9 June 2017

Calderdale Green Party to redouble efforts to achieve a democratic voting system and effective climate and environment action


After the strangest General Election campaign any of us have ever experienced, Calderdale Green Party will redouble its efforts to achieve a democratic voting system and effective climate and environment action.

We face a double crisis of democracy and environmental and climate collapse. We have to keep these issues on the political agenda and fight for timely resolution of them.

The 2017 General Election has seen a reversion to the traditional two party politics that the “first past the post” system perpetuates. This leaves no room in Parliament for fair representation of smaller parties that put forward the views of sections of the electorate that the two big parties overlook.

No other party’s manifesto provided the things Green Party members and supporters want, that are vital to solving the environmental and climate crisis that is upon us.

We urgently need to abandon the pursuit of economic growth in favour of creating a one-planet economy. The economy has to respect, protect and serve the environment, not the other way round.

We need to recognise and move beyond the inadequacies of the Paris climate agreement and its climate change reduction targets, if we are to avert catastrophic climate change.

We need coherent policies on fossil fuel extraction. That means not only banning fracking but robust opposition to all fossil fuel extraction including North Sea oil and gas. In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, all fossil fuels need to stay in the ground.

We need a coherent transport policy that not only invests in increasing walkability and cyclability, renationalising the trains and improving public transport - but that also refuses the expansion of Heathrow airport and the massive increase in air transport this would create.

If this election has shown us one thing it is that proportional representation is vital and that we must step up our campaigning for a fairer voting system that keeps the constituency link, like the one used in the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament is vital for the UK Parliament. 

This would have sent 24 Green MPs to the 2015 Parliament.  Even in this election which has reverted to traditional two-party politics, the Green Party’s 1.5% share of the national vote would have sent a handful of Green MPs to speak up for the environmental and climate policies that we so desperately need.

We respect the decision of most people who have previously voted for the Green Party in Calder Valley, including many Calderdale Green Party members, to vote tactically for the Labour Party in order to try and stop Craig Whittaker being re-elected as the Calder Valley MP.

It is also vital that people who disagree with the policies of the two main parties that benefit from the undemocratic first past the post voting system, feel free to stand up for and vote for the party that speaks for their values and concerns.

When Calder Valley Labour Party rejected our offer of an electoral pact, we stood a candidate in order to make sure that people who wanted to vote for Green policies could do so; particularly to make the case for proportional representation and Green Party policies to protect and restore the environment and climate, which no other party shares.

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in discussions with our MP candidate Kieran Turner and Calderdale Green Party members during the past weeks, on doorsteps, stalls and social media. This has helped us to understand where a wide variety of people are coming from.  Such dialogue has to be the first step in moving towards more democratic and environmentally friendly politics.

We would also like to thank everyone who voted for Kieran and the Green Party policies he has stood up for.

We totally oppose the conservative government’s lack of respect for democracy and the environment and Craig Whittaker’s failure as an MP to respect the people of Calder Valley. He does not take on the essential responsibility of an MP to represent everyone in his constituency regardless of whether they voted for him or not.  

 In the end, the only way to get rid of Whittaker is to convince people who vote for him to vote for someone else and in our campaign the Green Party opened  conversations with Conservative voters about why our policies offer fairer, more environmentally and climate- friendly ways of tackling problems that matter to them. 

Now that the election is over, we will work with anyone from all parties and none to get effective action to introduce proportional representation and to effectively protect the environment and climate..

We will do our best to hold Craig Whittaker to account to represent all his constituents not just those who voted for him, and to protect both people and the environment from the effects of rotten Conservative policies.

For this, we have to join with everyone else who shares these aims. The old politics of division have to be replaced by a politics of dialogue and cooperation.

This is what we hope for and will work for.

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