BRITAIN NEEDS A PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE

by Jonathan Bartley & Caroline Lucas

This week’s House of Commons vote to renew Trident and the scrapping of the Department for Energy and Climate Change are the latest reminders of the scale of the task we face together as progressives.

The future looks far more dangerous and insecure even than it did just a few weeks ago. The UN has found our welfare system seriously wanting. Over a million people still rely on food banks. And hate crime is on the rise.

For the communities economically forsaken and socially neglected by successive Governments there’s little promise of meaningful change. They are most exposed to a right wing Brexit’s toxic legacy – the further degradation of public services, watered down environmental standards and the auctioning of workplace rights to the highest corporate bidder. With little to lose they nonetheless will pay the price in an economic model that requires human collateral. Taking back control never applied to them and unless we radically turn things on their head it never will.

Meanwhile, a Labour Party which should be holding a Prime Minister with no mandate and no workable manifesto to account, is divided against itself.

There’s a justifiable anger at the mess we find ourselves in.  But there is also a hunger for something that looks different, that feels different and that is different.

v2-Caroline-Lucas-Rex

via independent.co.uk

We’re standing to be co-leaders of the Green Party because we want to seize this moment. We believe we are the team best placed to harness the energy bubbling up from the ex coal mining towns of the north east to the former copper mining communities in the south west, and create a new, radical politics for a new radical future.

If elected we want the Green Party to be at the forefront of a movement to realise the power of working together.

In particular we want to explore a one-off alliance of progressives at the next general election. Led by local parties, this would unite behind a pledge to introduce proportional representation in the next Government.

Many of those who howled rage and discontent through the EU referendum vote have long been  represented by politicians who believed they would never be defeated. So called safe seats have been taken for granted by successive Governments of all colours and our voting system has put excessive power into the hands of several hundred thousand ‘swing’ voters in marginal seats.  These are the voices that have counted – and have to be wooed. Everyone else has been ignored.

This Hunger Games politics of fear has delivered everything of which we were afraid and it is time to call  it out and refuse to play.

This is the reason why climate change and Trident, let alone the suicides of benefit claimants or the punishment of the disabled, rarely make it onto election agendas.

Change the voting system and we can change lives for generations to come.

JONATHAN-BARTLEY-GREEN-PARTY-GENERAL-ELECTION-2015-FINAL-CORRECT-VERSION

via swlonder.co.uk

But only by working together can this be achieved.

Only by actively confronting the divide and rule which has seen communities played off against one another in a vile blame game; North verses South, working families against ‘benefit scroungers’, established communities against migrants.

This Hunger Games politics of fear has delivered everything of which we were afraid and it is time to call it out and refuse to play.

Jonathan’s background in pavement politics and grassroots campaigning, and Caroline’s experience as an MP, means that together we can achieve more than the sum of our parts. We know how to share power to build power – and are passionate about doing that without sacrificing policies or values that we hold dear.

A one-General-Election-only agreement, could see parties, communities, campaign groups and others come together to make common cause not just on electoral reform but also to advance a radical agenda for economic, social economic and political transformation. The short term goal would be to overturn the slender 16-seat-Tory majority elected by just 24% of the electorate and swiftly introduce a proportional voting system, so that everyone’s voice would be heard.

The long term goal is to mend the deep rifts dividing our country and to give a positive future to every community in every corner of Britain.

Radical change needs resistance and renewal – we are ready and we believe you are too.

Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley are standing as a job-share candidate for the Leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Caroline Lucas has been MP for Brighton Pavilion since 2010, having been re-elected.in 2015 with an increased majority. She is the Greens’ first and only MP and was previously the Leader of the Party from 2008-2012. Since entering parliament, Caroline has hit headlines for her creative and direct campaigning, including her arrest at a direct action in Balcombe against fracking. 

Jonathan Bartley is currently the Green Party’s Work and Pensions spokesperson and was a candidate in the 2015 General Election for the Streatham constituency, where he picked up 8.9% of the vote. He is currently the Chair of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education and has made numerous media appearances including on The Big Questions, The Daily Politics and the Moral Maze

You can find out more about their campaign here.


Every Green Party member receives a vote in the forthcoming Deputy Leadership election, which will take place from the 25th of July to the 25th of August. The Norwich Radical have invited all candidates for Leader and Deputy Leader to submit one article to us on their campaign.

Header image via theguardian.com

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