Hold politicians up to standards

I think that it is high-time for what political parties say and put out to be held up to higher standards. We attempted to do this during the recent campaign with our ‘Clean campaign pledge’, asking other Parties to buy in to a voluntary code of conduct, in effect: http://www.clean-campaign-pledge.net/ . Martin Bell backed our pledge, but sadly the other Parties refused to sign up. I think now that government should act. Commercial corporations cannot say whatever the hell they like in their ads and get away with it: the Advertising Standards Authority, weak as it is, has some power over them.  I hope that readers will consider the arguments in favour of regulating political speech to exclude patently misleading claims, graphs etc., and to help instead to inform our citizenry and begin the hard task of getting people to believe that politicians are not just shysters and cynics who believe that all’s fair in politics…

Another reflection on June 4…

We Greens were easily the largest gainer of all Parties in terms of votes gained; but, so frustratingly, we didn’t gain any seats!
We were however extremely close to doing so. Another 1-1.5% gain would have seen us gain at least 4 seats, including me getting elected in Eastern Region (where despite an endless persuasive stream of lies from the LibDems that we couldn’t win, we came within 1% of doing so; the FibDems instead let in a climate-denying UKIP MEP).
So near…
The dream of an apolitical techno-fix is persuasive, given how hard electoral breakthrough is to achieve: but it will only work if there is a techno-fix that will actually WORK. There is good reason to believe that there is no such magic-bullet: see e.g. http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3126
We came so close in these elections to the long-awaited breakthrough, and performed fantastically well in our strongholds such as Norwich and Brighton. This bodes well for our prospects of a Westminster breakthrough: perhaps sooner than one thinks, given an enticing byelection prospect in Norwich North…
And remember that it took Labour just one generation to go from no MPs to forming its first government…

GREENS MISS OUT NARROWLY ON FIRST MEP IN EAST OF ENGLAND

 

Despite a significant increase in Green Party vote share from around 5.5% in 2004 to around 9% tonight, the Greens have just failed to win a seat in the East of England.

 

Green support rose right across the UK with the 2 existing Green MEPs Dr. Caroline Lucas (South East) and Jean Lambert (London) each being elected for the third time, and with significantly increased vote share.

 

Over 140,000 voters backed the Greens in the East of England, following a campaign that the Eastern Region Green Party began 2 years ago.

 

Support peaked strongly in the emerging Green strongholds with the Greens in Norwich coming first with about 25% of the vote, a result which was on the cards following the Greens coming first across the city in the County Council elections on Thursday.

 

The Green campaign covered every part of the region and was particularly focussed on meeting people and finding out what they wanted to see from their MEPs. Green policies including Clean Politics and Green Jobs – with the aim of helping to make the East a European leader in renewable energy.

 
As well as conventional campaigning such as tours of every county and public meetings, the Greens used Obama-style new media campaigning to get the Green message across via the internet. The campaign was backed by a large team which included the 7 list candidates, dedicated campaign specialists and the growing band of Green councillors in the region. True to their grass-roots strength, local party members played their part, and indeed were the sole arbiters of who would be on the Green list, as the party uses a strictly one member-one vote system to decide its European election candidates.      
 
We are very pleased with the big increase in the Green vote and we would like to thank the more than 140,000 people in the East of England who supported us. It wasn’t quite enough this time but it bodes well for our party across the region and especially in our developing strongholds. We now need to look forward to the next election, which could well be the Norwich North by-election, a city in which we topped the poll tonight.
 
At the County Council elections, right across the region, Green candidates were often beating the party of Government – and Labour finished only just ahead of the Greens in the Euro poll. Whilst Labour lost most of its County Councillors in the East, the Greens increased theirs from 3 to 11.

Reflections on our narrow defeat

We were very unlucky, coming so close in Eastern [I needed just 1% more, to win] and NW and close also in SW and to a second seat in SE,;but no cigar…
 
In Eastern, we were the big winners on the night in terms of increased vote share. It wasn’t quite enough to win a seat but it was a superb achievement boding well for our party across the region, especially in our strongholds such as Norwich and Cambridge. It bodes especially well for our prospects in the Norwich North byelection. . .
 
If there had been 8 seats in Eastern, we would have won the 8th seat. We added over half our vote relative to what we scored in 2004.
 
Ah well… Politics is a touch vocation…
 
In terms of voteshare, the Green Party did very well across the country last night. In terms of results (in terms of seats), last night saw a sad lurch to the racist Right. I feel ashamed to be living in a country that has just elected Nazis to the Euro-Parl…

Greens Gain at Local Elections!

Eight new Green County Councillors elected; Greens make debut on two more county councils in region
 
With the county council election results just about all declared, the Green Party in Eastern region is celebrating gains and breakthroughs on to councils.
 
The Greens gained eight county councillors:
 
5 In Norfolk [incl. two in Norwich North]
2 in Suffolk
1 in Cambridgeshire
 
The Greens also held their existing 3 county seats in Hertfordshire (1) and Norfolk (2).
 
2 district seats were lost in Bedfordshire, but this was largley as a result of the change to unitary councils there, with green councillors having to contest different wards.
 
A major story of the elections in the East of England was the collapse of the Labour vote. Right across the region, Green candidates were often beating the party of Government.
 
The Greens also secured second place in a number of areas, including in Essex, pointing to potential further gains at the next set of county elections.
 
Overall the Greens now have 34 Principal Authority Councillors in Eastern Region, a net gain of 6.

The Upside of Crisis – an election day essay…

 

There is great danger and great opportunity in the current political scandal facing Britain.  The danger is that we will never recover from a soured public perception whereby every politician, indeed the practice of politics in general, becomes seen as crooked and illegitimate from the start, where all political views are lumped together, and approaches to our problems homogenized.  Where the country’s best brains run screaming from public service.  This danger has paralyzed many politicians throughout history, but now, with cataclysm looming for a globalized economy and our global environment, inaction simply cannot be tolerated. 

 

The up-side of crises, however, is that they present enormous opportunity, and I believe that there really is a once in a generation opportunity in the political upheaval facing this country: there is so much anger, not just about the expenses issue, but about the rotten Parliamentary system it symbolizes. If one looks at how unrepresentative the people are who supposedly represent us in Westminster—few women and ethnic minorities for example—if one looks at the many people who just don’t think its worth voting anymore because the outcome of an election is known from the start, one sees a correlation between this disconnect with the public and the abuse of power.  

 

But trifling reforms to the MPs allowance won’t do that, and even grander sounding ‘codes of conduct’ won’t do that; what will start to do it is real electoral reform leading either to the election of politicians who really represent the population or in forcing those currently in office to start addressing those concerns, which of course they should have been doing all along.  We need to have a much fairer, proportional representation voting system so that the people in government look more like the people that actually elect them, not just men in grey suits, doing things behind closed doors that people don’t understand.

And we need a political party that can actually make this change happen.  A party that is positive and thoughtful.  A party open to new ideas and everyone’s views, with the strength of character to stand up for something, not just against everything.  We are really the only party to offer this: a positive alternative, a vision for the future, the strength of principles tempered by a willingness to listen.  Thus, the Green Party is best suited to lead the root and branch transformation of government, so people can feel proud about it again, so that public life is something honourable again. 

 

Here is a quick primer on some of the key political-reform and constitutional-change policies that the Green Party have been signed up to for years (not, as in the case of the other Parties, merely for days or weeks):

 

Proportional representation (we prefer Additional Member System (AMS) or Single Transferable Vote (STV))

Fixed term parliament – 4 years, except where government loses vote of confidence

Fully elected Second Chamber to replace House of Lords

Recall

Written constitution

State funding for political parties to eliminate corporate buying of politicians

Voting age reduced to 16

Radical decentralisation/localisation of power from Brussels and Westminster to localities

Elected Regional Assemblies

Remove all constitutional powers from monarch

Disestablish Church of England

Register of interests for MPs and senior civil servants

Expenses Transparency, in Brussels and Westminster!

Clamp down hard on corporate lobbying

Reduce power of Prime Minister, increase power of cross-party committees of MPs

Citizens Initiative for referendums.

 

The opportunity to begin this transformation is by voting – in the one election that we already have that is run by proportional representation – for the Green Party, today….

YOU HAVE 5 HOURS LEFT TO VOTE IN, PEOPLE!!

Ethical award for Caroline – again!

Observer ethical awards honour Caroline Lucas MEP for second time
 
On the eve of the European elections, with the Greens showing at a record 15% in today’s ComRes poll, the Green Party is proud to announce that Dr Caroline Lucas MEP is to be named as the Ethical Politician of the Year in the fourth annual Observer Ethical Awards.
 
Caroline Lucas beat Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Vince Cable and Conservative leader David Cameron to the top spot – picking up the prestigious award for a second time. 

Caroline, a passionate campaigner on social justice, green economics, the environment and animal welfare – at both the grassroots level and in the European Parliament – also won the title in 2007 against David Cameron and Gordon Brown, and is delighted to have been chosen to receive the award once again by readers of the Observer.
 
Dr Lucas said: “I am honoured that Observer readers have chosen to recognise my work in this way – it means a great deal. At a time of serious political malaise, economic upheaval and environmental challenges, the Greens’ positive vision for the future has never been more important. The party’s policies to create up to a million new green jobs, tackle climate change, protect public services and safeguard civil liberties are at the forefront of efforts to create a new political landscape in which people and planet are always at the heart of decision making.
 
“I am proud to be a member of a political organisation with strong principles and clear ideas, which is driven by a determination to bring progressive, engaging and ethical politics into the mainstream.”
 
For more information on the Observer Ethical Awards, please visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/observer-ethical-awards.