Letter: German lesson
Tuesday 29 September 1998
By pulling their true electoral weight over the years, the German Greens have forced the federal government to act on the environment. Far from hurting the German economy, as was originally feared, legislation on clean air (for example) has actually stimulated new economic growth, and German anti-pollution equipment is now exported all over the world.
In Britain, the birthplace of environmental politics, the Greens regularly receive 2 to 5 per cent of the vote but no seats, allowing successive governments to backslide on the environment.
Under the current system, we saw a weak Tory government held to ransom by the Ulster Unionists, which almost dished the peace process. Under PR we could see a British government forced to improve the environment in order to stay in power. I know which I would prefer.
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