Firstly, as campaigning for the General Election resumes locally this morning, I wish to express my sorrow regarding the tragic events that unfolded in Manchester on Monday, and offer my sympathies and condolences to all those affected by the attack.
Our Green Guarantee was launched on Monday, formally announcing the Green Party’s ten key pledges for government. You can find a PDF of the summary here. I succeeded in distilling a majority of the Green Guarantee in my last blog post, but, in the following paragraphs, I shall focus on aspects of it that I did not previously address. In my next post, as promised, I will discuss the Green Party’s stance on issues not explicitly outlined in the Green Guarantee.
The Green Party are determined to create a more balanced, fairer society. As the Guarantee terms it: an economy for all. This means creating thousands of jobs by rebuilding public services, and establishing a network of community banks to ensure wealth is distributed amongst communities, rather than corporations. Working poverty would be abolished through the introduction of a radical 4-day working week, exploitative zero-hours contracts outlawed, and trade union rights upheld. I, personally, wholly support the introduction of a universal basic income, which is something the Greens have been advocates of for some time: UBI would increase financial security for all, and reduce the poverty trap endangering so many lower earners and disadvantaged people. Debt can be a colossal weight to bear–both monetarily and psychologically–and to tackle this, we would promote credit unions to free people from unjust and burdensome liabilities. These measures are not a golden key to righting the temperament of our country in one fell swoop, but are steps the Green Party would take to engender a happier, less downtrodden society.
There are wonderful policies scattered throughout the Guarantee: in regard to affordable housing, we would introduce a living rent for all through rent controls, provide more secure tenancies for private renters, and introduce mandatory licensing for all landlords. Additionally, we would launch a major programme to build affordable homes, including half a million new socially rented homes over five years, and start action to bring empty homes back into use (at the end of 2015, there were 610,123 homes recorded as empty in England alone, with 205,821 of them stated as ‘long-term’ empty, i.e. vacant for over six months). Lastly, we would reinstate housing benefits for the under-21s and abolish the detested Bedroom Tax.
The Green Party would lower the voting age to 16, pursue an ethical foreign policy, and a humane and compassionate immigration and asylum system. We would introduce a Green Industrial Strategy, a new Environmental Protection Act, and a Clean Air Act, and promise to protect the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Green Party is, at its heart, an environmental party, and we are staying true to our roots: climate change is still a top priority. Fracking, as I mentioned before, would be abandoned, along with coal power and subsidies for fossil fuels. Developing renewable energy technology would be our focus in the energy sector, creating many jobs in the process.
Lastly, I wholly support the Green Party’s pledges to grant mixed gender couples the right to civil partnerships, introduce job sharing for MPs to increase disabled representation in particular, close the gender pay gap, and work towards a 50/50 Parliament. Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have appointed equal numbers of men and women to their cabinets in Canada and France respectively, and we should follow their lead.
I believe that just about covers the Green Guarantee! Now, to other matters: I want to say a huge thank you to those of you who have supported my fundraising campaign so far. As a result of your generous donations, I have been able to justify both the effort of commissioning a design for a leaflet, and afford the cost of having a run of 1000 printed. They will be delivered to me today in time for distribution over the bank holiday weekend and beyond. Residents of Crick, Moulton, and Daventry have kindly donated their time and offered to assist me in leafleting there, however any further volunteers would be warmly welcomed into the fold (no pun intended), as I also wish to target Long Buckby and Brixworth. If you think you can donate an hour or two to help out, please do contact me here, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or on Twitter at @jpwildman.
In regard to forthcoming media and public appearances, I will be participating in BBC Radio Northampton’s live election debate with other Parliamentary candidates in the Daventry constituency on Saturday 27th May at 8:00AM, and attending a hustings at Moulton Club in Moulton on Friday 2nd June at 7:30PM.