Ukip has no policies beyond EU and immigration, says Green party leader

The Guardian, 28 April, 2014

Green party leader Natalie Bennett has attacked EU election frontrunner Ukip, saying Nigel Farage has stamped policy out of the party’s platform.

With polling showing Ukip looking increasingly likely to take first place in the election in May, Bennett said Farage’s party was without substance and were benefiting from a general disengagement with politics.

Speaking at the Green party’s campaign launch in London today, Bennett said: “As far as I can work out, Nigel Farage has entirely written it off so that Ukip has no policies at all. It seems to stand for getting out of the EU and stopping immigration and other than that he seems to have said, right, we have no policies.”

“It’s a reflection very much of the dissatisfaction with politics. I think they will get a lot of votes in the north from poor, dissolutioned people who feel like they’ve been left behind, left out. And in many ways they’re right.”

Bennett said the looming failure of the major parties in the election made it obvious that Britain’s electoral system was inadequate to represent the choice voters desired.

“What this also represents is the fact that two (or if we are being charitable two-and-a-half) party politics has very much broken down as a system. It demonstrates the utter unfitness of the first-past-the-post system that we have in Westminster.”

The Greens are the fourth largest voting bloc on the floor of the EU parliament. The UK party currently holds two seats in London and the south-east.

Green advisers say they are quietly confident they will double this number in the European elections on 22 May. They are engaged in a battle with the Liberal Democrats, whose vote has plummeted, to take two new seats in the eastern and north-west regions. Recent polling has both parties hovering around 8-9%.

In their election manifesto, launched this morning, the Greens presented what they described as solutions to the excesses of the banking sector, Tory austerity and David Cameron’s championing of the shale gas industry.

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Will Tory plans kill onshore wind in the UK?

Eco audit verdict from 24th April, 2014 – Full story here

There seems to be little doubt that this policy will eventually sink the onshore wind industry in this country. The potential for the technology to compete without subsidies is poor and the handing over of power to local authorities will likely be the final nail in the industry’s coffin.

Tories and many industry leaders are loath to admit that this will put an end to onshore wind, saying that current capacity will be maintained and even grow for a time as projects granted permission before 2015 come online. But what industry survives without long-term growth? For onshore wind to continue to generate investment in research and development (and therefore to stay competitive) it will need to have the potential for new growth and projects. As Jennifer Webber, from RenewableUK says, this policy “will kill the industry dead”.

That is their prerogative, especially if the EU fails to introduce a 2030 renewable energy target as some observers are suggesting they will. But the Committee on Climate Change says the level of onshore wind will need to more than triple by 2030 if the UK is to meet its own emissions reduction commitments.

David Cameron said the policy was a removal of unnecessary subsidies. But this argument washes away quickly when you consider that onshore wind is less expensive than other renewable alternatives, which will continue to attract public funding.

What this is really about is votes in rural areas and an appeal to the NIMBYism that sways the Tory right towards Ukip. In the end, windfarms, like migrant workers and the EU, are seen as alien edifices being imposed on the British way of life. Renewable energy creates jobs, but it fails to create them in the areas where it changes the skyline. Thus locals feel the costs outweigh the benefits. The majority of Brits are for windfarms, but the Tories have decided that the votes they need are not only opposed, but they are so strongly opposed they will decide their vote on it.

December eco audits

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