I have been watching the progress towards the election in the UK with some interest, and am very pleased to see that the Green party is sending an eminently sensible message which is attracting a big surge in party membership.
I find this very gratifying, for there needs to be a valid alternative to the proven failures of the Conservative and Labour parties (New, or otherwise).
And now a name that I am not familiar with comes to the fore:- Amelia Womack, who is the Green Party’s Deputy Leader. After reading the speech she made at the party conference, I am perfectly confident that she is a great addition to the party leadership, which is at the moment predominantly female.
I will let you all be the judge of that. Here is the speech she made at the conference in Liverpool on March 7th:-
“It is a great privilege to be here, as your deputy leader, at the biggest conference this party has ever seen.
And it’s great to be here in Liverpool – Although my initial inspiration about the importance of our environment and communities came from Wales where I was born and grew up, it was right here in Liverpool – where I studied at University – that my passion for environmental and social justice was truly formed.
Just over seven years ago, a bank called Lehman Brothers collapsed on the other side of the Atlantic. Its collapse was due to an unaccountable and broken system in which greed flourished and bankers were answerable to no-one.
Yet, far from triggering a radical overhaul of our economic order, the financial crash was used as a springboard to further the interests of the wealthiest and most powerful members of our society.
Sky high levels of inequality have continued to plague our communities.
Government cuts have hit the most vulnerable, while the richest have become richer.
We now live in a country as defined by our foodbanks as we are by our football – as known for our tax avoidance as we are for our tea.
We live in a country where the majority of people have been forced to pay for a crisis that they did not cause.
And we live in a country where those at the top, and the multinational companies – still don’t pay their fair share of tax – while those at the bottom experience cuts, sanctions and attacks on public services.
Let’s be clear. Times have been tough – and this government has only made things tougher. The so-called good news from this week: that ‘Britain is back on track’ – simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
Average incomes lower than in 2010. Wages for young people down 7.6% since 2007. That isn’t a recovery. That is a resounding failure.
But, we are here today – and in record numbers – because we know that there is hope.
I have hope today, not just because this party offers the bold solutions we desperately need – but also because of all of you who have come to this venue and who will play such a vital part in shaping our policy, debating our direction and building our campaign in the weeks to come.
Because without you, the fifty five thousand members of this growing movement, we wouldn’t be where we are today – higher than ever in the polls pushing to win more seats at the general election and ready to change British politics – and to change it for good.
To those of you who joined recently – and there are many of you here today – Welcome.
Welcome to the fastest growing political movement in England and Wales, welcome to a party that puts you – the members – at the centre of our decision making.
Welcome to the only party fighting in these elections that can truly be called democratic, open, and accountable.
There is much work to be done. At this election we have more doors to knock on than ever before, in more constituencies than ever before. We have the chance of a generation to show that things can be done differently – but we can only do that with the help of each and every one of you.
We won’t win record results at this election through hard work alone. We will win more votes than ever because we are the only party standing for bold steps to cure the sickness in our economy, and in our politics.
At the heart of my politics and at the core of what this party stands for, are certain truths:
– That the market should serve people, not rule over them.
– That public services – Our NHS, Our Universities, Our Schools – should be run for the common good – and that we should pay for them together.
– That the planet is not ours to exploit; we have a duty to protect and conserve it for future generations.
And I have hope today because this Party, and this party only, continues to offer the opposition that others have failed to muster. This moment in our history, when our country runs the risk of being turned over to private interests and sold to the highest bidder – is no moment for half measures.
That’s why we will always be bold in our policies – and be honest about who is going to foot the bill.
That’s why today I can confirm that our manifesto will include a commitment to free Undergraduate University education, paid for through general, progressive taxation. Because when we say that education is a public good – we mean it.
And that’s why our manifesto will be honest about the fact that that we want the richest in society to contribute more. We’re not afraid of speaking about taxation. We are committed to a higher rate of income tax, we are committed to raising more money from corporations and we are committed to using the money raised to narrow the Victorian levels of inequality in this country.
And it’s because we are bold that we will go into this election with a clear commitment to end the multi-billion pound waste of taxpayers’ money that is Trident.
We’re not calling for a review
We do not want a consultation
We want nuclear weapons off our shores and consigned to the dustbin of history.
These next two months are not going to be easy. But if we are to send one message out from this conference, a message to be printed on every flyer, a message to be heard at every door upon which we knock – let it be this; that business-as-usual politics is coming to an end.
Let it be that we will vote for our values, for what we believe in. Let it be that at this election we will not stand by whilst our supporters are told to vote for simply the ‘least bad option’.
The politics of the future does not, and it will not, look like the politics of the past.
Whilst I am filled with hope as I stand here today, I am also fearful. We have emerged from the last crisis a weaker, poorer nation – with our public goods hanging by a thread. But the fact is that the next crisis could be just around the corner.
Despite many tales of lessons being learnt we still have an economy that relies far too heavily on the speculators of The City of London. We have record levels of household debt. And we have the looming threat of a climate crisis.
It is not just the mistakes of the past which need fixing – we need to secure our future too.
We have much to prove. Each of us, whether we’re in conversation with our friends or on the BBC News, we all have a role in showing that this party is the party of hope.
That this party is one which stands for fairness and equality, not just now but for generations to come.
That this party, will never blame a crisis of capitalism on the most vulnerable members of our communities.
We go into this election bigger and bolder than ever before, and with the greatest opportunity in a generation to shake up our political landscape for the better.
I don’t know about you, but I really feel like we are on the cusp of something, the cusp of change, the cusp of opportunity, the point at which business-as-usual politics has the potential to be shaken up like never before. Together, as a growing party, working on the doorsteps across this nation, we can make history.