After a Lib Dem councillor recently converted to Green, a former colleague wondered how he could do this given their awful policies! So maybe it’s worth spelling out just where the Greens are coming from recently. The environmental credentials go back to the early 70s when they were formed, but hand in hand the Greens have had an ever-evolving social policy based around greater democracy, equality and welfare across public life.
1. In the UK the richest 1% are extraordinarily rich compared to the rest of us.
2. This has happened in a remarkable way since 1979 and Thatcher coming to power. But it HAS NOT been turned around by 13 years of Labour. In fact, year by year, income inequality has worsened.
3. This can and must be rectified. The growth of excessive wealth is literally harmful to the rest of us. It can be reduced by reining in the ways it is made, chiefly by re-regulating finance. Great wealth should also be taxed properly so that all major needs are met across society: health, education, pensions, welfare, benefits where necessary.
4. But, we can’t do any of that without believing it – and having political parties that believe that too! We are very far from that being a mainstream POV. In fact the 3 major parties have sold out to the turbo-capitalism and won’t even re-regulate the banking sector directly responsible for the latest bubble and crash since 2008.
5. However, most people agree with most of these views. We should protect the NHS and keep it public. We should keep pension provision; we should tax great wealth properly. Once we have some traction for more healthy policies on wealth, income, proper taxation, regulating finance, etc, then we will have much greater ease in seeing how we effect the world – in terms of the amount we take from it AND not put back.
6. That’s what “eco” really means. It’s about balance. It’s a really simple concept EXCEPT that we are so out of ANY sort of balance or accountability for what the really greedy among us are doing, that anyone outside the Greens can hardly understand it anymore! We should have balance within our society. And balance with the wider world.
7. Most Greens actually easily understand this – and much more. Our ease with exploitation explains the 16 million deaths a year from hunger and simple diseases. This simply should not be happening in what is still a world of plenty. That huge amounts of human time, energy, money, transportation are simply wasted by so-called “free markets” all rigged through trade agreements dominated by rich countries, is reprehensible.
Further, many simple pleasures we take for granted are produced by child slaves. Eg, chocolate!
8. No wonder, if we are prepared to treat each other so wantonly, even to the extent of full-on wars over oil – no wonder we are even more wanton with other species, destroying the world’s forests, and over-fishing the oceans.
9. The Green Party – alone, it seems – says IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS! Trade can be much more localised at very little loss. Countries should all have the capacity – and actuality – of feeding their populations first. Energy should be more local – within countries – and on a more renewable basis. Cheap communications are just about available to all. Transport easily could be too.
10. Simply, the greatest cancer we suffer is the huge amount, comparatively, that the rich countries take from everywhere else, and, within those societies, the huge amount the 1% just takes – or commands – from everyone, here or abroad.
It’s time to put the balance back. In society. Between countries. Across the world.