Monday, June 01, 2009

Questions for Greens

Blogger, journalist and decent sort Neil Clark posed some 'questions that the parties didn't want you to ask'. I thought it was quite interesting and decided to answer the Green ones because, well, they weren't that difficult. Sadly the answers haven't appeared on his blog yet but I thought I'd share them with you here for the hell of it (a few minor corrections included).  

1. Where would the money for your proposed £45bn 'Green New Deal' come from?

Page 16 of our Euro manifesto spells this out in detail here.

It's quite long so I won't quote it all now - but you did ask about where a very large sum of money was coming from! The short answer is savings, like scrapping Trident, combined with progressive taxation.

2. How do the introduction of Eco Taxes, which hit the poor disproportionately harder than the rich, square with your commitment to greater equality and social justice?

You may well be confusing us with other parties who think all environmental solutions come down to eco-taxes, our approach is much more varied than this.

Obviously we are for addressing social inequality - whether that's via proper social provision and publicly owned public services and what we call the citizen's income, ensuring that no-one in the country has to live in poverty - so we don't advocate eco-taxes without other proposals alongside them.

However, to take one example, scrapping the *exemption* from tax on aviation fuel will increase the cost of flights - there's no getting round it.

But if we don't address runaway CO2 consumption it's the very poorest of the world who'll be hit the hardest by climate change. So yes, the more affluent will have to fly less in order to save those on less than $2 a day from become climate refugees. Sorry.

3. Why does your party not address in its manifesto what Sir David Attenborough has described as "the frightening explosion in human numbers" and the effect that population growth has on the environment?

The Green Party has a very reasonable population policy which is in the public domain and you can read here. So I suppose we do address this issue.

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