This is a guest post from David Taylor. David was a very early member of the Green Party and a principal speaker from 1994-97. He's concerned that the party isn't making enough impact.
"It has been noticeable that we haven’t been scoring the points we should have on the ecological crises, or attacking other parties for failing to support life (a better word than ‘environment’). We have missed report after report that we could have responded to. In consequence the media turn to NGOs and not to us for comment, and thereby miss the political points which need to be heard.
The negligence and, we presume, ignorance of mainstream politicians when dealing with these issues makes them vulnerable. We can win arguments again and again when we come from a green perspective. And ecological points can be made on most of the governmental or social issues of the day.
Here are sorts of the things we should be saying:-
- Terrorism: We should be pointing out how many more people are suffering and dying from air pollution each year – asthma, emphysema etc.
- Refugee crisis: We should be pointing out that climate change and environmental degradation are among of the causes. Syria, for instance, experienced 20 years of drought before the war began. This was almost certainly the worst drought in 500 years.
- EU referendum: We could be stronger on the huge benefit of the EU’s environmental directives and exposing, in ardent terms, the ignorance of the outers who deny climate change. It was, for example, the EU that cleaned up our beaches.
- Environmental damage: We should expose the culpability of the WTO and corporations for ecological collapse. For instance, after yesterday’s report on massive coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef we should have attacked and publicly embarrassed the Australian government for its support of coal mining.
- NHS: We need to make the most basic, and popular, green point of all; that we are spending more and more on the NHS (and building up greater deficits) because people are getting sicker and sicker (cancer, diabetes etc), more stressed and more obese. Tackling these health issues (on which all mainstream parties have shocking records of inaction) with controls on junk food, a reduced working week, tighter controls on environmental pollution etc will do far more to save money than forcing junior doctors to work more at weekends. We might even win over Jamie Oliver...The beauty of these arguments is that they cut across the Left-Right spectrum and will attract broad support.
There is one key concept to get across. The Green message is not about ‘the environment’. What a counter-productive word that has been! It’s about ‘life’ and ‘health’. We should just stop using the word ‘environment’. It is ranked way down the list of priorities for most of the electorate and makes people think of whales and litter. We are the party for Life and for Living... That has resonance."