The Green Party conference has now drawn to a close and attention has very definitely turned to the Lib Dems in Glasgow. But what did we learn about the Green Party?
Well, one thing that we learnt was they have some admiration for UKIP! Surprising? Not really when you look at why – as a minority party on the fringes of UK politics, UKIPs approach to campaigning and the successes they achieved at the last local elections are worth a detailed look to see how other less mainstream parties can learn from them, and that’s exactly what the Greens are doing.
But what of policies and direction? The two key speeches, from Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas, were both great examples of what the Green Party have to offer. They put themselves over as the main alternative to the three mainstream “neo-liberal” political parties. Indeed anyone listening to their speeches and attending the Green Party conference could have been forgiven for thinking they had walked into the wrong place and instead headed to a Labour Party conference back in the days when Labour were truly socialist! And much of it was refreshingly good to hear.
They talked about renationalising our railways and stopping the privatisation of the Royal Mail, of opposing nuclear power and “fracking” as part of our energy policy, and criticised the current coalition government for hitting the poorest in society hardest. Their mantra was about a safer environment and a fairer society – again much to be applauded.
Caroline Lucas MP captivated the audience with her attack on big business and on the other parties, outlining why the Green Party is growing and how it must continue to grow whilst other parties struggle with membership –
“Greenpeace is larger than the Conservative Party. The Women’s Institute has more members than the Labour Party. Yet the Greens are continuing to grow in membership each and every year.” Caroline Lucas MP.
Natalie Bennett rightly focused on the poorest in society outlining the devastation created by recent government policies including the bedroom tax, the benefits cap and changes to disability living allowance.
“All this is in a society where there’s at least five workers chasing every job vacancy and far more in many areas. Where one in five workers earns less than a living wage, one in 10 are working fewer hours than they need, where 37% of people have no savings to turn to in an emergency, and where there are more than 13 million people living below the poverty line. In the world’s sixth largest economy, one fifth of the population do not have enough money to live on. This, after a year when the richest 10% of people got 12% richer.”
I have to say I was impressed.