Green Party manifesto – the call for a peaceful revolution

I guess we’d expect the Greens to know something about green issues so it is reassuring that they do. After the Conservatives treated the countryside as the place that their mates own where they go to kill things at the weekend, and Labour treated it as the place which the Tories own where there are no votes for them, here at least is a manifesto which makes the links between all of our wellbeing, future health and happiness and the farmed, forested and fished environment. Thank heaven for that – pity they won’t be in government!

This is a very good document – not because I agree with everything it says (although I agree with a lot of it) but because it deals with the issues and sets out a philosophy of dealing with them. I guess the bigger parties don’t think it’s worth doing that for a number of reasons – they don’t have coherent philosophies any more, they are afraid that they would each look rather too much like the other lot, and everybody thinks they know what they stand for anyway (right or wrong) and there’s little point in trying to talk us out of it.

But this manifesto asks ‘What is the economy for?‘ – good question, and the answer here is good too.

This manifesto states that ‘It’s hard to be a citizen when life tells you that you are a consumer‘.

This manifesto invites us to imagine a world in which ‘we protect the planet, its land and its oceans, and the plants, animals and people that live on it‘.

And it has so many eye-catching policies that I am just going to pick out a few:

  • Make good the coalition government’s unfulfilled promise to protect forests through a Forest Protection Bill
  • All farm payments should be designed to protect the soil, reduce flood risk, conserve wildlife, improve water quality, increase recreation and assist carbon capture
  • Prohibit developers from being allowed to destroy unique habitats by way of biodiversity offsetting elsewhere
  • Produce a strategy for capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases through improved land management, for example by encouraging and preserving peatlands.
  • Work to reduce food imports and increase home and local food production where feasible
  • We should encourage eating less and better meat
  • End the use of the whip in horse racing and conduct a full review of the sport
  • Increase transparency and ensure publication of all findings of animal research, including negative findings
  • Publish freely the results of all publicly funded research
  • Provide a nationwide free retrofit insulation programme
  • require all new homes to be built to the Passivhaus standard
  • Closure of all coal-based power stations by 2023 at the very latest

and, I did notice this one…

  • End the practice of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting (as noticed by the Daily Telegraph)

…but there are loads. I guess the greens are trying to reassure us that they know what they are talking about, they have solutions, and they aren’t a bunch of idealistic nutters. Well, their manifesto convinces me, although I was well along the way to that conclusion already. In fact, as they say, it reminds one that it is the other parties that aren’t dealing with the fundamental issues facing the planet.

Rather than a manifesto written by a bunch of politicos this looks like one written by a load of scientists. Now, honestly, which would you back as the right way forward given that choice?

It is the lack of seriousness given to the fact that we are living as though we have three planets to clothe and feed us by the other main parties that has created the gap for the Greens to enter. What does a mansion tax do to address that? What does increasing the spending on the NHS do to address that? Labour and Conservatives are dealing with us, and what we want in the short term. The Green manifesto is dealing with the strategic issue of how we have to live to enable future generations to have a decent life. So it is a refreshing change and a much needed perspective – and I’d vote for it.

This is not the place for me to go into the Health, Education, Immigration etc sections of this manifesto but they are similarly specific and detailed. Give them a look.

We aren’t going to have a Green Party government on 8 May. I do wish we might although, crikey, they’d have a lot to learn very quickly. What I hope will happen is that the Greens will make real progress this time around, perhaps in Norwich South or Bristol West.


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27 Replies to “Green Party manifesto – the call for a peaceful revolution”

  1. We'll certainly not have a Green majority government, but we will in all likelihood have a coalition. The higher the Green vote, the stronger the Green voice within that coalition. A Green vote won't be wasted.

    1. Except we are not PR so this does not work. Wish it did, if greens were ever so slightly less extremist at the edges and had a chance where I live I'd give them my vote. Under PR I might give them it regardless as I used to in Scotland, despite not at all accepting all their policies.

  2. If the greens were not quite so polemic and narrow in their approach and terminology towards game shooting/hunting they would likely attract more swing voters - with small tweaks to their rhetoric across the manifesto that number may increase substantially.

    1. Tom - maybe. But maybe they have got that just right. How do we know?

      1. 10-20 years ago and beyond they would have defo lost support by moderating their views slight towards Centre but now I think they would gain. I am not proposing a change of emphasis of their main objectives but a change in how that is achieved and proposed. In some ways there is a great deal of scope for a green party that attracts a broad range of those interested in land management and recreation, including fishing, hunting, wildlife watching/study - and. So on. Elsewhere in Europe such Centre left green parties do well.

    2. My love of wildlife and the outdoors came from fishing and trying to shoot rabbits as a child, this meant I spent many hours in the great outdoors. I like a lot about the greens but I couldn't vote for them as they want to take that childhood

  3. I agree wholeheartedly. It is a brilliant publication and one we have needed in this country for a long time. Personally as a Socialist, the Labour Party has not represented our views for a long time. More and more of us Lefties are flocking to the Green Party as they are the only party who embrace morality. They not only show how we should be equal but at the same time equal with the Natural World.
    I had the view that the Green Party were a bunch of eco-loonies but I have been prooved wrong. They have evolved into a party with a grasp of a wide range of issues. I hope the future is bright and it'll be Green.

  4. If only we had PR. More people might be encouraged to vote if their vote actually contributed. I always exercise my right to vote but never feel that it makes a difference to the overall make up of government. Now that the two party system is hopefully a thing of the past maybe some form of PR should be introduced??

  5. Good for he Greens. If only the others would take even some of them on board. Would have thought so many people voting for Bob etc would have pushed some of this up their agendas.

  6. What did you think of the commitment to review horse and dog racing Mark? Whilst I would have no problem with a whip ban it would worry me somewhat, in the light of the Australian experience of jumps racing bans etc.

    Still, seemed better thought through generally than the Tories policies on right to buy.

  7. Although there are many good things in GP manifesto, I will not be voting for my local green party candidate, because he supports the construction of a large solar farm on Rampisham Down, a SSSI grassland in West Dorset.

  8. The manifesto clearly wasn't written by scientists as it contains a commitment to end breeding or use of genetically modified animals in research. This shows a lack of understanding of what GM animals are, would end the process of drug development and drug discovery, and end studies into new therapies for cancer, diabetes, Alzheiner's, Parkinson's, Heart disease, and mental illness in the UK. Not only would they set back medical science 30 years but the approach threatens 1000s of jobs.

  9. Mark
    It looks lovely, but "written by a load of scientists" hardly fills me with hope. Obviously not biotechnology trigger-happy ones or any in touch with reality. How we quickly forget the past. As 'Arab Spring' was triggered by an increase of bread in Tunisia, let us dwell on what these policies would do to the price of bread in the isles of Tesco.

    It would be useful to see the meat of the policy to make us eat less meat before we side with idealism in the face of foodbank queues. OK, I'm aware this annoys people but false hope is not the same as ambitious quests for change that is undoubtably required.

    Yours nibbling his mid morning tofu snack.

    1. Rob - less meat = more land available for crops at higher efficiency, = less ghg emitted, = less animal welfare issues. Difficult to argue against I'd say.

      1. less meat = grassland ploughed up to make arable land available = more ghg emitted, = more poultry & pig production = more animal welfare issues. Difficult to argue for I'd say.

  10. It is by some distance the best set out of the manifesto's I have read so far.

    My constituency is one of the safest Patrician Party seats in the country, so in terms of affecting the outcome of the my vote counts for nothing. However I will be voting Green at this election in the hope that if enough people do the same it will send out a strong message to the main parties that the environment is something they need to start taking seriously.

    Would I vote Green if I felt they had a realistic chance of power? Probably not. Too many policies that I fundamentally disagree with namely nuclear energy, GM and shooting. They also seem to be quite evasive about their policy on angling - I wish they would just make it clear if they wish to ban it or not!

    Why they have singled out zero-grazed dairy cows but not indoor beef or indoor pigs for that matter?

    Regarding red meat, I do think the 'we need to eat less meat' is rather simplistic and is based on a narrow view that ignores the potential of well managed pasture to sequester carbon.
    Arable land only sequesters carbon when under conservation tillage management – but then there is the issue of nitrous oxide emissions (around 300 CO2 equivalent).

    Surely we should be arguing for more pasture fed beef and more mixed farming - especially in the east on land where SOM has declined to critical levels.

    1. "Surely we should be arguing for more pasture fed beef"
      Well said that man. We should, but the "wisdom" of the Carbonistas says "Feed 'em grain, grow 'em fast, kill 'em young. In sheds." They think HNV means "Has No Value".

      More mixed farming in the east - great idea, but the livestock infrastructure has largely gone. Where would the recapitalisation come from?

      SOM has declined - you wouldn't think so, when the senior soil suits get up at seminars and say it's all good, soils are fine, steady as we go. Well they would, wouldn't they? Otherwise what use have they been to UK Ltd?

      'we need to eat less meat' - simplistic? Yep, that's what happens when people use "models" that ignore land use change and deforestation, and set life-cycle boundaries that exclude anything that might upset the policy-based evidence. Those self-same suits will tell you that grassland cannot sequester carbon "because SOC reaches a new equilibrium and thereafter doesn't increase". Well I'll take the interim 100 years it takes before that happens and have the functional benefits that increased SOM provides, thanks all the same, even if SOM doesn't accrue forever. Makes you wonder how peat forms.
      And who is this "we" they keep talking about.

    2. A pledge to increase mixed farming should be front and centre of a green manifesto.

  11. I seem to agree with lots in their manifesto but the cynic in me thinks it is easy to put things in it when you know you will not get in power.
    It seems even easy for all the party's that may be in power or be part of coalition even to promise the earth to each and every person in the country.
    I do not believe there is any chance that they will fulfil all these promises they are making.

  12. I seem to agree with lots in their manifesto but the cynic in me thinks it is easy to put things in it when you know you will not get in power.
    It seems even easy for all the party's that may be in power or be part of coalition even to promise the earth to each and every person in the country.
    I do not believe there is any chance that they will fulfil all these promises they are making.

  13. It's about time conservationists realised what it's all about, and started voting Green.

    Mark, you should be leading here, not carrying a torch for the failed Labour party.

  14. Mark,very much doubt that figure of 40% of cereals in UK are fed to cattle or at least it is a figure that is probably twisted to make it look bad.
    Looking at it sensibly a % goes for human consumption including alcoholic drinks.
    A % goes into feeds for poultry which basically is a very large % of their diet as really grass is not much use to them for their high production.
    A % goes into feeds for pigs and the same applies as for poultry.
    Besides that which is exported and other bits and pieces then a % goes into cattle feed,however here we have dairy cattle and followers which seem to be left out of the equation of humans eating meat but even if included we have a completely different animal which is primarily a grass eater whether grass or grass silage or even maize silage which cannot in UK be grown as a cereal.
    There is also a very big difference in the % of cereals of cattle diets being much lower for cattle than pigs and poultry.
    Cattle diets bought as cattle feed from manufacturers would likely contain by products such as dried brewers grains,dried beet pulp,maize gluten meal and something like a tapioca product from abroad plus any other by product the manufacturer can by at a cheap unit price plus of course the protein part of the ration such as soya beans,beans,peas and maybe other things on offer cheaply such as sometimes sunflower seed.
    It must be wrong to include in the % of cereals in cattle diets that part that is by products such as dried brewers grains etc because if not used for cattle then they would maybe have to go for landfill.
    My guess is these figures have either been doctored or been guessed at by using USA figures where cattle are kept completely inside whereas in the UK usually every chance is taken to get cattle out to pasture as much as possible and certainly my guess is each beef animal in UK probably only consumes 300 KG of cereals in total.


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