Recently, the poll website Vote for Policies was brought to my attention. People pick four areas of interest before being presented with a choice of political policies. So far six UK political parties have their policies represented. In ascending order of popularity these are; BNP, UKIP, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour and the Green Party. With 27.72% of public support for their policies alone, the Greens seem to have a good chance of gaining some political power in May. Yet the party is rendering this opportunity null and void.
Recently interviewed on Sunday Politics, the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, argued in favour of many – seemingly sensible – policies. These included a new wealth tax for those who own over £3m, a Citizen’s Income to overhaul the Benefits system and an EU Referendum. Bennett also made points arguing against inequality in Britain between. Overall, the party’s ethos is one based on sustainable society. Despite all this, the party is making self-destructive mistakes which overshadow the Green Party’s recent rise in popularity.
Bennett controversially claimed that it should be legal to be a member of a terrorist organisation such as ISIS or Al ’Qaeda. The Green Party also advocates a reduction of the armed forces; allegedly, they would have munitions factories producing windmills. This carefree optimism reveals that the Greens are in fact not living in reality. Tristram Hunt, the Labour Shadow Education Secretary, has rebuked these policies as “stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off politics”, and it’s hard to disagree with him.
If the Green Party could get their heads out of the clouds for a minute, they could win over a disengaged nation of non-voters and cynics. The Greens do have something that many other political parties lack; optimism and moral causes. Their policies on welfare and benefits attempt to strike a chord with those who have felt cheated by austerity and welfare cuts; but their good-will and enthusiasm won’t be enough.
Who doesn’t support “social and environmental justice”? These statements sound promising and positive, yet what does this actually mean? Pulling inspirational phrases and clauses out of the air is a universal political skill. They need to prove themselves as genuine; something that is lacking in politics.
Even if you turn a blind-eye to the controversial and badly thought out policies of the Greens it is hard to believe that the manifesto promises – that many would vote for – would actually come to pass if the Green Party gained power. What makes the Green Party electable is whether people believe that they can deliver on their promises.
The Green Party has the potential to make an impact this May; not as a party of power, but as a party of promise. If they can overcome the waves of scrutiny from the media and other political parties the Greens could bring a leftward balance to a parliament that is slanted towards the far right. Evidently, people are tired of the same politics professed by different people. Perhaps the Green Party could challenge that.