Document:Who should hold the next prime minister to account? Our best hope lies with the Green party

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The Green party has a chance of winning six seats in this election – Brighton Pavilion, where former party leader Caroline Lucas is standing down, Birkenhead, Bristol Central, Clacton, North Herefordshire, and Waveney Valley. If you live in one of these constituencies and wish to evict the Tories, this is the most effective way to use your vote.

Disclaimer (#3)Document.png Article  by George Monbiot dated 12 June 2024
Subjects: UK/General election/2024, Green Party of England and Wales, Caroline Lucas, Siân Berry, Jo Bird, Ellie Chowns, Carla Denyer, Natasha Osben, Adrian Ramsay
Source: The Guardian (Link)

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Who should hold the next prime minister to account? Our best hope lies with the Green party

All governments betray the hopes of their supporters. But Labour is getting its betrayal in early. By ruling out a wealth tax[1] and other measures that could fund our collapsing public services and our increasingly desperate care and welfare needs;[2] by failing to denounce the unfolding genocide in Gaza; by remaining silent about the curtailment of our rights to protest;[3] by breaking its promises on everything from a national care service[4] to the abolition of the House of Lords and a right to roam,[5] Keir Starmer’s party appears to wear betrayal as a badge of honour. This country is desperate for change, but while Starmer mumbles the word in every sentence, he offers as little as he can get away with.

Why? Labour’s anticipatory betrayal is motivated by anticipatory compliance.[6] This means avoiding conflict with billionaire-owned media, the financial, property and fossil fuel sectors, by giving them what they want before they ask. You could call this approach “political realism”. But the “realistic” result is a politics dominated by the sinister rich. Dysfunction and misrule are baked in.

So, whatever the size of Labour’s likely majority, we will need countervailing forces in parliament. Though I have never been a member of any party, I believe our best hope lies with the Green party. It is the only one that has a chance of winning seats in this election that is not beholden to oligarchic power. Its new manifesto offers us everything a genuine Labour party, fit for the 21st century, should be promising.[7]

The Greens propose immediately to bring the railways, water companies and the “big five” energy companies back into public ownership. They would guarantee access to an NHS dentist for everyone. They would greatly increase NHS funding, to reduce waiting times, build hospitals, improve primary care and restore pay levels for junior doctors and other staff. They would also greatly expand the provision of mental healthcare, and ensure that children and adolescents no longer need to wait years for an assessment. They’d ensure that all elderly people and people with disabilities have access to free personal care.

They want to address the shocking failures of the welfare state, increasing universal credit by £40 a week, restoring the value of disability benefits, abolishing the iniquitous two-child benefit cap and scrapping the bedroom tax. They seek to end tuition fees and bring back grants for higher education, pour an extra £8bn of investment into schools and £5bn for special needs provision within mainstream education. They would increase public subsidies for rail and bus transport by £10bn a year.

They also intend to repeal anti-union legislation and introduce a charter of workers’ rights, to press for a maximum pay ratio within any organisation of 10:1, and to ensure all workers have full employment rights and protections. How did we end up with a situation in which none of this is Labour policy?

The Green party would also radically reform the housing sector, providing 150,000 new social homes a year, ensuring that social homes can no longer be sold off, and enabling local authorities to introduce rent controls. It would invest £29bn over five years to insulate and improve housing, and give tenants the right to demand energy efficiency improvements from their landlords.

The Green manifesto proposes replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber, introducing a fairer voting and party funding system, restoring the right to protest, ensuring no one can own more than 20% of the media and introducing a digital bill of rights to regulate social media providers.

Most importantly, the Greens would confront the greatest predicament humankind has ever faced, by transforming our relationship with the natural world. This would include ending all new and recent oil and gas licences, introducing an escalating carbon tax and ensuring 70% of electricity comes from wind by 2030. Manufacturers of household white goods would have to offer 10-year warranties, there would be a comprehensive right to repair, and new green duties on all company directors. A right to roam would be accompanied by large-scale ecological protections, on land and at sea.

All this and more would be funded with a combination of a wealth tax, set at 1% a year for those with assets worth over £10m, and 2% for those with assets above £1bn; a reformed capital gains tax, bringing it into line with income tax levels; much fairer taxation of homes and property; and higher windfall taxes on oil and gas production, and on banks when excessive profits are made. It’s everything the Labour party should be doing, in other words, but is too frightened to propose. No one expects the Greens to form the new government but we need them to hold Labour to account and press it to raise its level of ambition.

The Green party has a good chance of winning two seats in this election – Brighton Pavilion, where former party leader Caroline Lucas is standing down, and Bristol Central – and a smaller chance of winning a further two, Waveney Valley[8] and North Herefordshire.[9] If you live in one of these constituencies and wish to evict the Tories, this is the most effective way to use your vote. That’s because, unlike most of us, you have a realistic chance of electing an MP who can speak for the people against plutocratic power. Don’t waste it.