The Green Party has seen a huge swell in membership since being thrown into the midst of the leadership debate furore. Now with over 57,000 members, more than both the Lib Dems and UKIP, and candidates standing in over 90% of seats, expectations for May 7th are high.
The Green Party feature alongside Ken Loach’s Left Unity in our upcoming documentary The Left Alternative. We interviewed Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, who refreshingly refused to be drawn into the party mudslinging that’s marred this campaign. Instead she passionately enthused about the anti-austerity movement and championed the idea of working with other left-wing groups to create a progressive and fairer alternative to austerity measures. For instance, The Conservatives plan to cut £12bn from welfare in the next Government yet only £5bn from tax evasion.
Climate change is unsurprisingly integral to the party’s agenda with the Greens hopeful that December’s Global Climate Change talks in Paris commit the world to a legally binding, global climate change agreement. Womack mentioned that the coalition Government hasn’t done enough to counter climate change and referenced the time David Cameron described climate change as “all this green crap”.
The NHS has been a hugely divisive election topic with claims of privatising and counter claims of weaponising the NHS flying back and forth. Recently a group of top doctors wrote a letter condemning the Government’s NHS policy, in particular the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Womack spoke passionately about abolishing this act to completely eliminate the role of private providers within the NHS. Under the coalition government the percentage of private providers has crept up from 5% to 6%. The NHS restructuring has also had a huge impact on social care, particularly for the elderly and disabled. This is increasingly now provided by local authorities, with some services cut by up to 40%. The Health Service Journal stated that, ‘Social care funding cuts mean around 800,000 people with substantial care needs have been left without statutory support.’
Womack talked of the economic benefits of bringing the rail back into public ownership. This topic has received very little attention in the election run-up, despite a 2013 report finding that nearly £3bn was spent on subsidies to the five most expensive rail companies between 2007 and 2011. The Greens passion for ensuring public services are protected and free from privatisation was something that Ken Loach passionately echoed in our recent interview with him.
After yesterday’s election debate a coalition between Labour and the SNP looks unlikely, boosting the odds of a minority government. Parties like the Greens could still play a significant role in the next Government. Womack categorically ruled out working with the Tories or UKIP but remained open to a coalition with Labour, Lib-Dems or the other parties.
Amelia Womack is standing against Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman in the Camberwell and Peckham Constituency.
Just to prove The Green Party aren’t taking themselves too seriously here’s their spoof boyband video ‘Coalition’ featuring distant lookalikes of Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Farage.
Written by Martin Stocks | @Stocks1986