EU elections here I come – voting Green

Flag_of_Europe.svgIt’s two weeks until the EU elections take place in the UK (and in the rest of the EU over the next few days).

Will you vote Lib Dem, Labour, Conservative, UKIP or the Greens?

The EU manifestos are a bit of a laugh – clearly none of the political parties is taking us, the electors, particularly seriously.

UKIP’s has hardly anything in it except a large photograph of Nigel Farage – so that can’t be said to be misleading, anyway.

I honestly can’t find the Labour Party’s EU manifesto on the party website nor on the website of my Labour MEP – and after a while I gave up as everything I put into Google sent me to the Lib Dem EU manifesto which might be where quite a few other Labour supporters end up!

The Lib Dem manifesto discusses climate, energy, agriculture and fisheries and I quite like what I see there.

The Conservatives are claiming that a paltry 27 Marine Conservation Zones is one of their successes – a measure that came out of – ahem – the Labour Government’s Marine Act and which has been implemented at a snail’s pace by this ConDem government.  They must be having a larfff!  And the Conservatives don’t appear to have any policies for the natural environment for the next few years – at least that seems to reflect their present position fairly accurately.

And so, since I don’t live in Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland, and am not completely bonkers, I come to the Green Party. The mini manifesto is noticeably short on wildlife policies too.

So, that hasn’t helped very much.  It feels like no-one is trying very hard to get my vote.  The Lib Dems and The Greens seem to be nice and well-meaning, and vaguely in tune with what I want.

I have to make up my mind, and I will vote.  It goes against the grain to be one of the EU’s 500 million electors and not exercise that right.

I can’t possibly vote UKIP because I believe in the EU (with all its faults) and I dislike almost all their policies. I can’t vote Conservative because they are trying to look like UKIP and their domestic environmental performance has been awful. I should vote Labour, as I am a Labour Party member, but I can’t find their manifesto and I haven’t seen much to enthuse me from Ed’s bunch in Westminster recently (although my Labour MP, Andy Sawford can absolutely count on my vote in the next general election).  I could vote Lib Dem, particularly as my LibDem MEP, Bill Newton-Dunn seems admirably sane, human and hard-working.  He also seems to get the environment. And he also left the Conservatives to become a LibDem so there is quite a lot to admire there. But I feel like protesting on behalf of the natural environment and the best way to do that in these elections is to vote Green. The Greens already have two UK MEPs and they both seem pretty good folk. And the Greens are the fourth largest party grouping in the European Parliament and I’d like to strengthen their hand.

So, two weeks today, I will vote Green (as I have once before in EU elections) and thus ensure that at least one person out of half a billion votes for a greener future. If a few others do the same then it will send a bit of a message to Labour and Conservative parties in this country and that won’t do any harm at all.

See my column in the May Birdwatch magazine for more on this subject (and a lovely photo of a female Bee-eater on the cover).

 

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31 Replies to “EU elections here I come – voting Green”

  1. You might see voting Green as a protest ( protest against what? The other Parties' lack of care for the environment?). I see voting green as a vote for a sustainable future, for a party who has policies that puts real people and the Environment first, and as a vote for a move in the right direction to a long term future.

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  2. I'll be voting Green, but it won't be as a protest. It'll be because theirs is the philosophy that matches mine closest at the moment. And because due to the voting system, there's a possibility my vote might count.

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  3. Here in rural North Yorkshire its the only time when my vote might mean something. To date though the only leaflet I have had through the door was for UKIP which says it all really. I'm pro-European so UKIP is not for me but at least they are making the effort. Therein lies the danger becuase there are plenty of disaffected Tories round here who dislike Cameron (and the constant attempts to discredit Farage) . I'll probably vote Green (I did last time) but I'm surprised at the lack of effort locally on the ground of the other parties. If they appear not to be bothered how can they expect the electorate, and particularly young voters, to engage in the process?

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  4. Have you watched the TV broadcasts? The Greens are the only ones going to do anything, the rest just slag the others off.

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  5. I have already voted Green by post. Jolly good luck to them. It'll probably come to nothing, but I'm completely disillusioned by the other parties currently.

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  6. I am voting green for similar reasons.

    Chis, in the system of voting this need not be purely regarded as a protest. If there is a large number of votes in an area there will be a green elected, and if it adds up to a lot of first and second preferences across the country, then just perhaps the establishment parties will see a reason to consider the environment, and the natural world.

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  7. Is the Green Party in E&W as keen on Scottish independence at the Scottish Greens are?

    "And this election takes place only a few months before the landmark referendum vote. Greens support a Yes vote, one which sees Scotland take its place with the many European nations of comparable size who have built forward-looking economies and more equal societies. So that’s a Yes vote for a very different kind of Scotland, with the powers to secure the fairer society and flourishing environment which Scotland needs."

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  8. For a measure of Green Party competence Brighton is an exemplar.

    As God was creating man his assistant came up to him and he said: "Hey, we've got all these bodies left, but we're right out of brains, we're right out of hearts and we're right out of vocal chords. "And God said: Worry ye not. Sew 'em up anyway. Smack smiles on the faces and make them talk out of their fundaments." And lo, God created politicians

    I have edited the quote in the interests of decency

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  9. Well all the protest votes whatever that means just weakens the thing we all need most which is a prosperous economy which it seems only the Conservative party can deliver and that is based on factual evidence.
    It is quite obvious only they have the people capable of providing a thriving economy and if the votes mean others take us down the road to ruin then nature will get in even worse state.
    Of course that not too relevant in MEP elections but even if you vote for what you consider more nature friendly party's the their influence among all Europe is next to nothing.
    Lets be fair and admit that starting from a almost bankrupt 2010 after about 13 years of worst PMs and Government ever this lot have done a great job.
    I think history shows that every time a country's economy gets in serious trouble nature suffers serious problems,people at that stage kill anything eatable.

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    1. Is the "thriving economy" the reason the ConDems have been so excellent on the environment then Dennis?

      The European elections arguably have a greater effect on our environment, not less (e.g Cap and fisheries policy). I'm not sure where you live, but it can't be the UK, unless you live on a grouse Moor. That's the bit of the environment the conservatives like best.

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  10. I've really liked the MEPs I have met, although I haven't met a UKIP one yet! They operate less in the political limelight and that seems to take the party political edge off some of what they do, allowing them to focus on actually trying to help. It baffles me why politicians can't make a decent stab at defending the EU. Other than an idealistic or quite frankly frequently biggotted view of immigration, I bet most of the anti's can't actually name an EU law that infringes on their rights. We get more back financially from being in and would only have to remake virtually every EU law (including our environmental ones) if we left. On a personal level, Bill Newton Dunn is a pretty decent MEP but I'll probably be voting Green.

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  11. Gordon,think if you look at it accurately the environment benefits you mention and indeed any other have nothing to do with our politicians.In Europe at the moment we have absolutely no influence.
    We need the re-negotiations promised by D C.
    I live in UK well away from Grouse moors and in the real world,how about you.

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  12. Thanks!
    You might be interested in our Animal Protection Manifesto for the European election - the mini manifesto is very much the short version...
    http://www.greenparty.org.uk/resources/2014/AnimalProtectionManifesto.pdf

    Also see the full manifesto, particularly from page 15 onwards...
    http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/European%20Manifesto%202014.pdf

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  13. My natural inclination would be to vote Green, but I live in Scotland, which is a single multi-member constituency for the European elections and I think has a different way of allocating seats to the rest of the UK.

    The Greens have no realistic chance of winning a seat, and it appears that voting for them increases the chance of UKIP grabbing a seat here. So, for that reason alone I won't be voting for them this time.

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  14. I'd normally vote for the Green Party but because I live in London at the moment I'll be voting for the National Health Action Party on May 22nd. I can't stand back and watch the NHS be privatised. It must be exempted from the TTIP.

    I couldn't vote for the Tories. Sure, with 0.8% growth money is making money once more, but for the wrong people and for the wrong reasons.

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  15. If you want environmentally sound, sustainable and socially responsible policies - which I presume conservationists do - then vote for the party that offers such things: The Green Party.

    It's not complicated.

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  16. Good choice. My feeling is that most of the really effective UK environmental legislation of the past 30 years or so has come from the EU, despite the best efforts of successive UK governments to dilute it. It is EU Directives that have forced us to clean up our freshwaters and coasts, recycle our rubbish, reduce pollution of all kinds, and protect rare species and habitats, while EU funds such as LIFE have made a dramatic difference to conservation. You might not notice LIFE funds as they often arrive via conservation NGOs, but have a look at reserve signs around the UK - a sizeable proportion have 'supported by the EU' if only in tiny letters in the bottom corner.

    Now, why it has taken the EU to do all this? Could it be the presence of the Green grouping of MEPs from all over the continent, which the UK parliament doesn't have (except for one!), and who seem to be the driving force behind most EU environmental legislation?

    Because this election is under a fair voting system, for once in the UK it allows the Green voice to be heard, as in the rest of Europe. So this time a Green vote isn't just a protest vote - you will be voting on the basis of decades of a strong environmental record in the European Parliament, and, hopefully, strengthening that Green voice.

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  17. In a sovereign Scotland I will vote Green in Europe. Right now, the engine of progressive change is the Scottish National Party - as ever, not listed by this blog among the starters.

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    1. Stevenson - you must read the blog again to be accurate. It's about who I might vote for and in the East midlands EU constituency we don't have many SNP or Plaid Cymru candidates (which is mentioned). If you want to be independent you surely can't expect me to be writing about Scotland from this small corner of Northamptonshire? I've just checked - Calais is almost 100 miles closer to me geographically than Jedburgh. Although, emotionally, I am far closer to Scotland.

      Unfortunately 'Scotland's Future' shows no sign that an independent Scotland would give much of a thought to the natural environment https://markavery.info/2013/12/03/scotlands-environment/ but that doesn't necessarily mean that things would get any worse, does it?

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      1. Mark - in your second paragraph, you seem to be making the common mistake of equating Scottish independence with an SNP dictatorship. If we become independent, we can then choose whichever government we want. It may or may not be SNP and therefore the SNP policies presented in 'Scotland's future' may or may not happen.

        I would agree that the SNP leadership do not seem particularly interested in the natural environment, although no worse than the other main parties. However, my own backbench SNP MSP, Dennis Robertson, has been quite vocal in his condemnation of raptor persecution and is RSPB Scotland species champion for capercaillie and corn bunting.

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  18. I too would like to vote Green. It would be a strong message for Europe. But I live in Scotland and the Scottish Greens support Scottish independence, and I don't. Help!

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    1. Mark - save that issue for September and choose whoever you think would do the best job in the EU?

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  19. Actually Mark, to be accurate, your opening question was 'will you vote Lib Dem, Labour, Conservative, UKIP or Green ? That was your starting line up which, in terms of your blog at least, rather disenfranchised some of us.
    To be accurate also the answer was that that the SNP is the 'engine' of change. The White Paper was certainly deficient on environmental issues beyond renewable energy but it is widely recognised that the document and the Referendum itself are part of a process. The SNP are driving that process but it is far wider than one party and likely to be more progressive than anything currently visible in the UK as a whole.

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    1. Stevenson - actually to be accurate, the first words of this blog were the title 'EU elections - here I come voting green' which rather sets the context. There is no way that anyone except the most picky could possibly think that I had forgotten the existence of the rest of the UK.

      There are around 38 political parties seeking our votes in some part or other of the UK.

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  20. I was in the Yorkshire Dales NP over the bank holiday and happened to be eating a Yorkshire ice-cream in Grassington's 'square' by the village noticeboard. Festooned amongst the notices of local events were the more official notices of the impending EU election. All the runners and riders were listed (parties, participants and oddly, their addresses). I noted that there is a party calling themselves the Yorkshire First Party (http://www.yorkshirefirst.org.uk/); and intrigued, I took a closer look. Three candidates are standing with one, so keen to place Yorkshire First that they live in Norway! Made me chuckle.

    R.

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