luxembourg by the summer.

Greens welcome the announcement of a Channel 4 ‘Climate debate’

Sian Berry
Image credit: Rosie Rawle

With many branding this election the ‘climate election’, nearly 200,000 people signed a petition calling for there to be a debate specifically focussed on parties’ policies on climate change. This week, Channel 4 announced that it will be hosting that debate.

But so far, only the Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the SNP have a greed to attend. Neither the Tories nor the Brexit Party have agreed to participate.

Greens have welcomed the debate. Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry said:

This election could be the last opportunity for voters to set the UK on track to tackle the climate emergency, the Green manifesto sets out how this can be done, and it is vital that the Prime Minister and all other party leaders debate this together.

I’m excited that we will be able to set out the Green Party’s ambitious manifesto for voters, and hold the other parties to account for their constant dither and delay that has brought us into this crisis.

And in an article in the Independent, Green MP Caroline Lucas described the debate as “unprecedented”, but criticised Boris Johnson for ‘snubbing’ it. She wrote:

With Channel 4 agreeing to host the debate as early as next week, the only thing missing is an agreement from the one major party leader who is so far refusing to take part: Boris Johnson.

Our demand now is very simple. Johnson must reverse his decision to snub this unprecedented debate and show that his party has more than reusable straws and drinks stirrers as a response to the greatest crisis of all time.

Young Greens launch trans rights election pledge

Young Greens trans pledge launch
Image credit: Young Greens

The Young Greens of England and Wales has this week reaffirmed its commitment to trans and non-binary rights. It has initiated an election pledge, where people commit to use their General Election vote to support trans and non-binary rights.

Launched at the Bristol Trans Pride march along with the LGBTIQA+ Young Greens, the pledge commits people to voting for a party which will do the following five things:

  • Introduce legal recognition for transgender and non-binary people – regardless of age
  • Tackle transphobia through anti-bullying programmes
  • Introduce mandatory LGBTIQA+ inclusive education for all ages
  • Deliver significant investment in mental health support for trans and non-binary people
  • Increase the capacity and provision of gender identity clinics – especially for under 18s

LGBTIQA+ Young Greens co-chair Emma Main told Bright Green:

This pledge encourages people to take a moment to consider the impact their vote can have on the lives of young trans and non-binary people. It’s a clear message of love and support for the trans community, which is so crucial in these turbulent times for trans rights.

Young Greens co-chair Rosie Rawle also told Bright Green:

Trans rights are human rights. Green Party policy clearly says that trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are real and valid. Now it’s time that we put that into practice, and make sure that any government elected after December 12 cements trans and non-binary rights in law and in practice.

You can sign the pledge here.

Ross Greer named “One to Watch” in Scottish politics awards

The Herald this week announced its annual politician awards. And among the recipients of the prestigious awards was Green MSP Ross Greer. He received the “One to Watch” award, after a year in which he had a fiery encounter with Piers Morgan over the legacy of Winston Churchill and spearheaded the campaign against the Flamingo Land development in Loch Lomond.

John Finnie, the Greens’ transport spokesperson was also nominated for the “Politician of the Year” award. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful as the award as eventually granted to Nicola Sturgeon.

Greens continue to hit the streets in the election campaign

High profile policy announcements are a crucial feature of election campaigns. But more often than not elections are won in the streets not in manifestos. And this week – like every other between now and polling day – Greens are out on the campaign trail. Here are some of the highlights.

London Young Greens were out campaigning in Dulwich for Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley:

Magid Magid joined his fellow MEP Alex Phillips in Brighton Kemptown:

And dozens of Greens were out campaigning across Edinburgh:

Scottish Greens join call to abolition the Home Office

In October, the Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Jonathan Bartley made headlines by calling for the abolition of the Home Office at the party’s conference. That same policy made it into the party’s manifesto. And now, the Scottish Greens have joined the calls.

According the Morning Star, Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie described the Home Office as “institutionally racist”. Harvie said:

The Home Office is utterly unfit for purpose and should be abolished at once.

The hostile-environment policy has led to the Windrush scandal and the settled-status scheme threatens to create another catastrophe — this time on a larger scale — for EU citizens.

We know that the Home Office detains families at detention centres throughout the UK, including at Dungavel.

In Glasgow, 150 asylum seekers face being thrown out onto the street due to the Home Office’s relationship with the discredited outsourcing giant Serco.

These actions are reprehensible and are indicative of an institutionally racist department.

Caroline Russell hits out at evictions of council tenants

Caroline Russell
Image credit: Creative Commons: Joe Dunckley

Revelations that in the last year alone, 44 council tenants have been controversially evicted in Islington due to arrears were greeted with shock this week. Among those to criticise the evictions was Green member of the London Assembly and Islington councillor Caroline Russell.

Speaking on the issue, Russell said:

I have casework where people are overwhelmed by debt incurred in the transition to Universal Credit and some with council tax arrears growing year on year. These evictions are shameful and cruel. The council should be supporting people living on precarious incomes, not making them homeless.

Molly Scott Cato welcomes European Investment Bank plans to cut ties with fossil fuel industry

Molly Scott Cato
Image Credit: Creative Commons: Bristol Green Party

This week, the European Investment Bank committed to phase out its investments in the fossil fuel industry by 2021. It also committed to invest €1 trillion for climate action in the next ten years.

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato welcomed the move. According to Green World she said:

This marks the beginning of the end of public funding for fossil fuel investments by the EU’s largest bank. Greens have been highly critical of decisions by the EIB to invest in gas pipelines. Our repeated pressure is paying off and the bank is now on course to become a genuine climate bank.

Brighton Greens write to education secretary demanding revocation of academy order

The battle against academisation in Brighton & Hove has continued this week. The Brighton & Hove Green councillor group has written to the education secretary Gavin Williamson asking for him to reverse the highly contentious decision to convert the Moulsecoomb Primary School into an academy. The Greens on the council argue that turning the school into academy goes against the wishes of parents, teachers and the local community.

Hannah Clare, Green Party spokesperson for children, young people and skills on the council said:

Green Councillors have always been clear – we will oppose academisation at our city’s schools. We were proud to lead the campaign to stop the academisation of Hove Park School and ensure the voices of parents were heard. Our letter today asks the Secretary of State to do the same – listen to the voices of our community.

We look forward to a response from the Secretary of State – anything less than a decision to revoke the academy order is not good enough. At the highest level, decision makers are failing to recognise that Moulsecoomb is improving. But we will always stand with staff and our community in fighting this unjust decision, and continue to call leaders to account.