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UK Green leader’s election message: Create a humane society that meets everyone’s needs

Natalie Bennett writes in The Independent:

Election 2015: The Green Party can create a humane society that supports everyone’s needs

You have a chance to vote for what you believe in, rather than the old, tired approach of voting for the lesser of two evils

p natalie bennett darren hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This election offers an opportunity for you as a voter. It’s a real chance to change our politics, to support a new kind of society that works for the common good, while living within the environmental limits of our one, fragile planet.

On Wednesday night I was in Bristol West, with hundreds of enthusiastic Green supporters committed to electing Darren Hall as their first Green MP. I’ve heard lots of political correspondents scoff over recent weeks when I said we could win the seat, but they were expressing astonishment last week, when an Ashcroft poll showed we’d added 21% to our 2010 vote. The momentum is running our way, and the excitement on the streets is obvious.

And I’ve seen that excitement around the country, in the midst of a “selfie frenzy” in Sheffield Central, in queues of well-wishers in my own constituency of Holborn and St Pancras, and of course in Brighton Pavilion, where voters have seen the huge achievements of our first Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

It’s the same excitement that’s seen Green Party membership more than quadruple in the past year, making us much larger than the Lib Dems or Ukip.

This is an election like none before. It is a multiparty election in which there’s a chance to vote for what you believe in, rather than the old, tired approach of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Voters saw me taking part, with Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon, in what were two gender-balanced leaders’ debates. They were a sign of a new grown-up approach to politics that offers a positive alternative to the pointless, destructive sparring of Prime Ministers’ Questions. They’ve seen a different type of politics is possible, and it is in their hands, your hands, to deliver.

The Green Party is standing in nearly 95% of seats in England and Wales. We’re aiming to send a strong group of MPs to parliament, where the polls suggest that we could have a massive influence. And we’d use that influence to do everything possible to ensure that we don’t have a Tory government.

Those Green MPs will consider supporting a Labour administration on a vote-by-vote basis, with a focus on reversing the disastrous, failed policy of austerity that has made the poor, the disadvantaged and the young pay for the greed and fraud of the bankers. We’ll fight to get rid of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons. And we’ll push for a sensible energy policy focused on the exciting business and community opportunities provided by renewables, combined with a focus on providing warm, comfortable, affordable-to-heat homes for all.

And we’ll continue to be the voice of reason, compassion and fairness in the destructive immigration debate that has sadly seen the Tories and Labour chasing after Ukip, rather than standing up to them. That’s been both morally reprehensible and politically stupid – helping to legitimise Ukip’s poisonous message. Although perhaps it’s not surprising that the current and former parties of government don’t want to explain that the entirely legitimate concerns about low wages, about our housing crisis, and about crowded schools and hospitals are not caused by immigration, but by failures of government policy.

We do have wages that are far too low, but that’s because we have an inadequate minimum wage, inadequately enforced. (And the Labour Party’s offer, of £8 an hour by 2019, is barely any kind of improvement.)

We have a housing crisis, caused by the failure of the market and the major developers to build homes, plus the loss of the public asset of council homes thanks to Right to Buy.

The NHS has been battered by reorganisations, bled almost dry by for-profit companies, and denied the investment it needs.

And our schools have suffered years of Michael Gove.

Britain has the wealth and resources to do great things. We can build an economy that gives everyone their fair share of the world’s sixth richest economy. We can create a humane, caring society that supports everyone’s needs. And we can be a world leader in tackling the threat of climate change.

Voting Green today is a chance to ensure Britain lives up to this potential.

Every Green vote will help to tug British politics in this direction, to indicate that the British people want real change.

Dave Schwab

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