Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Green Queen's Speech

This is what we could have had if we'd elected a Green government - a positive programme which would have created hope for the future, and an alternative to the mire which we are in. Well done Channel 4.

Green MP's alternative Queen's Speech

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 25 May 2010

As the Queen prepares to travel to Westminster to make her first speech setting out the coalition's planned laws, the country's first ever Green MP Caroline Lucas writes for Channel 4 News to describe what her alternative Queen's Speech would look like.

My government's overriding priority is to modernise the British economy for a low-carbon future, to create an economy more balanced between manufacturing and services, more resilient in the face of financial crises, where wealth is more equitably distributed and the more vulnerable in society are offered greater protection.

My government will bring forward a bill to initiate an emergency investment package, to cost £44bn, which will be intended to create over one million new jobs and training places.

This investment programme will result in significant improvements to public transport, including fare reductions of up to ten per cent. It will provide free insulation for all British homes. It will transform Britain's renewable energy sector into a world leader, which in turn will support the restoration of domestic manufacturing industry. It will also set our country firmly on the road to a zero waste economy.

In parallel with this bill, my government will continue the previous government's efforts to tackle Britain's budget deficit by 2014, but with greater emphasis on raising tax levels on the wealthiest thirteen per cent of earners.

The redistributive tax measures will ensure that a non-means-tested citizen's pension may be introduced at the level of £170 for individual pensioners and £300 for couples. This will ensure that no British pensioner is living below the poverty line.

My government will cancel new road building plans and transfer £30bn from the road building budget towards public transport and measures to promote and facilitate cycling and walking, including safe routes to school programmes.

Other fiscal measures my government will bring forward will include measures to ensure that the costs of high-carbon modes of transport better reflect their costs to society.

My government will introduce a bill to prevent any further private finance initiatives, and to keep the Royal Mail in public ownership, as the first step towards reversing the privatisation of public services.

My government will seek effective global and European collaboration to combat climate change, in a globally equitable manner, which will involve 90 per cent cut in UK CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, starting with a ten per cent cut in the coming year and following with successive year-on-year cuts to ensure the overall target is met.

My government will complete the reform of regulation of the financial services industry to ensure greater protection for savers and taxpayers, but will bring forward further legislation for the establishment of a nationwide network of not-for-profit community banks, and to separate retail from investment banking. Those banks which are wholly or partly state-owned will pay no bonuses above £25,000, and a permanent tax on bonuses will be introduced. A "Robin Hood tax", a tax on financial transactions, will also be established.

Recognising the international nature of the problems in financial services, my government will actively pursue with our European partners regulation at an EU level.

My government will introduce legislation to bring about wide-ranging political and electoral reform, including a fair and inclusive voting system which will be extended to a fully-elected second chamber.

My government is committed to making Britain a fairer and more inclusive society, and to this end will bring forward legislation to promote this. This will include a requirement for all companies to have at least 40 per cent of their boards of directors made up of women, and to penalise employers who implement unequal pay. The same legislation will strengthen the protection of disabled people and those with mental health problems against discrimination.

My government will bring forward plans for a very early withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan. At the same time it will seek international support for the establishment of a peace conference involving all Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, and measures to enhance economic and political stability in Afghanistan.

Legislation will be brought forward to decommission Britain's nuclear weapons.

Other measures will be laid before you.

I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A great night for the Greens!

Election night was a very long night in the Memorial Hall but well worth staying up for in the end. Caroline Lucas was elected as MP for Brighton Pavilion - a historic moment for the Green Party and one which we have been waiting for far too long.

I'd like to thank the friends and party members who helped me throughout my campaign and the people in Weaver Vale who voted for a radical progressive programme based on hope not fear. I'd also like to thank the returning officer, the people who worked so hard to count the votes, and the other candidates and agents who were all helpful, friendly and considerate.

One of the outcomes of this election is that it has become clear to all that we can no longer continue with an eighteenth century electoral system in a modern democracy. There is an urgent need for electoral reform including fixed term parliaments, proportional representation and an elected second chamber. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats must now seize the historic opportunity to make this happen.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

10 good reasons to vote Green tomorrow

The Green Party has policies that are distinctive from the other parties. We would protect social services and create 1,000,000 jobs in energy conservation, renewable energy and social care to fight climate change and save you money. Here are ten good reasons to vote Green tomorrow:

1. Stabilising the economy

Regulate the financial sector, permanently tax bankers’ bonuses and introduce the Robin Hood tax on international financial transactions, while reducing corporation tax for small firms.

2. Creating jobs

Create one million jobs in areas such as local manufacturing and food production, public transport, renewable energy, home insulation and repairing and recycling goods.

3. Education

Abolish formalised SATs testing for 11 year olds and reduce the huge paperwork burden on teachers. Protect schools and universities from cuts and privatisation, and abolish university fees.

4. Protecting public services

Protect public services from cuts and privatisation: keep the NHS public, protect Sure Start nurseries, re-open Post Offices, abolish charges for prescriptions and dentistry.

5. Pensions and care for the elderly

Introduce free social care for the elderly as in Scotland and raise the basic state pension to £170 a week.

6. Affordable housing

Take action to ensure that the million empty homes nationwide are brought back into use; introduce free home insulation for all homes within 5 years; and enable local councils to build new council housing again.

7. Transport

Redirect transport funding towards public transport, regulate the buses and renationalise the railways to ensure we have affordable and reliable public transport in the future. Improve cycle routes and pedestrian safety measures.

8. Youth facilities

Double spending on out of school services for young people to give them something to do and somewhere to go and introduce a national youth volunteering programme for the under 18s.

9. Climate change and energy security

The UK should lead the world by example in tackling climate change: energy efficiency measures in buildings, reducing travel miles by providing services like Post Offices locally and localising the economy, investment in renewable energy rather than nuclear power.

10. Democracy and Parliamentary reform

Replace the House of Lords with a fully elected second chamber; decentralise power to local councils and communities; restrict the lobbying power of big business over MPs; prevent MPs from holding directorships and consultancies that stop them being full-time MPs and may result in conflicts of interest.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Weaver Vale campaign update

Last week things really began to feel like they were speeding up and I had an unexpected disaster when my WiFi packed up causing me to miss a couple of important emails but now I'm back campaigning online. I've been answering as many emails as I can and tramping the streets of Northwich delivering about 750 election flyers - mainly in Kingsmead. The biggest disappointment and frustration of this election for me has been not being able to spend much time talking to constituents. If I had done this, as I would have liked to, I wouldn't have been able to get my flyers delivered.

The big event of the week was the candidate's debate at Mid Cheshire College. All the candidates - Tory, Lib Dem, Labour, UKIP, Green and 3 independents - except the BNP - turned up. For such an important election the turnout was disappointing with the venue being about half full. Although advertised as a debate - it really consisted of us answering a series of questions in turn. Given that there were eight of us this was quite a cumbersome process. I missed the email with the questions and was probably less prepared than the others although I thought I made a reasonable job of it given that it was my first hustings. I managed to ask the Tory candidate Graeme Evans why the Tories were planning to give away £7 billion in tax cuts to the rich at a time when they are planning to cut public services but predictably I didn't get an answer!

The election is getting really close and I'm hoping this will be a real breakthrough for us. If things go well we could get 3 0r 4 MPs elected. After the huge let down of the European elections I'm not building my hopes too high because there is a danger that now, as then, our candidates will get squeezed out because people who would like to vote for us know we can't form a government. You should vote for the party you believe in and whose policies you find best. That is the only way we'll get real change in the UK.

The Green Party is the only party that is offering a economic alternative to the failed policies supported by the main parties. We want to get people back to work and give the economy a real boost at the time of recession. Our plan to create 1 million jobs and protect public services is far more ambitious than anything the other parties have to offer and would be good for the people of Weaver Vale. We have plans for a Citizens Pension that would end pensioner poverty and overall our policies are the best according to the 226,000 people who have visited http://www.voteforpolicies.org.uk. Why not take a look at this site yourself. You may be surprised to find out you are a Green voter after all.