Photo: Bread Street Blackbird
First the letter:
“Clegg smashes through two-party system” said the Independent last week (16 April). Hooray. What a pity, though, that we’ve replaced it with a three-party system in which the third is in fact little different from the first two. There may have been “fierce clashes” between them but just how different are their respective policies? For instance, Trident – one of the three wanted rid of it, but only to replace it with something possibly cheaper but definitely still nuclear.
The second debate may have been “more confrontational” (Independent 23 April), but we still heard how little difference there is between those three parties on things like foreign policy, Afghanistan and climate change. Isn’t it a pity they didn’t have Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, in the debates? Judging by her recent performances on Question Time and the like, Caroline would certainly have been a match for the three of them. But more importantly, the viewers would have seen a very different debate – a debate in which one party leader was offering genuinely different policies. Policies like withdrawal from Afghanistan. Policies like scrapping Trident without replacing it – as a means of saving the money necessary to invest heavily in developing a low-carbon economy and thus creating a million UK jobs, as per the Green Party’s manifesto. In the end it’s the policies that matter.
The Independent is right, it’s time we heard a wider range of voices. But not just the three that say largely the same things on most subjects."
See also comments here re Lib Dems in a news release on Friday.
How green are the Lib Dems?
Green London Assembly Member Jenny Jones writes on The Guardian website - see here - The Lib Dems often say the right thing about environmental issues, but their track record is not good.
Nick Clegg seems to be saying he's anti-nuclear, but let's be clear the Lib Dems want to replace Trident with something smaller and cheaper but still nuclear. To tackle the recession the Greens propose investment while the Lib Dems are advocating "savage cuts". The Greens want to protect the NHS against privatisation, the Lib Dems don't. The Greens want an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Lib Dems don't. And the Lib Dems sadly are not as 'clean' in elections as they want to portray - I well remember their leaflet about Greens in Norwich - See Telegraph for more on that story here. Norwich is not the only case - last year in London during the Euro-elections they published leaflets showing apparent voting stats, saying 'Greens can't win here' - although the Greens had a sitting MEP, so clearly could win there, and the stats were from a different election fought under a different system.
Green party responds to calls to step aside for Lib Dems
This below was posted on a Facebook site...I've abbreviated it to some of the policy differences....
Speaking as one of the Green Party's national press officers, we aren't doing any vote trades...the Lib Dems appear that they want to do something, when their policy is really something else. 1) This ongoing myth about being against the Iraq War - the Lib Dems weren't against the war, they wanted to see a UN resolution authorising the war. If Bush/Blair had secured that, through outright bribery and arm twisting at the UN Security Council, what would have happened then? 2) They posture on Trident (delivery of nuclear weapons), but their policy is to retain half of the UK's nuclear weapons. 3) Lib Dems are only investing £3 billion as part of a green jobs package, not the £44 billion that Greens want as part of a 1 million jobs programme. 4) They talk about public transport, but Lib Dems are in favour of privatised trains. 5) They talk about local control, but they are in favour of PFI (taking public services and locking them away from public control for 25 year contracts). 6) Lib Dems speak in favour of congestion charging nationally, but are against it in Edinburgh, Manchester and York. 7) It's the same on wind farms, airport expansion, and incineration. Finally, in places where we are strong (Norwich, Lewisham, Brighton), Lib Dems are weak. When people have a choice between a vigorous Green alternative and the Lib Dems, they choose us. The only way we're going to get Green policies that reflect Green values is by voting Green, not just in our 3 target constituencies, but around the country so we can keep building support everywhere.
A Coalition Parliament?
38 degrees has run a campaign to challenge the scare stories in the media about what a hung parliament would mean - or as I said earlier a Coalition Parliament - coalition is a positive word and 'hung' sounds.... well not nice!. The Sun newspaper warns it's a "recipe for political corruption and paralysis". Bankers claim it could damage the economy.
In fact there are many voices in favour of a hung parliament. In the 38 degrees poll over 90% of 38 Degrees members think a positive case for a hung parliament needs to be made. They have been writing to the national papers. Indeed with a coalition we have hopes that there might be PR and representation from smaller parties - it works well in Scotland and I personally think it could be good for us.Lastly I have mentioned already the independent Vote for Policies, Not Personalities website (www.voteforpolicies.org.uk) - it has had well over 150,000 people participate in its survey to ascertain which party’s policies they most support, without initially revealing which parties follow which policies. The Greens are still top.