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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 17:06 GMT
Green Party

The Green Party says that it is campaigning not just to save the environment, but on the general theme of "justice".

Humankind is especially responsible for the care of the planet, holding it in trust for all other living things and for future generations, says the party. It also calls for justice for other species.

The party began life more than 25 years ago as the Ecology Party and relaunched itself in 1985 as the Green Party.

Although there are no Green MPs, the party holds 44 local authority seats and has one peer, thanks to the defection of Lord Beaumont from the Liberal Democrats.

Election success

The party won its greatest show of public support in the 1989 European elections, polling 2.3 million votes, nearly 15% of the turnout.

Green Party policies that were once marginal are becoming mainstream. Our rejection of roadbuilding is widely shared ... and the reality of climate change is accepted

Party manifesto, 2001
However, since that high, the party has had mixed fortunes. In the 1997 general election it fielded less than 100 candidates.

But it has had more success where new voting systems have been introduced - gaining two members of the European Parliament and three members of the Greater London Authority.

One of these three, Darren Johnson is the mayor's adviser on environmental issues.

The Scottish Greens, who are separate, have one member at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

Party policies

Its statement of core values states that: "The values of caring, co-operation, nurturing and sharing must be encouraged to replace the values of competitiveness, domination and aggression which have characterised our society for so long."

The Green Party seeks a fundamental shift in economic policy, We need a new economics that produces for need not greed, distributes wealth equitably, operates within the ecological limits of the planet and involves everyone in providing for their family and community

Party manifesto, 2001
In its 2001 manifesto, entitled "Reach for the future", the party criticises mainstream politicians for emphasising economic growth and company profits above the rights of people, the environment and health.

It calls for a radical reform of tax in the UK to make sure that polluters pay, every citizen has a guaranteed income and that personal taxation is progressive to protect the poor.

For instance, the party would scrap vehicle tax and replace it with higher tax on fuel, to better reflect the cost of pollution.

The Green Party also regards controlling multinational companies and globalisation as vital to the interests of the environment and the world's disenfranchised or poor.

It believes that globalisation and liberalising trade "undermines green economics" by eroding the power of local governments and people to erect social and environmental safeguards.

The party opposes a single European currency because of the inability of a continental currency and economic policy to take into account the needs of regional needs.

Environment and Transport

Greens call for a global cut in greenhouse gas emissions based on "carbon justice" between the rich and the poor.

It wants a target of 25% of energy from renewable fuels by 2010.

The party says that a comprehensive public transport policy and higher fuel duties are vital for protecting the environment.

The party demands the renationalisation of Railtrack, as redirection of road expenditure to the needs of cyclists, buses and pedestrians. Airport growth should be curtailed.

Health and education

The Greens have pledged to maintain free health care for all and put more emphasis on preventative medicine, as well as alternative and complementary treatments.

The party's health agenda also pledges to:

  • Scrap public finance initiatives
  • Retain Community Health Councils and improve their funding
  • Stop any fluoridation of drinking water
  • Increase support to women choosing home births

    The party argues for a wider acceptance of "lifetime learning" and challenges what it describes as "corporate control" of education.

    It has called for:

  • Smaller classes and support for non-mainstream schools and home education
  • Less emphasis on testing pupils
  • The return of student grants

    Other policies

    The party has attacked both Labour and the Conservatives for competing at "playing the prison card".

    The Greens say that they can reduce crime through policies to reinvigorate local communities and create a sense of purpose.

    The party advocates restorative justice, where an offender makes amends, over "forcing people to languish in overcrowded prisons where they become students of crime".

    On drugs, the party supports the Dutch model of legalising cannabis for personal use at home and through licensed "coffee shops".

    Personal use of other drugs would be decriminalised ahead of a commission into which ones should be fully legalised and how.



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