Well I missed the Green party conference this weekend - a great pity as it was only down the road in Cardiff. I've already had a number of reports come through (incl from Stroud Greens) and it sounds like it is a great event. The Daily Express wrote: "Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has positioned herself as "the real opposition" to the coalition Government."
Caroline's full keynote speech is on the Green party website: "Cuts that hurt the poorest hardest are morally wrong, but these cuts are not only socially devastating they are economically illiterate. We were the Party who went into the last election with a costed plan to tackle the deficit without decimating public services and destroying jobs. Our policies have never been more urgently needed...Our communities need politicians who will put them first - not the bankers, not the party donors, but the people they are supposed to serve. We get involved because we want to put something back into our local communities. We don't depend on big business or the unions to fund our work."
For more on click read more.
Caroline Lucas also highlighted:
- The need for private companies to be held to account, particularly those in charge of public services, through freedom of information law.
- The urgency of reform and modernisation in British politics.
- The blatant opportunism of Cameron's trip with arms manufacturers to the Middle East.
Caroline also accused Labour of suffering "a heroic amnesia" as it tried to block the Conservative and Lib Dems' policies. She said: "How can they oppose the market in the NHS when they first introduced it? How are they opposing tuition fees when they first introduced it? How do they oppose the selling off of the Royal Mail? That was (former business secretary) (Lord) Peter Mandelson."
Caroline added: "I've always been a bit ambitious, but I do think the Green Party is the real opposition. The Lib Dems are part of the Government - they can't speak out about proper constitutional reform or nuclear weapons or nuclear power or many of the things they stood for. Labour is utterly contaminated by the fact they pursued many of the policies which now the coalition Government is simply taking to their logical conclusions, so I think people are looking for a genuine opposition - and you won't be surprised to know I think that's the Green Party."
Caroline also pledged her support for the Alternative Vote (AV) campaign, adding: "We think AV is a small step in the right direction. It will mean people don't have to agonise over tactical voting, they can vote for what they believe in and I think that will be very liberating for a lot of people."
I have to add my own comment - as I have been very disappointed that Labour doesn't take a more principled stand on AV. They were the only main party that had in their manifesto a support for this kind of system. Yet Ed Miliband is giving his party a completely free vote on it. Where is his leadership? He presented himself as heralding a new kind of politics, but he cant get his own Labour MPs to vote in favor of a step in that direction. See my recent post on AV here.