Labour manifesto: still lots of reasons to vote Green

Just like Caroline Lucas, I welcome the fact that so many of the Green Party ideas from our 2015 manifesto have become Labour Party policy under Corbyn. I spent 16 years on the London Assembly encouraging Ken Livingstone and even Boris Johnson, to ‘steal’ the Green Party’s ideas and put them into practice. The Living Wage Unit, Same Sex Partnerships, hire bikes and a lengthy list of other green proposals were implemented as we changed the world via proxy. That only happened because of the large numbers of Londoners who regularly voted green.

JJ and Ken at City hall

A Corbyn led Labour government would start to address inequality, reduce the queues for food banks and stop the NHS from collapsing, but it would still be wasting billions of taxpayer pounds on Trident. Labour would also condemn the next generation to decades of paying huge energy bills for a new set of outdated and redundant nukes.

Climate change is given a mention towards the back of the manifesto and we would get a new Clean Air Act. However, there is no stated opposition to Heathrow expansion which is the single most environmentally damaging project in the country. I have no doubt that most of Labour’s current MPs (outside of London) would back Heathrow expansion in a free vote and that is what Corbyn has promised them.

Another good reason to vote Green is that I don’t want to reward Labour tribalism. We Greens have done our generous best in standing down in 30 constituencies where there is a close contest, but Labour doesn’t even support PR. Labour has even expelled activists who supported a progressive alliance attempt to unseat Jeremy Hunt by swinging behind a doctor standing as an NHS candidate. I admire the local Green parties who have made the sacrifice, but Corbyn’s Labour Party have failed to respond and engage.

If the polls are right and we end up with a Conservative landslide, then it will be even more essential that we have clear Green Party voices in Parliament to help protect existing environment regulations from Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill. We need more Green Party MPs like Caroline Lucas to push a positive agenda on renewable energy, civil liberties and reducing pollution. There’s no substitute for real Greens.