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No pact with UKIP

UKIP put out a press release suggesting we might like to unite with them, to tackle the Labour-Tory dominance of the district. Stroud News and Journal published this article but did not include everything said on the subject. Bellow is Molly Scott Cato’s full commentary, along with Chris Jockel’s comments and later additions to the debate from Gerald Hartley.

Molly Scott Cato said: “UKIP’s candidate seems to subscribe to the adage that ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend,’ but I have to tell her that Greens choose their friends with more care than that. As a party dedicated to tolerance we would never be able to work with a party that trades in the politics of fear. We are also waiting, along with the rest of the British people, to learn more about the policies that UKIP is proposing for the general election. Given the public attacks from UKIP members on the welfare state and on policies to address climate change, it is difficult to see that there is any policy overlap at all between our two parties.

Chris Jockel: “Up and down the country, the Greens are often the only party openly challenging UKIP’s xenophobic, far right libertarian policies, rather than pandering to them.

We share with UKIP a recognition of the failure of the current mainstream political parties to represent and engage ordinary people in our democracy but how Ms Stephens could possibly think we would even contemplate an electoral pact with a party that we are totally opposed to is beyond me.”

Gerald Hartley: “This exchange has failed to make the point that what all political party activists SHOULD want is that the electorate vote for the party they consider has the policies and track record they can believe in.

MP’s exploiting the previous expenses system or falling short of the standards we are entitled to expect are all points that it is reasonable for voters to take note of. UKIP’s MEPs also have a poor record for behaviour, attendance and loyalty to their own party.

Dare I say that Chris Warne has taken the journalists easy way out by calling it a two-horse race and dishing out left-right labels.

On the first point, party activists will tell the voters that ‘party X can’t win here’, because they are desperate to win. But it’s only true if enough voters accept that negative message. In local and EU elections, the Westminster parties often receive dramatically less support.

On the second point, there are clearly huge differences between Green Party and UKIP policies, for instance on energy. But do those policies lend themselves to a left-right categorisation? No, they don’t.

Greens include consideration of the plight of future generations in their policies and I don’t see any other party taking that seriously. So I would invite the electorate to challenge the policies and the candidates on the basis of long term sustainability as well as innovation to address the issues of the day. “