I recently came across a manifesto I wrote when I stood for Parliament in 1983. At that time Britain was suffering the Thatcher era and enjoying a brief period of jingoism after victory in the South Atlantic war. Reading it through it struck me how little the world has progressed in the past thirty years, and just how little I would change if I had to write it again. The issues are as live today as they were then.
‘All over Europe, the international Green Movement is making a major impact and demonstrating the increasing need and support for a new approach to politics.
Britain’s Green Party, is fielding about 100 candidates in this election. We differ from the other parties in that we recognise the wastefulness and destructiveness of our present way of life, and seek to create a sustainable society in which stress, competition and materialism are replaced by a natural enjoyment of life for all.
The purpose of our economic policy is to provide an adequate, sustainable standard of living for all, ending indiscriminate economic growth and discouraging the squandering of irreplaceable resources: we would introduce a resource tax.
We believe in low-growth jobs and would encourage labour-intensive industries. More incentives would be given to re-use, repair and recycling – less to raw material- and fuel-hungry manufacturing processes. We urge massive expansion of home agriculture and investment in energy conservation.
Work should be fulfilling to the individual and beneficial to the community. People have a need for and a right to work, but in present circumstances the stigma should be taken out of unemployment; a basic and secure income needs to be provided for all by the community.
We would phase out nuclear power as quickly as possible. Instead, investment in energy conservation and research into renewable energy sources will balance our energy requirements and provide tens of thousands of new jobs.
Massive energy savings could be made by investing in more fuel-efficient modes of transport and planning facilities nearer to where people live, to reduce dependence on transport.
We would withdraw from the EEC, since membership is incompatible with a sustainable, self-sufficient economy. We would reduce our dependence on trade and the activities of multinationals would be checked.
The way to harmony lies through a more just sharing of the world’s resources. If we appear to threaten no-one, we are more likely to be left in peace. We support a professional defence force, strongly armed with conventional weapons and backed by comprehensive civil defence measures at home. Nuclear weapons are no defence and only make confrontation more likely. All foreign military bases here would be closed.
Our attitude to the environment is uncompromising. Strict controls governing land, air and marine pollution would be enforced. The spread of concrete would be halted. Our investment in agriculture would promote organic, natural methods of crop raising, and the inhumane treatment of animals would be outlawed.
Our educational policy stresses comprehensive, co-educational schools controlled directly by the communities they serve and available to all. The curriculum needs to be broadened and to emphasise the fulfilment of each child’s potential in a non-competitive, non-exam-orientated way.
We support proportional representation; we would introduce a Bill of Rights and a Freedom of Information Act.
Finally, the most serious threat to world stability is our reliance on the resources of other countries. The conditions under which most of the world’s population live represent a scandal. We would meet our obligations to the developing world fully, by means of more financial and appropriate technological aid, and more equitable trading arrangements.
It is important that everybody who supports our objectives stands up to be counted by voting Green on June 9th. This is the only genuine alternative to the destructive policies of all the other parties.’
Well, since 1983 the world has changed, the Soviet Union is no more, China is a force to be reckoned with and some of the developing countries are shaping up to be major economic powers. But one day, if we carry on as we are, Mother Earth will rid itself of the destructive beings that threaten its survival – us – and return to its natural state of balance and harmony.
©David Lawrence Preston, 10.3.2016
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston