Monday, 2 February 2015

Green Politics... or the lack thereof

There are 93 days until the General Election, and it already feels like a very long time. Admittedly the campaigns have yet to get into gear and no full manifestos have been released yet but I do think it is time to start thinking about what the various parties are going to offer in terms of the commitment to safeguarding the environment.

We already know how ineffectual the Conservatives ‘Vote Blue Go Green’ campaign was and I challenge anyone of you to support the coalition’s assertion that they were to be the greenest government to date. I didn't see any of that in the past 5 years, but perhaps I missed something. This is not to let the other parties off the hook, Labour hardly had a sterling reputation when they were in power and the Liberals have failed to assert green policies enough.

The environment is always one of the parties lesser issues, Economy, Jobs, Education and the NHS are the big areas, perhaps immigration for some. Since the economic downturn green policies have gone from the side lines of party politics to completely absent.
As a little bit of research I thought I would investigate the main parties views on the environment by visiting their websites and seeing what I could find, what I found horrified me.

Conservatives – No reference to the environment and green issues and no search function to check their archive. What a joke.

Labour – A vague idea. Most of the page was rubbishing the Conservatives saying what they did last time but little on the future. They did indicate strong ideas of climate change, flooding, animal welfare and the new buzz thing – green jobs and green technology... I m not sure what they mean and there was no definite explanation of how they were going to achieve these aims. A good start though.

Liberal Democrats – The bare minimum. Again a reference to these ‘Green’ Jobs. The aspiration to plant a million trees and a 5p plastic bag charge. Come on Lib Dems.

UKIP – At first I didn't think there was much but a search function brought up a range of policies. Scrapping HS2, Tighter Fishery controls, ban on the export of live animals, protection of greenbelt, added incentives for brownfield construction, local over turn right for large projects based on a local referendum, This all sounds great... it really does but then they also support abolition of green taxes and the repealing of the Climate Change Act. One step forward Two back.

The Green Party – As expected they have policies but they are hardly detailed. They state their aim to move away from fossil fuel dependency and to invest in flood defence and upland management. Protection from short term consumerist goal (how and what is not stated) and strong animal welfare policies. You can do better than this.

So what does this little pre-election survey tell me... well as what I call a ‘pragmatic greeny’ I think we are all doomed. Where policies ideas are voiced they are vague and to be honest not thought through. Only UKIP... I repeat UKIP seem to have some modicum of detail to their plan. Now I am being unfair, the real manifestos are not out yet and perhaps the parties are keeping their powder dry.
Back in May last year I blogged out my personal plea to the next government. I would urge all of you like minded people to review that list and to send it to your prospective parliamentary candidates. Ask them what they are planning to do, they represent us so let’s tell them what we want.

At this rate not a single party will be able to enthuse me enough to vote for them. The countdown starts now.