Manifesto for a Green Society
Green Party of the United Kingdom is guided by ten core principles:
There are six issues that have come up in this election cycle that the Greens have firm and unique positions on. These issues consist of the following: Iranian nuclear proliferation, Immigration and asylum, Pension reform, the Euro, the Gasoline tax, and Gay marriage. Each of these stances on these issues is in line with the ten core principles of the Green Party.
The state of the immigration and asylum policies in the United Kingdom is atrocious. The Green Party calls for an end to xenophobia in the United Kingdom. Greens are unwavering in our stance of openness and equality. A staunchly nationalistic and restrictive immigration and asylum policy can only breed racism and more troubles for minorities already living in the United Kingdom. An exclusive immigration policy also downplays the large impact immigrants have had and currently bring into the United Kingdom. Immigrants are an integral part of the workforce, but as in much of the developed world, they are underpaid and mistreated by their employers. Immigrants and asylum seekers deserve the basic rights which we should endow any citizen of the United Kingdom. Their influence is not only seen in pounds and pence, but also in a spread of cultural diversity. Greens are cognisant of the fact that the recent increase in asylum applications is a direct reflection of the policies of powerful governments. The answer to the asylum problem lies in fixing these policies of unequal trade and weapons trade.3
In regards to Pension Reform, the main purpose of the Green Party is to put an end to means testing. Means testing is an unfair policy that affects over half of the pensioners in the United Kingdom. State pensioners can be penalised under means testing for having savings or personal pensions. We propose that the means testing program is dropped and that we simplify the process by having, “every local authority to set up a Benefits Rights Unit to work with pensioners and pensioners groups.” We believe that “Means testing is extremely unpopular…and a lot of people find it intimidating or humiliating.”4 Because of the means testing, many citizens then find it difficult and a hassle to claim the pension that is rightfully theirs. We also propose that citizens should have the right to work as long as they please. They should not be forced into retirement at a specific age. Greens mandate that if a pensioner continues to work that their pension still be given to them. Also, the council tax paid by pensioners must not exceed the rate of inflation.5
The Green Party of the United Kingdom is highly opposed to the single currency of the Euro. Greens are unambiguously pro-Europe, while being vehemently against the direction of the European Union and its proposed constitution.6 European Union immersion is sanctioned when the aims are about co-operation on ecology standards, human rights norms, and the promotion of more equitable sharing of wealth with Eastern Europe. However, central tenets of the Green movement include local/regional autonomy, the abolishment of the “unsustainable” free-trade apparatus, and movement away from a European super state or global power bloc.7 These aims make it clear to Greens that the Euro would not be workable within the United Kingdom.
Expanding on the precepts of regional autonomy, trade regulation, and anti-power bloc mentality, the preference by Greens is for devolution over centralisation. Devolution will supposedly produce smaller, more self-reliant economies that can address the needs of fewer constituents more effectively. A large, rigid, and depersonalised institution that imposes economic quotas in blanket coverage will simply squeeze too many out. The Euro denotes eventual loss of British control over everything from interest rates to inflation to trade standards. For this reason, above all, the Greens will cast a “No” vote on any referendum.8
With today’s rampant use of petrol, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has drastically increased, resulting in global warming, an increase in severe weather phenomena, and health threats to all living organisms. In response to this pressing issue, the Green Party supports taking immediate and strong measures to combat the ill effects of pollution. The Green Party of the United Kingdom believes that the current gasoline tax, while high, must remain so. This tax is currently at 76.2 pence per litre, which accounts for approximately 75 % of the cost of a litre of petrol.9 There are several advantages of this high tax. For instance, such a measure reminds motorists to be more mileage conscious and to opt for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. With a high tax on petrol, the need and importance of public transit becomes very apparent.
British citizens must realise that the effects of the pollution created by high consumption of petrol are not limited to autos. Despite the usefulness of the petrol tax, the Green Party realises that this measure alone cannot curb petrol usage to the minimal, desired level. Currently, the aviation sector is immune to such taxes. As air transport requires large amounts of petrol, thereby resulting in much pollution, we favour extending this tax to air transport and instituting fees for emissions and higher aircraft landing fees#TR063). The Green Party also supports a resources tax that would increase the costs of fossil fuels.10
The Green party believes that not allowing homosexuals the right to marry is a direct violation of basic human rights. We feel that an important step toward equal human rights is granting homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. Our life peer in the House of Lords, Lord Tim Beaumont of Whitley states, “As a Green I would like to see full partnership recognition, including equal pension, employment and housing rights for homosexual couples.”11 Homosexuals are a minority and in keeping with our policy of promoting social justice, it is our duty as Greens to speak and act on their behalf. We defend homosexual rights as adamantly as we defend other rights. Greens stand against any policy that would deny homosexuals the basic dignity that all people deserve. Moreover, if homosexuals are not allowed to marry into the same rights as heterosexual couples, the discrimination and persecution of homosexuals will be more easily promulgated. If we want a peaceful society for our children and the generations after them, we have to learn to accept and appreciate diversity.
In summation, the Green Party of the United Kingdom is the true progressive political party in the United Kingdom. The Green Party is the party for the present and the future of the United Kingdom. We are the party that tells the truth about a looming ecological crisis and that we have a plan to stop such a crisis. We are the party for increased democracy and rights in the United Kingdom. Greens wish to put an end to senseless warfare across the globe. Indeed, the Green Party wants to squelch all hatred based on misconceptions of human diversity. Vote Green for a better today and a better tomorrow.
1 Adapted from “Statement of Core Principles” www.policy.greenparty.org.uk/values.html
2 7 February, 2005 BBC.co.uk’s “Q&A: Iran’s nuclear stand-off”
3 “Greens Condemn Labour and Tory approach to immigration” http://www.greenparty.org.uk/index.php?nav=news&n=1785
4 “Pride and Progress: The Green Party’s Pledge to Pensioners” http://www.greenparty.org.uk/files/reports/2004/EU%20Pensioner%20Pledge.htm
5 “Pensioners go for Green Pledge” http://www.greenparty.org.uk/index.php?nav=news&n=1403
7 “Greens crucial to the ‘No’ campaign” http://www.greenparty.org.uk/index.php?nav=news&n=11
8 “Europe, but no Euro” http://www.greenparty.org.uk/index.php?nav=articles&n=184
9 “Petrol ‘stealth tax claims” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3125634.stm
10 Manifesto for a Sustainable Society: “Transport, Charges and Taxes” http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/transprt.html
11 “Gay Rights Victory a step in the right direction” www.greenparty.org.uk/index.php?nav=comment&n=361&l=8