A.K.A The Green Party; The Greens
Founded in 1973 as the PEOPLE Party, the first UK political party to have environmental policies, it became the Ecology Party in 1975, the Green Party in 1985 and – after the split with the pro-independence Scottish Greens in 1990 – the Green Party of England of Wales, though commentators outside of Scotland generally refer to it simply as the Green Party. Founded out of rising fears of climate change during the 1970s, it has grown in popularity as the effects of human impact on the Earth’s ecology become more obvious.
The Greens are less neoliberal than the larger parties, proposing renationalisation of several companies, including Royal Mail and the the railways. They are committed to social justice and the prevention of poverty through progressive taxation and the implementation of a Citizen’s Income – a regular, non-means-tested payment to every citizen regardless of employment or otherwise. They oppose public sector cuts in general.
Green social policy is highly liberal. They strongly support same-sex marriage and gay rights in general and are intent on bringing an end to discrimination. They oppose extensive use of prisons and are in favour of legalising marijuana. The party is fully committed to the HRA.
Greens support the welfare state and oppose social security cuts and the welfare cap. However, as mentioned above, they desire to replace jobseekers’ allowance with a universal Citizens’ Income, in line with the original principles of the 1940s welfarist movement. They favour localisation of health and education (along with all other services which can be practically localised). They are also in favour of a phased abolition of university tuition fees.
Green foreign policy is highly pacifist – they oppose military interventionism, the UK’s membership of NATO and the continuation of the trident nuclear defence system. They are also moderately eurosceptic, as they feel that the EU is too closely tied to corporate interests and support a referendum on the UK’s membership, though they are not opposed to the EU’s existence in principle. The Green Party believes in international cooperation in order to promote sustainability and diplomatic dispute resolution.
The Green Party is, unsurprisingly, the most environmentally-focused of the UK’s political parties and opposes the continued use of fossil fuels in favour of the introduction of completely renewable energy sources for the UK, though divisions exist as to whether to include nuclear energy in this. The party promotes animal welfare and natural diversity as being integral to human quality of life and in the interests of natural organisms own rights. They oppose both fracking and the HS2 high-speed rail line.
The party leader is Natalie Bennett and the deputy leader is Will Duckworth. Other notable Greens include former leader and the party’s sole MP Caroline Lucas, Green Party peer Baron Timothy Beaumont and leader of the semi-autonomous Wales Green Party Pippa Bartolotti. The party won 0.9% of the vote and 0.2% of the seats in the House of Commons at the last General Election and has around 16,000 members.