Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why I find the Green Party's recycling record troubling.

Polls are showing that the Green Party are now beating the Liberal Democrats in opinion polls and membership numbers. As a Brighton resident, I have experienced what life is like under Green leadership and although I won’t be actively opposing them anytime soon, I certainly won’t be voting for them in the upcoming general election.
The reason, as simple as it sounds, is recycling. In a 2013/14 league table Green Brighton ranked at 302 out of 326 councils for its recycling record. Recycling is probably the aspect of ‘green’ lifestyle that has infiltrated the most British homes in the last 10 years, so I would have thought that if the Green party were going to leave one legacy in Brighton then they could have at set up a pioneering, or at least efficient, waste recycling system. For example, I may have been encouraged to vote Green if they had introduced a strategy in Brighton such as the successful zero waste master plan that I saw in Boulder. The clue is in the name, the Green party are intrinsically linked with environmentalism and I believe that their failure to introduce a system that they could then use as a solid demonstration of their achievements in Brighton is telling. “The basic problem that they have is they haven’t really decided whether they want to be a party of protest or a party that actually runs an administration,” said Neil Schofield, a Green councillor who defected to Labour last August. In their manifesto the Greens say that they have a commitment to reducing the consumption of natural resources and support the introduction of a zero waste strategy and circular waste management system. This sounds great on paper, but if the Greens were to win the election then the recycling situation in Brighton suggests that they would also be unable to deliver the promises of their party on a grader scale. I like what the Green party stand for and I believe that it is important that they be included in national debates in order to raise their agenda and challenge the larger parties. How ever if their rise in popularity nationally demonstrates anything it is that in our increasingly modern world living a more green, socially conscious lifestyle is no longer something associated just with the radical left. Which ever party wins the general election will have to respond to this values shift, and I for one hope that it is the Labour party. At the end of the day, the division of the Left between Labour, the SNP and the Greens may stop Ed Milliband being Prime Minister but it is unlikely to take votes away from the Conservatives.


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