It is clear that the race for PM will be a hard fought battle between red and blue, but what about green? Last week the Green Party set out its intentions for the 2024 general election at their conference in Brighton, and here is what we learnt.
Glitter bombs, scrapping HS2, transphobia and insinuating a culture war on climate policy. The Tory and Labour party conferences have certainly hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this month. However, the Green Party have just tied up their 2023 party conference in Brighton on a more positive note and members left with a sense of optimism for a Greener future.
Since Caroline Lucas was appointed as MP for Brighton Pavilion in 2010, the Greens have struggled to make a stand on a national level, despite their overwhelming success in local councils. Furthermore, Lucas’ recent announcement to not seek re-election in Brighton Pavilion next year left some members feeling uneasy about the direction of the party.
Nonetheless, with the surge of climate policy on the political agenda, newly appointed co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsey are hoping to break the Green Party’s stagnation with a bullish intent.
Last week, they set clear intentions for next year’s general election as they hope their invigorated, streamlined and focused campaign will secure them four seats in the House of Commons. Cementing a new foundation in British politics and their voice to be heard in all areas of government.
While ‘4 MP’s for 24’ may sound ambitious – given they have only ever held 1 seat at Westminster and 2 in the House of Lords – the move to concentrate their resources to four target seats is strategic. The Green Party has traditionally relied heavily on donor funding, spreading this budget sparsely on multiple fronts and struggling to overcome the challenges of the UK’s first-past-the-post system. They are placing their hopes on the new concentrated strategy to finally break the deadlock.
Their revitalised determination stems from the UK’s current crisis of inequalities, modest environmental action and persistent U-turns from those in power, leaving the country frustrated. The Green’s believe that candidates Ellie Chowns and Sian Berry along with their co-leaders carry the mentality necessary to tackle the biggest problems that the country is facing. Most importantly climate change, which is and will become ever more prominent.
Nevertheless, during the conference we understood that the Green Party will be standing a full slate of candidates in all constituencies across England and Wales. Which potentially signals an end to tactical voting pacts with the left-leaning parties to “Keep the Tories out”. However, post-election the Greens have said that a deal is not off the table, so could we be seeing the first Labour and Green coalition if the polling goes down to the wire?
Setting radical policies is not going to stop. In Europe, the Green’s have moderated some of their more radical ideas, yet in the UK, their refreshed manifesto does not hold back.
What did we learn about Green Party Policy?
Most notably, members at the conference passed a motion for the initiation of the 4 day working week. This would reduce the full-time hours to 32 in the medium term with no loss of pay. In the Council of Europe, the Green party members voted for the UK to remain as a key and active member if elected, recommitting to a strong relationship with our nearest allies. However, any policy implementation is contingent on the Greens being represented in parliament next year.
‘Fairer and Greener’
The Green Party advocates reshaping the economic system to prioritise people and the planet over profits. This involves making companies prioritise environmental and social policies over shareholder financial returns within the framework of the ‘Green Economy.’ By emphasising that solutions to the cost-of-living and the climate crisis are the same, the Green’s see that a more sustainable future can be paved.
On Climate Policy, the Greens also launched their ten point plan. An ambitious climate action plan with a realistic framework that seeks to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees celsius. The Green Party wants to ‘invest heavily now to save later’ in green energy and restructure the tax framework. This is in order to develop the green economy in a new way and produce money when the country needs it rather than allowing a debt based system to force economic growth.
Climate was not the only issue high on the conference agenda. A pledge to restructure and encourage better renting standards was made, alongside giving the country warmer and better insulated homes. Furthermore banning high carbon advertising was unanimously agreed on at the conference. This came after an inspirational speech by their former leader Caroline Lucas, who departed with an inspiring legacy, for the Green’s new wave of young, enthusiastic party leaders to follow.
If the Green’s do achieve their targets and take seats from Labour in Bristol Central and the Conservatives in Waveney Valley and South Herefordshire, their tiresome effort for change can be considered a success not only for the party, but also our planet.