The next big electoral test for the government will be the European elections, which will take place in exactly one year from now. Those elections, because they are conducted under a proportional-representation electoral system, offer a level playing field for all Parties.
The Green Party will be challenging Labour and Tories alike over the next 12 months, in the run-up to the Euro-election: challenging those Parties’ fake green credentials, and offering instead an actual way out of the crisis now facing this country and this planet. As economic hardship starts to bite, the Tories are sidling away from the green agenda, and instead starting to promote a traditional Tory tax cutting agenda. What they fail to see is that the crisis that we are now in is a result of strip-mining our environment: high food prices are caused by high oil prices and by incipient climate chaos; the financial crisis is caused by debt-fuelled borrowing to fund out-of-control consumerism; at the roots of all of this lies the burning of fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, and the consequent running out of oil.
Out of this perfect storm, there is no exit by means of yet more borrowing and yet more spending. The Green Party has consistently warned of oil dependency and the need to develop renewables and invest in sustainable transport systems. There is no evidence that the other parties have recognised the size of the crisis we face nor the need to move away from oil quickly. It is essential that the Green Party prospers: for we are the only Party committed to introducing carbon rationing (‘carbon entitlements’), a silver-bullet for ending oil dependency, and one less vulnerable than ‘green taxes’ to public discontent, because a carbon entitlements system is progressive not regressive, and is not a tax.
I hope next June to join our existing MEPs, Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert, in being elected to the Brussels Parliament. Yes, government should be greener: the best way to ensure that we go green is, unsurprisngly,…to vote Green.