Many politicians have attempted to provide their own definitions of Green politics. All of a sudden 'Green' means fashionable. They think they can I capture the Green vote' by developing policies on the rural environment. But there is far more to Green politics than that!
In this manifesto you will find well-thought-out policies on the countryside, on agriculture, on pollution amongst those on employment and economics. The difference between our policies and those of the other parties is not in our range of interests, but in our whole approach.
Our policies - all of them - acknowledge the vital importance of our whole environment. That environment - its health, its safety, its wholeness - affects our lives, our politics, and our future, and whenever we damage the environment, we damage ourselves. Like all other forms of life, we depend for our survival and well being upon a fragile network of physical, social and spiritual links with the rest of creation. Green politics is an acknowledgement of the complexity of that web of life.
Human beings are just part of that web, but we have become the dominant strand in it. Over the years we have set ourselves up to control, dominate and exploit the planet. The signs pointing to the need for a greater awareness of the results of human domination have become increasingly obvious. Now we can ignore the signs no longer - if we do not heed the warnings we have the capacity to destroy the planet, and ourselves in the process.
Green politics is about building a new way of life, one that is based on respect for our planet and humility about our role on it. We need to stop building on the quicksand of materialism, patriarchy, competition and aggression. We are sinking faster than most people think.
We need to assure a basic level of material security for all - enough to eat, a warm and safe place to live, clean water, health-care, education, and satisfying work. Only when people are released from immediate poverty and hardship can they be expected to take responsibility for wider issues.
We need to rediscover our roots and our histories, and to learn from those cultures which are more in harmony with their environment than we are. We must stop imposing our values on native peoples as though we had all the answers for them - we don't. Through our imperial efforts we have forced people to abandon ways of life which were often far more satisfying than we can ever imagine.
We need to recognize the importance and value of each and every one of us, working together for the world we want to leave to our children. The barriers between us are not innate; they are created, often by those people who want to control us. Women and men, young and old, Black and white can and must work together. We need to break down the barriers so that we can build a future.
We need to find the core of peace that is within us all, and to extend it to our lives, our communities, and our global connections. Since the end of the Second World War there have been a hundred more wars - despite the claims of politicians, nuclear weapons have not kept the peace.
We need to recognize the spiritual dimension of our lives, just as we need food to eat and friends to love. Whatever our religious beliefs, a vital part of green politics is our love and respect for the Earth and for each other. The power to take responsibility for our own lives and futures, to give equal value to our spiritual and emotional needs as well as our physical ones, lies only within ourselves.
The Earth has been served by the wisdom of ecology for millions of years. We can use that wisdom to make us whole again. With it we can restore the balance between the logical and the natural, between ourselves and other people, between all humanity and the planet Earth.
OUT WITH THE OLD
Respect for nature is fundamental to the Green approach, and is inspired by the knowledge that if we were to destroy the ability of the Earth to support life, the Earth itself might survive in some form, but the destruction of the human race would be certain. It seems only sensible to develop a system of human activity which is in harmony with the Earth's life-sustaining systems.
There is something very wrong with the economic system we have inherited. Even in the richest countries poor and homeless people sleep on the pavement alongside computer and video shops. Millions of people in the world die of hunger while we put a man on the moon.
IN WITH THE NEW
Real wealth is not stocks and 2 shares and money in vaults. It is the planet and the life it supports in all its rich array. The basis of economics is learning how to live within our means, and to Greens that implies living within the means of the planet. Far from neglecting people for plants, we believe that planning to secure the welfare of the Earth automatically secures the welfare of us all. It encourages human values such as sharing and cooperation, as well as tackling the problems we see all around us.
From this perspective it becomes more important to use resources as wisely as possible - to conserve them - rather than consuming them as quickly as we can in the race for 'consumption', 'growth', 'competition' and 'progress'. An emphasis on consumption leads to even more trees being cut down, even more landscape destroyed. Growth takes power out of the hands of local communities and gives it to multinational corporations which have no connection with the places where people live and work. Competition sets communities and nations against each other, and progress often leads us down untested and unsafe technological paths.
The Green Party believes that a real understanding of wealth offers both us and our children a basis for sustainable policies which will be as useful in years to come as they are today.
A Green economy:
counts the real cost of resources, including the cost of dealing with waste and pollution. It aims to reduce both to a minimum.
satisfies the full range of people's needs, not just their financial needs.
_ measures itself using meaningful indicators like health, low crime rates, human fulfillment and ecological diversity.
_ supports strong and sustainable local economies, helped rather than hindered by national and global policies.
_ supports - socially-useful products and services, not just commercially viable ones.
works to redress inequality between people, both locally, globally, and between generations.
breaks down the distinction between 'real' (paid full-time) work and informal and voluntary work, thus recognizing the importance of many sorts of economic activity.
secures greater democratic control over economic decision-making, questioning and challenging the power of capital and the concentration of economic activity.
_ emphasizes the participation of people as workers and consumers, rather than as anonymous 'units of labor'.
_ is sustainable, taking future generations into account as well as the next few years.
WHY JOBS AREN'T GETTING THE WORK DONE
It is dishonest to pretend that full 3employment - a 40-hours-a-week paid job for every man and woman between the ages of 15 and 60- is possible, or indeed desirable. Past times of 'full' employment in this country have been brief, and did not count women. And it is worth pausing to wonder how many people want to spend the bulk of their adult life in a full-time job. The Green Party sees a world of difference between "work" and "a job." We are surrounded by 'work' which is crying out to be done - caring for children, elderly and sick people, repairing houses, growing food, looking after the land - and yet more than 3 million people are being paid specifically to do nothing - an absurd situation.
The response of the other parties to unemployment has been to cry 'more of the same!' - more growth, more productivity, more streamlining of industry. Which of course means fewer jobs. To counteract this the government has created a spate of near useless job programs, while hospitals continue to close wards and bus services deteriorate.
The Green Party's response is to stop pretending, and acknowledge that we need a fresh approach to the way we or. anise work, the way we share it, and the ways in which people are rewarded for the work they do.
The British people appear to be far It more aware of the real situation than their politicians. The number of worker cooperatives and community businesses has nearly doubled since 1984, tool and DIY sales are rocketing, and allotment waiting lists have never been longer. People have decided to take responsibility for themselves, and rather than leaving them to swim against a tide of unfulfillable promises, the Green Party wants to bring their enterprise into the mainstream. The first step is to bring together the people and the work that needs to be done. This is what the Basic Income Scheme (see page 5) will do, removing the 'tax on jobs' and introducing a wide array of flexible alternatives, such as job-sharing, more part-time arrangements, and time off for study, caring for small children or dependent
relatives, or just digging the garden. Married women, single parents, and people with disabilities can find work that suits them _and their skills and work can be better matched with people. Self-employment would become easier since Basic Income would always provide for the bad patches. Low-paid jobs would be more worthwhile with the guarantee of Basic Income; this would bring many more jobs on to the market. All Green policies create jobs, because if we want a green and pleasant land we shall have to work for it. You could say that caring for the Earth is the biggest job-creation scheme ever.
WORKERS' RIGHTS AND INDUSTRY
The Basic Income Scheme is not a 5 charter for low-paid jobs; within a Green economy, workers could retain and extend their right to negotiate basic rates. High taxes on high incomes would affect take-home pay, and cheaper goods, produced locally without waste or pollution, would bring down prices all round. The only way to stop the vicious circle of productivity, unemployment and prices is to step out of it.
The Green Party supports the right of all workers in every country to form and join free, democratic and self-governing Trade Unions without restriction. This right, together with the right to strike and picket peacefully, would be included in a Bill of Rights (see page 13). We also support industrial democracy, from secret shop-floor ballots to the participation of workers, consumers and the community in the management process. Legislation would enable the introduction of a full industrial democracy, without imposing a specific constitutional blueprint on any organization.
Trade Unions have an important and innovatory role to play in our approach to the problems of unemployment. The workers at Lucas Aerospace and Vickers have made history with the conversion plans for their industries. Similar conversion plans are urgently needed throughout the chemical, nuclear and arms industries. We believe that other workers have a great deal to offer in the field of appropriate technology, such as alternative energy generation and innovative transport systems.
We believe that there is no conflict between Trade Union membership and national security', and that it . should be illegal to deny anybody this right. GCHQ employees who have been persecuted should be compensated immediately and have their full rights restored , and members of the armed forces should also be able to form or join Trade Unions if they wish.
Contrary to popular mythology, the Green Party is not anti-technology. We favor appropriate technology: technology that is good and satisfying to work with, produces useful end results, and is kind to the environment. Many such technologies will be 'high tech'. We favor machines doing jobs which are boring, dirty and repetitive, but there are serious limitations. Some technologies currently being developed, such as micro-electronics and genetic engineering, may serve us well into a human-scale, sustainable future, but they could also lead us down the same dangerous and secretive path as nuclear energy has done.
The Green Party wants the debate about technological choice brought out of the secretive back-rooms of government and industry and into the public arena. Having control over technology means deciding when, where and how--to use it, whether to
develop a particular technique, whether the side-effects justify its use, and if necessary, when to stop. That power must be in the hands of the millions of people who will be affected by the choice, not just in the hands of the few who will profit financially by it.
We will use scientific research funds to explore technologies which are most likely to serve a decentralized, Sustainable society,, such as energy conservation and alternative energy sources. We will also encourage the decentralization of research projects.
We will set up independent Technological Assessment Boards, which will continually assess both new and existing technologies. Economic assessment will run alongside checks on health, safety, environmental impact, risks, and job satisfaction. These Boards will have a statutory obligation to keep the public informed of their work in a clear and accessible way.
A strict Code of Conduct will be introduced to bring transnational companies under greater control. This will include a requirement to disclose information about transfer pricing, the movement of capital, monopolies, and mergers.
TAXATION AND BENEFITS
The Green Party wants a taxation system that will substantially redistribute wealth and help us to achieve a sustainable community-based economy. Rather than increasing the basic rate of income tax, we want to shift the main burden of taxation on to unearned income, excess consumption and the wasteful use of resources. Because taxation policies (especially trade tariffs) often affect other countries, we must be aware of their needs, and avoid taking unnecessarily harmful unilateral action.
The Green Party's proposals for taxation reform are:
_ the devolution of taxation.
_ Basic Income Scheme which merges the present income tax credit x_ d benefit system into an automatic, ra free, weekly payment for all.
_ levy on land values called Community Ground Rent.
_ Conservation Taxes on the use of renewable and non-renewable resources.
_ Consumption Taxes to favor human skills, long-life goods, economical use of resources, and a small scale economy.
_ Income and Capital Taxes to raise revenue more flexibly and redistribute wealth.
_ selective Tariff Protection during and after restructuring to reduce consumption, stimulate local production, and discourage imports.
_ Pollution Charges to encourage_' care of, the environment and ensure, that polluters bear the real burden of' their actions.
DEVOLVING TAX COLLECTION
_ Alongside the devolution of political and economic power, the Green Party would devolve the collection of most taxes to local and regional government. Local government would become the main recipient of tax income, passing necessary amounts to national government for national needs. A simple and automatic formula would be used to redistribute resources between richer and poorer areas.
THE BASIC INCOMESCHEME
At the heart of the Green Party's 19- proposals for reform is a Basic Income Scheme, which would guarantee economic security to each person as a right. The present system is highly complex, unfair and inefficient, and embraces many dubious assumptions about the way people live, and work. In contrast, a Basic Income Scheme is simple, efficient, and very fair.
The proposed Basic Income Scheme would provide:
_ an automatic weekly payment to everybody throughout life, regardless of sex or marital status, non-means tested and tax free, at different rates for different age groups. Children's payments would go to the mother or whoever has legal responsibility for the care of the child.
_ special supplements (also non-means-tested) for housing, special needs, those unable to work, those choosing further education or training, and those facing acute temporary hardship.
The payments would guarantee an income adequate to live on, higher than current welfare benefits, and low income families would gain the most. Basic Income with its supplements would replace the current chaos of income tax and allowances, together with the jungle of unemployment pay, supplementary benefit, widow and child benefits, sickness and disability allowances, family income supplement, and so on. People in further education and on training courses would receive further grants to supplement their Basic Income.
A Basic Income Scheme frees people from the 'traps' created by the present system.
The 'unemployment trap' is created by the withdrawal of benefit when a person finds work. Perhaps more than any other measure the Basic Income Scheme would stimulate employment, since it would always be financially worthwhile to work (see also 'Work', page 3).
The 'poverty trap' is the result of cutoff points in benefit where a pay rise can lead to the withdrawal of more benefit than the increase is worth. With Basic Income a person always gains from a rise in income.
At present, benefits are denied to people who have more than minimal savings, thus producing the 'spendthrift trap'. Basic Income would not penalize savers.
Unlike present unemployment benefit, Basic Income is not withdrawn when a person becomes a student or does voluntary work, thus overcoming the 'idleness trap'.
The present tax and benefits system treats women - especially married women - as second class citizens, thus creating the 'discrimination trap'. The Basic Income would guarantee economic independence for women, and help all those who are currently discriminated against to
regain their freedom of choice and action.
Like all benefit systems, the Basic Income Scheme would have to be paid for. The income for the scheme would come from:
_ savings from the operating costs of the present system.
_ a reduction of Income Tax personal allowances.
_ Community Ground Rent.
_ Higher Resource Taxes.
_ Pollution Charges.
_ an increase of some indirect Consumption Taxes.
_ higher Company Tax on large firms.
A full Basic Income Scheme could not be implemented at once. The Green Party proposes an initial scheme, which would be a partial reform of the present system and which could be put into operation fairly quickly. As new revenue became available the scheme would be expanded and improved until the whole Basic Income Scheme was in place.
The most urgent priority is to release those in need of social security benefits from poverty, so the initial scheme would cover all social security payments except child benefit, which would continue to be available to non-claimants. The aim would be to give all low income households at least what they receive now, but without creating any poverty or unemployment trap. Income tax arrangements would help to ensure that only people on low incomes became better off as a result of the initial scheme.
COMMUNITY GROUND RENT
Land is a gift of nature, not a 1_ product of human effort. It is our common wealth, and fair access to land is one of our birthrights - a right that is denied to all but a few. Most of the land in this country is in the hands of a few wealthy individuals and institutions who are more concerned with profit than with sustainability.
The Green Party proposes radical changes concerning the holding of land, particularly the introduction of a Community Ground Rent, designed to:
_ distribute the use of land more fairly between individuals and small scale enterprises.
_ stop land speculation and keep unearned returns from land within the community.
_ encourage conservation and the ecologically-sound use of land.
_ help the land to make the most of its natural ability to regain its own balance and fertility (see 'Agriculture', page
Because Community Ground Rent involves such a radical change from the present system, it requires some explanation as to how we see it working.
Under the present system of land ownership, anybody 'owning' land in the center of a city, for example, can command high rents and high selling prices. As soon as permission is given for land to be 'developed', both rents and prices can rocket, even though the owner' may have done nothing to look after or improve the health of the land. This leads to speculation in land, where individuals and institutions buy up agricultural land in the hope of making money from its future development.
Community Ground Rent would ensure that the 'rent' from land would go to the community, and that the community would benefit from any unearned profit arising from the change of use of land. The community, in effect, becomes the only 'la d owner', encouraging the wise use of land by applying lower Ground Rent, and ensuring that individuals cannot benefit from uses which are unkind to the land by applying higher Ground Rent. In general terms, the nearer the land is to its natural state, the lower the Community Ground Rent will be.
The income generated by Community Ground Rent will obviously vary enormously from area to area; this would be taken fully into account in the mechanisms for using Community Ground Rent to fund the Basic Income Scheme.
In implementing Community Ground Rent, the Green Party would ensure that:
_ all land holdings would be included in a Land Register, which would be open to public inspection.
_ each piece of land would be assessed for its rental value; to begin with only a fraction of this amount would be charged, all such charges being recognized as part payment towards any other rent which the occupier of the land might be paying.
_ the Community Ground Rent paid would eventually be the highest practical proportion of the economic rent. The community would be protected from the exploitation and pollution of land by new Resource Taxes and Pollution Charges (see pages 7 and 8).
These taxes would discourage the wasteful use of valuable resources, both renewable and non-renewable. They would be assessed as early as possible in the harvesting or extraction process, and each resource would be assessed separately. In this way goods with a high resource content would cost more than similar items which have been produced with a more economical use of resources.
The tax would be imposed by quantity and not by price, and would thus be unaffected by price fluctuations, and to avoid penalizing the wise use of local renewable resources (such as the harvesting of wood for fencing) there would be exemptions below certain limits.
As well as applying consumption taxes on goods and services to raise revenue, the Green Party would use them selectively to encourage small scale, job-creating and resource-conserving activities.
The registration threshold for VAT would be substantially raised to encourage small-scale retailing; repair, recycling and renewal activities would be zero-rated. Purchase tax would be used to discourage the consumption of luxury items. Company Turnover Tax would replace the easily-abused Corporation Tax, and would be progressive, encouraging smaller enterprises and discouraging larger ones.
INCOME AND CAPITAL TAXES
With Community Ground Rent and the Basic Income Scheme in place, taxes on earned income could be used much more flexibly by local communities. Capital Taxes would remain, and investment income would be taxed at a higher rate than earned income, though a low income threshold would ensure that low income investors would be unaffected.
The Green Party encourages trade specialization, but at a local rather than an international level. British butter being sold in France at the same time as French butter being sold in Britain is wasteful nonsense. The present false economies of scale and centralization have also made it possible for larger companies and supermarkets to wipe out small firms and local stores - a social cost that is not counted at all. Green Party Trade Taxes would make it more profitable to trade locally on as small a scale as possible.
We propose a flat-rate Import Tariff at least as large as the related Resource Tax, to encourage local production. Export Tariffs would gradually be imposed (giving businesses time to reorganize), eventually reaching the same level as the Import Tariff. Localization of domestic trade would be encouraged, partly by the selective use I of freight transport charges and subsidies.
Pollution Charges would ensure that the polluter pays the full cost of pollution, whether intentional or accidental. These Charges would be set at levels which would ensure that they could never constitute a 'license to pollute', and it would be possible to ban persistent or excessive offenders. These are seen as 'charges' rather than 'taxes' since if they are doing their job properly, they will form a rapidly-decreasing source of revenue. The revenue thus raised will be used to repair damage already done and fund research into non-polluting alternatives.
MONEY AND DEBT
MAKING MONEY OUT OF MONEY
Many people on the dole find themselves in a downward financial spiral, unable to borrow money, doomed to stay poor and get poorer. Yet the established homeowner, in deep debt and with an enormous overdraft, has no problem buying a new video with a credit card. It's no different for countries - the United States is both the world's richest country and its biggest debtor. Making money out of money - or more accurately making money out of debt - has become a massive industry, holding the world to ransom. But the money it works with has no real wealth behind it; the 'money industry' only works because most people believe in it. The Green Party is convinced that if nothing is done about the present financial system very soon, collapse with catastrophic consequences will be hard to avoid. The present system is unstable, unjust and unscrupulous. The Green Party would take steps to end the monopoly of private banks over money creation, and explore creative ways of dealing with the burden of debt. Once wealth is in the hands of local communities it will remain there, ending the power of money to act at a distance.
Community banks would be encouraged, subject to license and with the power to create money, a power which would be withdrawn from private banks. Community banks would invest local savings in local enterprises, and invest newly-created money in those enterprises. They would be publicly accountable and ran by boards of trustees, including government appointees and elected and co-opted members. Savers who wanted could find out and determine where their money was being used, and on what terms.
In the period while community banks were being set up and gaining experience, private banks would continue to create money, but would have to increase lending to local businesses, pay higher taxes on profits, and deposit increasing amounts of their assets with the Bank of England. This would limit their ability to make loans unsecured by matching deposits, and result in a "100% reserve system".
Community Employment Agencies would be set up to assist new enterprises both with advice and with finance. These Agencies would operate savings banks, channelling local savings into local employment at favorable rates to both lender and borrower, and funded by local taxation.
DEALING WITH THE NATIONAL DEBT
The Green Party proposes a phased program to liquidate the self-imposed and now intractable burden of the national debt.
RELIEVING THE THIRD WORLD'S BURDENS
The Third World debt currently 19
The Third World debt currently stand at a trillion dollars ($1,000 billion), an impossible burden. Banks have often broken the rules to lend beyond their equity, and are constantly having to reschedule the repayment of loans. Poor countries have been forced to raise prices on subsistence foodstuffs, and cut back domestic food production to grow cash crops to earn foreign income. The system has struggled this far, but only at a massive social and ecological cost.
The Green Party seeks major reforms to the international monetary system, starting with steps which can be taken now. The United Kingdom would gradually disengage from the international money market, and begin to cooperate on appropriate reforms with other like-minded governments, both rich and poor. Exchange controls would discourage the movement of money, and a currency exchange tax would be used to discourage the operation of international banks in this country.
Agreements would be sought with Third World countries wanting to restructure their economies on sustainable lines, and we would explore creative ways of working together. For example, debts owed to UK-based banks could be bought at a discount and then canceled, meaning a loss to the bank. Or a proportion of the debt could be paid in local currency into a development fund for local sustainable projects. This could be linked with preferential aid and trade arrangements (see also 'Aid and Trade', page 26).
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The health of any community is one of the best indicators of its true wealth. Many studies have shown that poor health goes hand in hand with deprivation, yet successive governments have pursued policies which increase poverty and unemployment, and then feigned surprise when more and more people become ill. The Green Party believes that health and illness cannot be seen in isolation from environment and lifestyle, and we therefore see many of our policies as directly health-promoting.
We are committed to a Health Service which is equally available to everyone and free at the time of use. At the same time we emphasize its role in disease prevention, health promotion, and the development of individual and community self-reliance.
Primary health care services would be based on Community Health Centers, which would also provide a focal point
for community health promotion programs, health education, screening, counselling, and the support of self-help groups. We would also encourage:
_ ante-natal care and home deliveries for women who choose them.
_ a full range of services to support and care for people in their own homes who are dying, frail, sick or disabled, thus relieving the pressure on those, particularly women, who presently look after these people with little practical help.
_ a flexible range of accommodation, including day hospitals, hospices, hostels, sheltered housing, and small nursing homes within the community. Only specialist services will be kept in district or regional hospitals.
The Green Party is not opposed to medical high technology, but we are skeptical of some of its applications. These technologies must be assessed and must be monitored and audited continually before used in appropriate circumstances.
We would establish local and national Environmental Health Agencies to coordinate the monitoring and control of pollution and other health hazards (see also 'Pollution, Waste and Recycling', page 19). We would also:
_ support holistic approaches to health, natural medicines and alternative treatments, and fund appropriate research in these areas.
_ ban smoking in all enclosed public places tobacco advertising and tobacco sponsorship.
_ ban alcohol advertising and sponsorship, and greatly reduce the level of alcohol permitted in the blood of drivers.
_ bring forward the date for phasing out leaded petrol, exclude traffic from residential areas wherever possible, and reduce speed limits.
_ ban dangerous food additives, make clear labelling of foodstuffs obligatory, and ban the use of hormones and drugs for farm animals unless they are necessary for the animals' health.
_ control drug testing, advertising and prescription much more tightly, and phase out the use of animals in medical research wherever possible.
The Green Party acknowledges that AIDS could have a devastating social impact on this country in the next few years. We support explicit campaigns to give the facts clearly and dispel the myths surrounding the disease. We deplore those people and groups who have exploited the AIDS issue to advocate illiberal, oppressive and discriminatory measures against gay men, drug users and prostitutes. We recognize that considerable amounts of money will be required to conduct research, provide education and counselling, and to care for AIDS sufferers.
The Green Party is convinced that 2 an important aspect of lightening our impact on the land is to reduce our own numbers. We see no need to impose unpalatable legislation, but we
do believe that there are enormous advantages to be gained from gradually reducing the number of human beings on these islands until we have reached a number of people which can be sustained indefinitely by our own resources.
This would also reduce our dependence on the food crops essential to the well being of other parts of the world, especially the Third World, where the impact of a rapidly-growing population is most severe. Women in the Third World would like to choose when they have babies. They know from bitter experience that fewer children means healthier children, yet without adequate food and family planning advice and safe materials it is difficult to implement that choice. Aid and advice programs tailored to local needs have already shown that child health can be improved and birth rates reduced substantially, and the Green Party would direct substantial aid to further programs.
The Green Party would also encourage teaching and discussion about population issues. We would point out that population projections can be deceptive because account must be taken of the resources needed to maintain a healthy population. We would encourage people to think about their reproductive as well as sexual responsibilities, provide easily available contraceptives and advice about their use, and encourage a gradual but noticeable decline in our own population.
The real question is whether we slow population growth by conscious, humane and compassionate planning, or whether we leave famine and disease to do it for us. The time for choosing is running out fast.
EDUCATION FOR LIFE
It has been suggested that the present crisis in education constitutes a 'national emergency', to be dealt with by increased state control and the provision of ever more cannon fodder for a 'technologically sophisticated, internationally competitive, highly skilled economy'. The politicians who advocate such policies appear to be blind to the fact that such measures have already achieved record unemployment and truancy.
The Green Party believes that the mistake has been to limit the concept of education. For too long it has meant 'training for a job'. Our lives cannot be chopped into three neat portions learning, working and retirement. We want to provide tools and opportunities so that people can choose how to use their lives in a useful and satisfying way, whatever that way happens to be. Learning is a lifelong process, and undertaken at any age and at any level it should explore and fulfil the potential of the learner.
Education should cater for our creative, physical and spiritual needs, as well as the intellectual. It should encourage us to think independently, to work cooperatively, and to contribute positively and creatively to our communities. Responsible citizenship and techniques of peaceful conflict resolution are important aspects of learning. We need the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, but we also need very practical life and manual skills, environmental education, and a real understanding of the global situation.
The Green Party would encourage people to move in and out of the learning process throughout their lives. Opportunities for learning would reflect our multi-cultural society, using the wisdom of old people, and bringing people with special needs into the overall learning environment.
To further these ends we support:
_ community education with comprehensive, coeducational, small-scale and varied education provision, whether in villages or inner cities.
_ the abolition of public exams, and their replacement by an assessment of a pupil's ability and success in achieving goals agreed between pupil and teacher. We would reconsider the statutory school-leaving age, and provide nursery facilities for all preschool children who need them.
_ small schools, closely connected with their communities, facilitating a better exchange of practical learning and skills.
_ many of the current trends in education - the development of anti-racist and non-sexist curricula,
continuous profiling rather than exam-based assessment, and the exploration of practical and experiential aspects of learning.
_ the expansion of the further and higher education sector so that all who wish to do so can participate in its activities.
_ the opening up of all educational establishments to enable all members of the community to use their educational and leisure facilities.
_ the right of parents to educate their own children, providing them with access to community facilities as they need them.
We deplore the increasing denial of choice in education; the removal of teachers' negotiating rights; the imposition of City Technical Colleges; the restrictions caused by rate-capping; student loans rather than universal' grants; a nationally-standardized curriculum. All these policies are designed to make people 'fit the system' rather than creating a system to fit the real needs of the people.
We reject the view that the primary purpose of education is to prepare people for a lifetime of paid employment. This approach is blinkered, short-sighted, and dishonest. The whole concept of work is currently undergoing drastic change, and education must acknowledge this change, recognizing the new freedom it gives to people.
Education policy must be decided by each community to match its individual needs and priorities, not left in the hands of central government. Learning is part of living, and the community is where we live. Such an important part of our lives cannot be left to the whims of party politics. Education is about life - for life.
Although the recent bill to incorporate the European Declaration on Human Rights into British law failed, it only just failed, and opinion polls taken before the Commons vote revealed that two out of three people would have liked it to succeed. With the extraordinary official behavior over the BBC's Secret Society series, we have yet further evidence that our civil liberties are far from being in safe hands.
The Green Party believes that our rights and civil liberties should be safeguarded within a Bill of Rights. This should at least cover the rights and freedoms enshrined in the European Declaration, and would incorporate the NCCL's Charter for Civil Liberties.
We would also introduce a Freedom of Information Act to replace the Official Secrets Act, which currently allows ministers and civil servants to protect themselves from the public they are supposed to serve. Our Freedom of Information Act would include a clear definition of what constitutes 'national security', with broad provisions for data protection.
The Green Party is alarmed at current trends in policing - centralization, excessive force, and the acquisition of CS gas, plastic bullets and other offensive equipment. Any system of law-enforcement that a society chooses, from crime prevention to the punishment of people who break the law, must be directly accountable to the people of that society. We would repeal the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act, and all police forces would be locally accountable to independent police authorities. We support an independent Police Complaints procedure.
Any society that asks its police force, as we do now, to serve us, control us, and defend itself against us, is a society in deep trouble. Our policies, unlike those of the other parties, will lead to a future in which less policing is needed. If the police are to be part of society rather than set against it, they must be trusted to fulfil their original role, which is to help people feel secure. We propose several ways in which this might be achieved:
_ we would repeal the 1986 Public Order Act and guarantee the right of peaceful assembly and demonstration.
_ we would emphasize crime prevention, and appoint more community police.
_ we would standardize the law on arrest, detention and trial to guarantee fair, speedy and open trials.
_ we would offer more sensitive support to the victims of crime, for as long as necessary.
_ we would undertake the long-overdue reform of the prison system. We would imprison only the worst offenders, thus reducing the prison population. We would expand rehabilitation and therapy facilities, and set up rehabilitation units in local communities. We would use noncustodial sentences wherever possible, and make special provisions for offenders who are mentally ill. Special facilities would be made available to women offenders with babies and young children, and to pregnant women.
_ we would reinstate the right to challenge up to seven jurors.
_ we would abolish capital punishment for . both civil and military offenses. The UK would ratify the additional protocol on the European Convention on Human Rights, which obliges all member states to abolish the death penalty, and the UN Convention on Torture and Inhumane Treatment.
_ we would withdraw Crown immunity from prisons, to ensure proper accountability.
_ we would rationalize the law on sexual offenses so that it protects people, especially women and children, from assault and exploitation, but without the present inconsistencies, confusions and prejudices.
However it is measured, the contribution of women to the family, to the community and to the economy is massive. They do most of the work in the home, most of the child rearing, and most of the voluntary work that underpins our social services. Yet despite some improvements, the social, economic and political repression of women is still an undeniable feature of our culture. Women are oppressed and exploited, and are exposed daily to injustice, violence and discrimination.
For hundreds of years men and male values have dominated human activities, while women are consistently exploited and stereotyped by advertising, the media, politicians, education, and the way that men have structured society. Women are expected to do most of the work that is fundamental to keeping society going - birthing, caring for children, cooking, looking after the home, caring for sick and dying people - and little of this work is acknowledged, let alone paid. At the same time, men expect women to look like TV stars, to be available when required, and not to have any independence.
The Green Party believes that a feminist perspective which is applied throughout the governing of our society is crucial to our survival. This does not simply mean 'equal opportunities' or token participation; these are man-made concessions which keep women dependent within a patriarchal structure. It means empowering every individual. Both in its internal organization and in its policies, the Green Party not only seeks to end discrimination, but also to bring that feminist perspective through women into all areas. We want to liberate both men and women from sexual stereotyping, and to demonstrate that our future addresses the feminine in all of us.
Among our specific we propose:
_ To create a Ministry for Women's Affairs, to look after and advise on the rights of women in all areas. The Ministry would ensure that women were properly represented at all levels of decision-making. If and when it achieves its objectives, it may eventually be possible to dissolve such a Ministry.
_ our Basic Income Scheme (see page 5), which will recognize women as financially independent, and provide a new flexibility in working arrangements, supported by the provision of nursery facilities (see 'Education', page 12).
_ efficient and widely-advertised screening programs for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer.
_ to support women in their demands for a life free from violence and threats of violence, in their homes and in the community, through the provision of refuges, controls on the use of sex and violence in advertising, and increased community policing, especially at night.
Only a very few women actually choose abortion as their preferred means of birth control, and we believe that readily-available contraceptive advice and materials for both sexes would reduce considerably the need for abortion, especially among younger women. When abortion is considered, however, the final decision must rest with the woman herself.
ANTI - RACISM
The Green Party is totally committed to the eradication of racism in our society and in our lives. The racist prejudice and harassment being suffered by members of ethnic minorities who live in this country concern and involve us all.
Greens celebrate the diversity of culture in a multi-cultural society, and see it as both positive and constructive. Yet intolerance and prejudice are rife in our society, both in individuals and in institutions, 'and Black and Asian people constantly bear vicious attacks and degrading oppression.
Racism is not an isolated issue with a single solution. The Green Party aims for an integrated anti-racist approach, working with community and special-interest groups for the rights of ethnic and cultural minorities. Decentralization and an emphasis on grass-roots human-scale democracy would return power to the oppressed, as would our Basic Income Scheme, offering much-needed freedom of choice and action to communities where racial hostility thrives on deprivation.
We support the teaching of mother tongues in schools and the provision of sites for travelling people, and would bring more people from ethnic minorities into education, the police and the social services. Awareness and respect for cultural differences would figure prominently in professional training.
Our goal is equality of opportunity for members of all ethnic communities. All legislation would be monitored to ensure that it cannot be used to discriminate, existing legislation would be assessed and amended if necessary, and policies for equal opportunity would be monitored continually.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Those of us with a physical or mental disability often carry an added burden of rejection and discrimination. The resulting segregation impoverishes everyone. The Green Party believes that people with disabilities should be actively encouraged to participate in decision-making, and we are committed to breaking down the many barriers which prevent these people from maximum participation in everyday life. We would:
_ improve access to public buildings, instal long-delay road crossing controls, and build more public toilets.
uphold the rights of people with disabilities to enjoy public amenities, arranging times for special access where necessary.
_ provide practical and financial support for voluntary and self-help groups, including these groups in planning and decision-making.
HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY
_ Our sexuality has an enormous 11 influence on our lives, and the freedom and ability to express it confidently is crucial to our ability to develop caring and loving relationships. Yet in our society these skills are largely ignored, leaving the 'experts' to deal mostly with the failures. The number of people seeking advice and counselling confirms that leaving things to chance is not enough. Though there are no blueprints for guaranteed success, the Green Party believes that everyone should have ready access to the sort of guidance and information they need. In particular we propose:
_ that discussion and advice about sexuality and relationships should be included in public programs available to all through schools and community health centers.
_ the removal of remaining legal, social and administrative discrimination against people who choose, any sexual activity or relationship not proscribed by a rationalized law on sexual offenses.
LESBIAN AND GAY RIGHTS
The Green Party believes that attempts to enforce heterosexuality are as much a violation of human rights as racism and sexism, and must be challenged with equal determination. The Green Party supports the right of young people to be brought up to understand that they may experience homosexual or heterosexual feelings, or both, and that whatever sexual preference they choose can enrich their own lives and the lives of the people around them.
We would seek to ensure that lesbians and gay men are not discriminated _against in housing, employment, education, or their ability and worth in caring for children. We would set the age of consent for homosexual men and women at the same as that for heterosexuals.
The United Kingdom is far from united. Statistics show enormous regional disparities in unemployment, health, housing and education. The more we become involved in international organizations like the Common Market and NATO, the more our regions, especially the poorer ones, are marginalized, causing social, economic and environmental disintegration.
The Green Party believes that the cult of bigness and the centralization of political power create a recipe for disaster. The bigger the unit, the further it has to fall and the more widespread is its fallout. Communities devastated by the closure of a mine or large industry have learnt this from bitter experience.
We believe that the security of people in this country lies not in Brussels or New York, but in their own community. We would devolve substantial powers for self-determination away from Westminster, and put them in the hands of local communities.
The responsibilities of Districts, where most power would lie, would include taxation and benefits, social services, housing, education, health care, land reform, policing, and many aspects of justice, transport and pollution control. The boundaries of Districts would be decided by local people themselves.
Above the Districts would be Regions - or in Scotland and Wales a devolved Assembly or Parliament - which would be responsible for functions needing a wider perspective, such as land-use planning, redistribution, and some aspects of transport and pollution control.
Local government would decide which functions should be retained by central government, through a democratically elected constitutional assembly. These functions might include foreign affairs, defense, customs and excise, international trade, non-renewable resource conservation, and some aspects of justice, transport, pollution control and land reform.
Decentralization would follow a phased program, alongside reforms in taxation and benefits.
ln 1983 more people voted against the Conservative Party than for it. Although we supposedly have a 'majority' system of voting, no government since 1945 has been supported by a majority of voters.
We would introduce Proportional Representation so that any governing party would have the support of the majority of voters, and the wishes of the electorate would be reflected in the distribution of seats amongst the parties.
We deplore the way that money can be used to buy votes. We would abolish the election deposit, replacing it with the requirement for a larger number of signatures to support a person's candidacy. We would limit election budgets at both local and national levels, so that elections would be fought over policies and ideas, not bank balances and razzmatazz electioneering.
We would bring party broadcasts under the control of the Representation of the People Act, so that pre-election publicity would deal with relevant and local issues, and not be overloaded with self-congratulation and national issues, dominated by the outgoing parliament.
Fallout from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl; leaks at Sellafield; catastrophe at Bhopal; destruction of lakes and forests by acid rain - it is plainer than ever that our lack of environmental responsibility is leading to the poisoning of our planet. Yet we continue the quest for economic growth, consuming scarce resources as though there were no tomorrow.
All Green Party policies take into account the importance of ecological thinking and the need to conserve the physical environment. Because it has been so badly treated in the past, however, the environment demands our particular attention on many fronts.
We recognize three categories of natural resources:
_ non-renewable resources which are completely consumed as they are used, such as coal, gas and oil.
_ non-renewable but re-usable resources which can often be recycled and reclaimed, such as water And most metals.
_ biologically renewable resources, which if used wisely can be infinitely sustainable, like cotton, timber, food, and biofuels.
The Green Party would minimize and control the use of non-renewable resources, encouraging the fullest possible re-use of materials, and promoting the development of renewable alternatives (see also 'Pollution, Waste and Recycling', page 19, and 'Energy', page 18). Our specific natural resource policies would include:
_ our Conservation Tax (see page 7).
_ setting up buffer stocks of recycled and reusable materials, thus encouraging recycling industries and ensuring the availability of recycled materials.
_ Purchase Taxes to discourage the use of short-life 'durables'.
_ extended minimum guarantee periods and guarantees on the availability of spare parts, making it more economic to repair things than buy new.
We must move from our present dependence on finite fossil fuels towards maximum energy efficiency and conservation. Coal, oil and gas will continue to play a vital part in our energy strategy, but their use must respect the necessity for conservation and the protection of the environment. At the same time we must develop widespread energy conservation programs and introduce renewable energy supplies.
Nuclear power must be phased out. It produces waste which cannot safely be disposed of, and which may take centuries to decay. Chernobyl showed that accidents do happen - and a Chernobyl-type disaster would mean total environmental and economic catastrophe in a small, densely populated country like the UK. The Green Party would:
_ close down all nuclear reactors within four years.
_ close all reprocessing facilities at Sellafield and stop work on the associated THORP plant as quickly as possible. Sellafield produces 95% of all UK nuclear discharges and is contaminating the Irish Sea as well as the surrounding countryside.
_ close all facilities at Dounreay and withdraw from the European Fast Reactor Program.
_ stop work on Sizewell 'B' an(i cancel orders for all other pressurized water reactors.
In order to promote efficiency, conservation and environmental protection, the Green Party would:
_ create District Energy Authorities to develop and implement local energy plans, in which the first priority would be insulation and energy conservation.
_ retrofit all existing coal-fired power stations with flue gas desulfurization equipment.
_ commit the UK to a reduction in sulphur emissions of at least 3_% by 1993, and to an eventual reduction of at least 75%.
take measures to alleviate fuel
poverty and prevent deaths from hypothermia.
_ encourage the further development of combined heat and power schemes such as the recently completed Birmingham station.
_ create a Central Energy Authority to replace existing Energy Authorities, thus doing away with wasteful competition.
_ introduce an Energy Tax to complement our Natural Resources Taxes.
_ introduce new Energy Efficiency Standards for domestic electrical equipment.
_ develop non-polluting energy generation from the burning of non-recyclable waste.
We would use research funds for the development of renewable and sustainable energy sources, using money which has until now been almost exclusively spent on nuclear research, and we would take careful note of the experience of other countries such as Norway, where renewable energy research and development is currently ahead of that in Britain.
The Green Party believes that everyone should have access to the transport facilities they need, though this must be considered alongside the needs of the environment, the long-term resource future, and the impact of transport on other people. In particular our over-dependence on private motor cars exacts a high price: 5,000 deaths and 70,000 serious injuries a year, toxic pollution, noise, over-reliance on oil, and heavy demands on land and raw materials.
In order to find a sustainable balance, we need to reduce travel needs, especially journeys to work, by encouraging more integrated communities. We also need to reduce our reliance on private motor cars, seeking collective solutions and alternative forms of transport.. Green Party transport policies include:
_ support for local authority initiatives which combine public transport and special needs, such as the needs of people with disabilities.
_ the extension of post bus services in rural areas.
_ reform of the vehicle licensing system to encourage public transport, the replacement of Road Tax by an increased Fuel Tax, and the phasing out of tax relief on company cars.
_ a ban on the building of town-center car parks, and an emphasis on the needs of walkers, cyclists, and small-scale flexible transport systems such as 'dial-a-ride' schemes and minibuses.
_ the investigation of the role of waterways in freight transport, and support for pilot schemes to regenerate waterborne transport.
_ the scrapping of plans for the Channel Tunnel, an end to new airport building and expansion, and a progressive reduction in permitted lorry sizes.
_ an emphasis on railways and other more ecological methods of transport rather than on road-building, including an increased investment in British Rail.
_ the expansion of the Freightliner network, the improvement of rail links to existing industries, an(i the improvement of railhead to customer delivery services.
_ the provision of better rail services on local and cross-country routes.
_ the requirement for British Rail to reinstate passenger services on many disused and freight-only lines, and to provide facilities for carrying bicycles on all passenger services.
POLLUTION WASTE AND RECYCLING
Much pollution is created by the throwing away of potentially valuable materials. In a year, the average family throws away six trees worth of paper and 112 lb of metal. Our policies on resources (see page 17) would reduce this waste by encouraging re-use and recycling. We would also introduce a wide range of specific anti-pollution measures, including:
_ the control of chemical fertilizers (see 'Agriculture', page 21), thus bringing down levels of nitrates in drinking water supplies.
_ the phasing out of lead in petrol and the introduction of strict new exhaust emission standards for motor vehicles.
_ a ban on the open incineration of hazardous chemicals at sea.
_ the strict control an(i monitoring of domestic and commercial incinerators.
_ a ban on agricultural straw burning.
_ the immediate removal from the market of dangerous pesticides, and a ban on the export of suspected pesticides and agrochemicals.
_ the introduction of a Control of Pesticides Act to replace the Food and Environmental Protection A(_lt, with strong powers and stiff penalties.
_ the rapid reduction of sulphur and other emissions from power stations (see 'Energy', page 18).
_ the rigorous enforcement of existing pollution legislation, with stiff penalties for persistent offenders, and a strict licensing and penalty system.
LAND AND PLANNING
Land is not simply an economic asset, and all Green Party policies reflect the fact that land is a vital and irreplaceable natural resource, to be treated with care and respect (see also the section on Community Ground Rent, page 6).
Our planning policies ensure that, ecological criteria are given full weight in all planning decisions. We would also safeguard the rights of local communities and other objectors against powerful vested interests. In particular we would:
_ encourage the submission of Environmental Impact Assessments at all public enquiries, and require developers to prove that a development will
_ benefit the community and the environment, rather than proving that it will not do unnecessary harm, as at present.
_ provide both objectors and applicants with a right of appeal against planning decisions.
_ ensure that funding is available to objectors when they are playing an important role, as at the recent Sizewell 'B' nuclear reactor enquiry.
_ impose stricter planning controls on agriculture, forestry and public utilities.
_ introduce much greater public participation into the planning process.
The current housing crisis is the 6 result of past and 'present government's lack of concern for human needs.and the environment. The Green Party would invest more money in housing through local authorities, housing associations and housing cooperatives, improve housing management, improve homes to make them more energy-efficient and comfortable, and ensure that, everybody has somewhere to live.
IMPROVING THEHOUSING STOCK AND MEETING DEMAND
The Green Party would devolve the 7 decision about council tenants' ,right to buy' to local government, and would allow local authorities to use all the income generated by such sales to be used for the improvement of the housing stock, preferably by the improvement of existing houses rather than by new building. We would introduce a variety of measures to deal with the housing crisis, including:
_ the provision of more rented property through community-based housing associations and cooperatives.
_ the promotion of self-build schemes.
_ the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief within ten years in line with the introduction of the Basic
Income Scheme and its related housing benefit,
_ the implementation of a comprehensive insulation program (see 'Energy, _page 18).
_ the establishment of new criteria to define energy efficiency and space requirements in houses.
_ the abolition of the power of local authorities to sell housing estates in need of major repair to private landlords, yet leaving them free to sell to housing associations and cooperatives if this is appropriate.
_ the removal of VAT from repair work, and its imposition on greenfield building.
_ the confining of urban building to vacant or infill sites, and of rural building to settlement fringes or poor quality land.
We believe that decentralization and a declining population will gradually reduce the pressure on housing, especially in urban areas, and allow local authorities to plan their housing finance on rolling programs of specified duration in order to promote greater efficiency in housing management.
LEGAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Green Party supports the existing security of tenure legislation, and would extend it to cover housing cooperatives and caravan and boat dwellers. We would also:
_ uphold the right of everyone to a home which reaches a basic standard of space and comfort.
_ make it a duty of all local authorities to provide comprehensive Housing Advice Centers.
_ abolish existing Board and Lodging Regulations and replace them with an acknowledgement of the right of anyone in lodgings to a realistic level of benefit.
_ accord full rights to travellers, and replace the 1968 Caravan Sites Act with a requirement that all local authorities provide adequate sites for
_ travellers and caravan dwellers; trespass would be decriminalized.
_ provide freedom of access to the Land Register.
_ introduce a right of appeal against_ Housing Benefit decisions.
_ simplify the existing Right to Repair scheme.
AGRI CULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
The Green Party would promote greater local and national self-reliance in food and timber; encourage the production of healthy food free from dangerous and unnecessary chemicals and additives; enhance the vitality of the countryside; and revitalize the rural economy.
The Common Markets Agricultural Policy (CAP) encourages increased farm production at almost any cost, regardless of customer demand, cruelty to livestock, the problems for small farms and the effect on the rural community. Intensive farming techniques mean impoverished soil, chemical-laden crops and drugged animals, and ignore the effects of unhealthy food production methods on both domestic and international economies.
The Green Party believes that Britain must leave the Common Market and abandon the ludicrous pricing systems of the CAP. Our. long-term strategy for agriculture would:
_ preserve genetic variety by scrapping seed patent rights and encouraging the use of local crop varieties and rare livestock breeds.
_ re-establish an independent, comprehensive and continuous soil survey of Britain to monitor the health of the soil and give advice about soil and soil erosion.
_ introduce mandatory and strictly enforced Animal Welfare Codes to protect animals against the cruel
excesses of factory farming, such as dry stalls for pregnant sows, battery hen cages, the live export of farm animals, veal calf crates, and fur-farming.
_ encourage extensive rather than intensive methods of farming.
_ promote organic farming to provide food which is healthy both for the land and the consumer, introducing grants for conversion to organic farming, endorsing the organic food standard agreed by the Soil Association, and funding major research in organic farming.
_compensate organic farmers against the spray-drift of agricultural chemicals.
_ provide support for farmers against price and harvest fluctuations in the form of the Basic Income Scheme plus specific financial support for smaller farms and less-favored areas.
_ limit the amount of land in any agricultural holding, based on its productive value rather than its area.
_ reform agricultural trade with poor countries, reducing imports of cash crops from poor countries (thus allowing them to grow much-needed subsistence crops instead) and using aid and trade to encourage locally-based, self-reliant agriculture.
_ explore ways to help poor countries to establish organic agricultural schemes.
_ develop alternatives to fossil-fuel based fertilizers by funding research into and schemes for the recycling of compostable materials, minimizing nutrient loss in the agricultural cycle, and drastically limiting the use of nitrogen fertilizers, thus improving the long-term health of the soil and reducing levels of watercourse pollution to a minimum.
_ establish an independent watchdog body to monitor food additives, with the aim of reducing such additives to an absolute minimum.
_ ban the irradiation of foodstuffs except for special dietary needs.
_ foster an awareness of the links between food and health through
educational programs, and monitor the quality of meals provided in institutions.
_ encourage the creation of self-reliant rural communities which reap the benefits of local economic activities (see also 'Taxation', 'Work' and 'Decentralization', pages 5, 3 and 16).
_ encourage through statutory bodies the wise use and care of the countryside, ensuring that food production is compatible with the long-term well being of the environment.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that as well as being uneconomic, current forestry policy is damaging landscape and wildlife and increasing rural unemployment. The Green Party would introduce forestry policies which would establish, restore and maintain trees and woods as. an important component of a balanced and lived-in countryside. Our policies for forestry would:
_ introduce planning controls for afforestation proposals.
_ provide annual grants to encourage appropriate mixed planting throughout woodland estates, using indigenous species where possible.
_ scrap existing tax concessions to the forestry industry.
_ encourage new planting schemes which are integral to farm management plans.
_ give local authorities and the Forestry Commission powers to coordinate woodland grants and advice.
_ encourage the development of community woodlands and markets for local woodland produce.
_ make it a duty of the Forestry Commission to further the conservation of woodland ecosystems and protect important features of land in its trust.
_ introduce a mandatory Code of Conduct which would limit the import of tropical hardwoods to quotas based on the sustainable yield of tropical
forests, thus reducing the pressure on this vital global resource and the people who live in it.
The Green Party's fisheries policy recognizes the complexity of the marine environment, and acknowledges the importance of the harvest of the sea to the island population of Britain. Our policies for fisheries would:
_ increase funds for monitoring and researching marine populations to ensure that catch levels are correctly set and adjusted.
_ ensure that we harvest only a sustainable crop, by introducing locally appropriate and properly enforced controls on catches, net type, and boat size and equipment.
_ provide for the establishment and management of marine nature reserves.
_ provide incentives for clean forms of aquaculture such as shellfish rearing, and controls on inefficient and polluting forms.
The Green Party has always deplored the exploitation of animals by human beings. Our specific policies to protect the rights of animals would:
_ make animal welfare and the protection of endangered species the responsibility of a Minister of cabinet rank, who would work closely with national and international organizations.
_ tighten up the issue of licenses and inspection of facilities for animal experimentation, with a public right of access to all information, and no Crown immunity.
_ phase out vivisection within the first term of government, banning immediately all commercial experiments, including tobacco, alcohol and military research, LD5 and Draize testing. Alternatives to medical vivisection would be promoted.
_ protect farm animals from cruel methods of intensive rearing (see 'Agriculture', page 21).
_ ban the use of products from endangered species, and tighten up laws on the trade in these species.
_ protect wildlife habitats.
_ ban blood sports and the use of animals in circuses.
_ ban trade in furs.
_ ban lead fishing weights.
_ encourage a healthier, more compassionate society by exploring alternatives to animal products, including vegetarian and vegan diets.
Humans are part of intricate biological webs, and depend upon a healthy environment for survival. All of our activities have implications for other species, which in turn alter the functioning of our life-support system. We are only beginning to understand the magnitude and irreversibility of many of these activities.
The conservation of the rich variety of our countryside is of the utmost importance, yet under the present system of planning controls and countryside policies the countryside is constantly under threat from forestry, mining and waste disposal, road developments, harmful chemicals, urban sprawl and badly-planned leisure facilities.
We believe that present methods of countryside protection are failing in their main aim. The whole countryside is sensitive and needs to be protected, particularly those areas under the greatest threat. Green party policies to protect the countryside would:
_ introduce new legislation to prevent the rising rate of landscape and wildlife habitat loss.
_ make it a duty of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department for Agriculture and Fisheries in Scotland to include conservation as a primary objective.
_ ensure that land which is wisely managed is subject to lower Community Ground Rent.
_ merge the Countryside Commission and the Nature Conservancy Council into a single conservation body.
_ encourage landscape and wildlife conservation in urban areas.
_ give the public right of access to all common land in England and Wales as they have in Scotland, give local authorities the power to prosecute anyone who illegally encroaches upon common land, and remove the inconsistencies and loopholes in the 1965 Commons Registration Act.
_ strengthen controls over the ploughing up of paths and bridleways.
_ expand the Countryside Code to clarify the rights and responsibilities of everyone who uses the countryside.
_ make it a duty of local authorities to prepare 'Access to the Countryside' maps of their area.
_ make planning enquiries more democratic (see 'Land and Planning', page 19).
_ retain Green Belts, and vigorously oppose damaging developments in them.
_ tighten up and extend legislation to protect species habitats.
We believe that if Green policies are implemented, changes in agricultural practices and an increasing awareness of the importance of the countryside will gradually reduce the pressure on all rural land from harmful developments. The designation of National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Nature Reserves and so on often seems to constitute a license to batter those parts of the countryside not so designated. The introduction of farm management plans, the strengthening of structure plans, and the protection of individual sites should gradually extend appropriate protection to the whole countryside, making it less important whether or not an area is specifically protected.
Industrialized nations, the UK amongst them, face many challenges. These challenges are often approached in a spirit of narrow nationalism, but since they are challenges to our common survival, they can only be met effectively by common and cooperative responses.
Green Party foreign policy has several important aims:
_ to end the arms race
_ to develop new trade relations which provide employment for all who want it while easing the pressure on dwindling raw materials and fiercely contested export markets.
_ to build just and equal relations with Third World countries.
_ to end famine and hunger.
Our present membership of NATO and the Common Market locks us into a confrontative view of the world, dominated by narrow self-interest. The Green Party would take Britain out of these organizations, not in any 'Little Britain' spirit, but in order to build a wider network of friendship and cooperation, with the goal of breaking down the barriers between east and west, north and south to create one world -,a world of peace and justice. It is an old dream, but it is also a new need. Otherwise we may not survive at all.
FOREIGN POLICY: ACTIVE NEUTRALITY
The Green Party would take Britain out of NATO, in line with our non-nuclear defence policy (see page 25) and our long-term objectives of de-alignment and neutrality. We will make it clear that our policy is not motivated by anti-Americanism or any desire to join the Soviet bloc, but by our desire to become part of a 'Europe beyond the blocs'.
We would seek the broadest possible diplomatic ties and friendly relations with other countries, seeking an active role in international aid and humanitarian activities. We would work to strengthen the United Nations, and participate in the development of a more effective UN peacekeeping presence, trained in - non-violent methods.
We are opposed to UK membership of the Common Market as it is presently constituted, and would seek to replace the Treaty of Rome with a new treaty to establish a loose federation of European nations, east as well as west, respecting natural, cultural and ethnic distinctions, and pursuing ecologically sound development.
The Green Party supports the establishment of Antarctica as a 'World Reserve', allowing no exploitation of natural resources. Any research there would have to be directed towards a greater understanding of the continent's environment and ecology.
DEFENCE AND DISARMAMENT
The Green Party would pursue immediate and unconditional British nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament is a moral imperative an_ the only way to secure any guarantees future for life on Earth. It is also an important political initiative, encouraging governments and movements everywhere who are seeking peace and disarmament.
We would renounce the deployments and use of nuclear weapons by any British forces, and ban the deployment of nuclear weapons by any foreign country in Britain or its overseas dependencies. This is required in the name of security; in the nuclear age, no defence policy can guarantee safety, but a policy that makes the UK a prime nuclear target and does nothing to promote genuine disarmament is quite unacceptable. A similar ban would apply to chemical and biological weapons. No further research would take place into nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and nuclear powered submarines would be withdrawn from service.
The UK government would cease to participate in the US 'Strategic Defence Initiative' ('Star Wars'), and would discourage the involvement of British industry and research institutes.
We would mount an international information campaign explaining our non-nuclear policy, and press for reciprocal measures of disarmament. We would work for the worldwide cessation of nuclear weapons testing, development and deployment, using existing and new international treaties.
The Green Party does not see the removal of the nuclear threat as an excuse to build up conventional forces. We would develop a policy of non-violent territorial and social defence. As part of this policy, we would:
_ reduce defence spending to the minimum necessary for effective territorial and social defence.
_ work with defence industries and workers to produce plans for the production of socially-useful products.
_ ban arms exports, and disband the Defence Sales Organization.
_ introduce the right of individuals to stipulate whether the 'defence' portion of their taxes should be used for military expenditure or for the financing of peace initiatives.
_ develop a comprehensive strategy of locally-based, non-violent civilian resistance. Education would be provided in tactics of civil disobedience, and community defence would be encouraged by increasing self-reliance and economic security.
_ seek reciprocal international initiatives in conventional as well as nuclear disarmament, with the ultimate goal of general and complete disarmament, to which all members of the United Nations are committed.
AID AND TRADE
The response to initiatives like Band Aid has shown that there is concern in Britain about the plight of the world's poor and starving. Yet in fact we give very little to the Third World. Total British aid is currently just over 0.3% of Gross National Product, compared with nearly 06% in 1979. Worst of all, there is a net inflow of capital from the Third World to Britain. For every £1 we give, around £2 is returned in payment for goods (including military hardware) and repayment of debts. The poor of the world are subsidizing us.
The Green Party wants to see a new international economic order based largely on self-reliant local and regional economies, both in Britain and in other parts of the world. We want to see competition replaced with cooperation, bringing long-term security and sustainability. In such an order, a more self-reliant UK would not only enjoy greater security, but would also be able to bring moral judgements into its trading relations, allowing us to end our support for countries operating oppressive racial or human rights policies.
The situation in South Africa requires urgent action, and the Green Party would impose immediate and full sanctions on trade with apartheid South Africa and Namibia. It would be a condition of any government contract that the contractor has no trading links with South Africa.
Other aspects of Green Party trade policy would be:
_ to encourage self-reliance and economic justice in all trade policies.
_ to minimize the use of non-renewable resources, and to ensure their fair global distribution.
_ to preserve the cultural advantages of trade, and foster links between cultures at all levels.
_ to support efforts to minimize environmental degradation, promote conservation, and develop sustainable,
ecologically-sound industrial and agricultural practices.
_ to favor the development of human-scale local economies, discourage the export of inappropriate technologies, and encourage the return of agricultural land from cash crops to subsistence agriculture.
Within this framework of greater self-reliance and disengagement from the world market, Green Party aid policy would aim to tackle the underlying environmental, political and economic causes of poverty and hunger. There will always be a place for disaster relief, but the focus -of aid must be on longer-term projects. Security lies in having the ability to grow your own food, not in waiting for a distant authority to send a lorry-load of flour.
To achieve these aims, the Green Party would:
_ increase aid to the UN minimum objective of _.7% of Gross National Product within five years.
_ cooperate with non-governmental organizations and local communities to ensure that aid goes where it is most needed.
_ encourage the local design and evaluation of projects, and discourage donors from proposing or implementing inappropriate or harmful aid programs or projects.
_ give particular support to projects promoting the natural, cultural and material heritage of poor communities; local food storage and water management schemes; local afforestation and conservation projects; and programs of literacy, basic education, and health and hygiene, involving every member of the local community.