Caroline Lucas: We are up against a rotten, dysfunctional system

Share
Related Topics

What is immediately clear to anyone joining the Green Party conference in Hove this weekend is that this is a party with its sights set firmly on the future. As much of the talk inevitably focuses on the Green bid for Westminster, the buzz is almost tangible.

At our spring conference in Blackpool the shockwaves of the financial crisis were rippling from the boardroom into the living room, and political commentators were predicting bad times ahead for the Greens. "No one votes Green in a recession," we were told. "When people are worried about their jobs, things like the environment, social justice and political reform are mere luxuries," they said.

Yet more than a million British people clearly do care, since they voted Green in the European elections in June. And more than 1,000 of them joined the party during the six-week run-up to those elections.

So party members here at conference are feeling understandably buoyant. In the June elections, not only did we increase our share of the vote by more than any other party – up by 44 per cent – but in two regions we also pushed Labour into fifth place.

Here in Brighton Pavilion, the campaign to win one of our first seats in Westminster is gathering real momentum. In the European elections, Brighton Greens picked up almost 6,000 more votes than the Tories, and more than double the number of votes gained by Labour. Just a few weeks later, Alex Phillips achieved a stunning victory in a council by-election in adjoining Hove, winning the seat resoundingly from the Conservatives.

All this despite being up against a rotten and dysfunctional political system, one which allows a Government with 36 per cent of the vote to hold 100 per cent of the power, and effectively disenfranchises all but the handful of people who happen to live in the marginal seats.

When I speak to activists, the overwhelming impression that I take away is that Greens are passionate about fairness. So, this weekend, we have been asking these questions:

Is it fair that British workers should lose their jobs because of the Government's failure to promote and protect the green industries and renewable energy projects that could provide millions of skilled green jobs while also addressing climate change?

Is it fair that our public services should now suffer deep cuts in the wake of trillion-pound bank bailouts?

Is it fair that one in five children in Britain today is living in poverty? The categorical answer from the Green Party is no.

In eight months' time, we'll be fighting the most critical general election for a generation – and we intend to make the issues of social and environmental justice central to our campaign.

Greens are full of enthusiasm about reaching out to voters and showing people that we are the only party to hold true to our values. Alongside grassroots movements such as those mobilising ahead of the vital Copenhagen climate summit, the Greens form part of a vibrant and forward-thinking movement with energy and fresh political ideas – with our sights set firmly on electoral success.

The values that underpin Green politics – fairness, respect, sustainability – are the values that we need now to forge a new politics and a new economics from the old paradigms that have served the people so poorly. If conference delegates take away one message, let it be this: fairness is worth fighting for.

Caroline Lucas MEP is the leader of the Green Party

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A police officer carries a casualty to safety  

Tunisia attack proves that we cannot stop terrorists carrying out operations against Britons in Muslim countries

Robert Verkaik
Alan Titchmarsh MP?  

Alan Titchmarsh MP? His independent manifesto gets my vote

Jane Merrick
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies