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Interview with… Green Party PPC Martin Hemingway

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With so many first-time voters apparently ‘disillusioned’ and ‘disengaged’ with traditional politics, the ground appears fertile for the newer and fringe political parties to draw in more votes than ever before. As the ‘Green movement’ appears to resonate so strongly within the student community I began by asking Martin why he believes the party’s ideology connects with younger demographics.

Martin said that the Green Party sound very different to the other parties – they focus on promoting clear policies not political bickering.

I challenged Martin on these ‘clear policies’ as a common query on my Facebook note was ‘how will the Green Party ever be elected when they only care about the environment‘.

Martin accepted that recognition of Green polices is a challenged, but they are not a single-issue party. Martin stated that the Green Party have a clear and costed set of economic policies that follow Keynesian principles. I asked if it was possible to reform the economic structure away from today’s neo-liberalism, de-regulated state to which Martin replied that if the UK continues down the Conservative and Labour path the long-term recovery looks unstable. Martin claimed that the Greens have plans to create 10,000 UK jobs in green industries.

A common comment coming from Facebook was ‘how do they relate to other parties’ so I thought it was extremely important then to get Martin to clarify where exactly the Green Party sits along the political spectrum?

Martin explained the he used to be a member of the Labour Party, but left as he felt it had abandoned its principles and it is now the Green Party who occupy the space left when ‘New Labour’ emerged.

The Green Party manifesto claims that the UK needs a 10% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions. A number of people asked me if i thought this was ‘over ambitious’ as the Government has said we must reduce by 2.5% – so I asked Martin if 10% really is a realistic aim?

Martin said that even 10% may not be enough. It is also not just about reaching targets though, it is how they reached and making sure this is done in a responsible and sustainable way.

A key theme of the Green Party is solving the ‘Crisis in Society’ – but what exactly does this mean?

Martin claims that the legacy of Thatcherism has been a decline in social cohesion and a rise in individualism.

This then links in to the ‘crushing inequalities’ which the Green Party believe exist in the UK.

Martin said that according to research’ the less equal society is, the lower of quality of life within it. He claims that the UK has one of the most unequal societies in Europe and one of the ways the Green Party will solve this is by increasing tax for those who earn more than £100,000 a year.

The Green Party won 2 MEP seats last year and Martin only just missed out to the BNP here in Yorkshire – but as Ian Woodcock commented on my Facebook note ‘I might consider voting Green if they can prove they’ve done something in the European Parliament. So what exactly have the Green Party MEP’s has been able to achieve in Brussels.

Martin claimed that the Green Party MEP’s, along with other European Green-based parties, have done a lot of equality.

And finally, what are the Green Party expectations for the general election?

Martin said the Green Party are confident that Caroline Lucas will be elected in Brighton and there are a few other seats they are really pushing for. In the long-term, the Green Party would like to see a Parliament elected through proportional representation.

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