Friday, 14 May 2010

How Green are the party policies? By Alana McVerry

I found this article most interesting, so am putting it here as a guest blog. With the coalition of ComDems formed, politics has changed. So a quick look at how the parties compare on green issues is in order. It was published before the election.

UK General Election: How Green are the party policies?
By Alana McVerry

The multitude of slanderous campaigns and squabbling fights are escalating, the leaders ferociously scratching their way to the top post as the election day draws ever near.
If you still remain undecided on which one of those blokes on telly shouting at each other you would like in the top seat, then here's a quick green related guide to help you on your way.

if the events of the last 10 years haven't been too detrimental to your welfare then maybe good old Gordon is still in the running for your vote. But how green is Gordon?

Given the lovely shape our economy has been pummeled in by it's trusted instructor, we would expect some 'lets take action' style policies on this front. However, what we actually have is some vague plans to cut 'low priority' government programs, with decisions to be made post election. Ooh sneaky. What we want is better provision for health care, education and frontline services, but to pay less for it. But given how far removed the top dog is from the day to day running of the NHS and such like, it's kind of like when you were a toddler and you spent three hours trying to fit the square block through the circle hole. It always ends in tears.

The only party to be very 'un-greenly' supportive of a third runway at Heathrow. Though they seem to be trying to slip this through with a policy on electric car charging points and improved commuter services. Lesson to be learned, decoys never work when it's in print.

80% carbon cut by 2050 sounds quite promising. But given that we are really only electing them for a time period due to be up long before the 2050 deadline, and we won't really be able to hold them to count, why not just say 100%? You never know, I might believe you.

Focusing on youth unemployment with training places and education, and boosting the job market with vaguely termed 'green jobs'. 250,00 of them and all.

50p tax rate for the super earners. Seems fair.

Green Score : 6/10 (It all went wrong at Heathrow)

Even Gordon is just not green enough, how will dear old David fare?

The tories plan on storming in and cutting everything, abolishing things, ending subsidies and reducing ministerial salaries. Charity begins at home after all.

Cameron professes to connect all the big cities with high speed rail to the continent. Now if they could just bring down the prices, we can end the Ryan-air dominion over cheap getaways we could prove once and for all that going green doesn't mean going nowhere.

The Tories say toodles to Heathrow's third runway ambitions, bumping up their green status against their labour competitors.

Tax breaks for the first 10 staff hired and apprenticeships for the young. Sort of like chopping off the heads of weeds though. The garden might look nice for a while, but the roots will sure grow back.

Cameron seems to be sticking to the 50p tax rate, 'for now'. Which is a hint to all his aristocratic, and oligarchic corporate fans that this one aint gonna stick. The poor souls almost had to take refuge in their holiday homes, crying in their sleep, it's like the fall of the empire all over again. After securing the upper class vote, Cameron takes back from the middle class, removing benefits for the £50,000 plus families. And raises taxes on alcopops and cider. He sure is lucky binge drinking 16 year olds can't vote.

Green Score: 6.5/10 (Not bad, but could do better)

Lib Dems
if you're about to give up at this point and move to an eco-village in the middle of Wales, I beg you to read on, it can only get greener.

It seems Lib Dems are more in force with the tough tories, advocating cuts across the board and full child trust fund abolishment. So, the answer is no Oliver, you cannot have some more.

Gold points for green friendly policies and a focus on shifting stuff from gas guzzing roadies to their much more environmentally polite train track peers. Its a stern 'No way' to Heathrow's expanding it's runway family.

100% Carbon Free by 2050 you say? Why not indeed. With a strong focus on green taxes, tougher targets, and renewable energy I'm almost tempted to invite Nick Clegg round for tea and pastries.

Young people training schemes, etc etc. Yes we get it. There's lots of unemployed young people, and you all plan to do pretty much the same thing about it.

The Robin Hood award for an undeniably redistributive regime. More taxes for the wealthy, taxes on big cribs, and more money tax free for all those at the other end of the spectrum. Yes please.

Green Score: 8/10 (Why look at how we green we've grown?)

Green Party
And if Nick's just not nice enough and you still feel guilty about your generations huge carbon foot print go for Green.

Recognising that for a greener planet, we need a greener economy, the greens profess to kick start a green revolution bringing the low and zero carbon sectors of the economy to the forefront. Can I say green one more time?

The Greens 'get' that to make us leave our cars at home, we need more than apocalyptic ideas of a world under water. We need an alternative. It's all about public services for the greens, and putting it in local hands to create schemes around walking, cycling and bus travel that actually give people a reason to give up their gas guzzlers.

Hitting hard at the aviation industry by ending the preposterous subsidies that allow tour buses full of binge drinking Brits with matching nicknamed 'comedy' shirts to Tenerife to get blind drunk and give us all a bad name. There are no end to the green schemes such as energy efficiency in homes, schools and hospitals, reducing waste, wind and tidal generation expansion with an outpouring of jobs on the side. Well, they aren't called the green party for nothing.

Lots of jobs to emerge from the investment in greener infrastructure. Not just this, they campaign for the minimum wage to be set at the 60% earnings level. So right now that would be £8.10. I wish they were in power when I was 18 and scrubbing a bar floor at 2 in the morning for £4.50 an hour.

Following the heels of our Lib Dems, the Greens show us that colour is not the only thing that unites them with Robin Hood the redistributer. Hitting the wealthy and the bankers, and helping the poorer and the more green. It's so simple when it's right.

Green Score : 9.5/ 10 (there's always room for improvement)

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