Green Party

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The Green Party of England and Wales is the principal political party in England and Wales campaigning under the banner of environmental issues. Other parties use the name "Green Party" in other parts of the UK: the Scottish Green Party, and the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

The party's joint leaders are Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, elected in September 2016.

2017 General Election Manifesto

The 2017 Manifesto can be downloaded from: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee

FullFact manifesto launch factcheck: https://fullfact.org/event/2017/Jun/01

Carbon Brief manifesto comparison on climate & energy: https://www.carbonbrief.org/election-2017-what-minfestos-say-energy-climate-change

Open Rights Group manifesto highlights: https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/General_Election_2017_Party_Manifestos

BBC Manifesto Guide: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39955886

2015 General Election Manifesto

The 2015 Manifesto can be downloaded from: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html

The Conversation Manifesto Check: https://theconversation.com/uk/manifesto-check-2015#greens

Campaign for Science and Engineering analysis: http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?page_id=17185

The Royal Society on energy, environment, education, research, innovation: http://blogs.royalsociety.org/in-verba/tag/election2015/

The Carbon Brief on climate & energy: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/04/election-2015-what-the-manifestos-say-on-climate-and-energy/

Research Fortnight on research and innovation: https://www.researchprofessional.com/media/pdf/RF455_election_supplement.pdf

Understanding Animal Research viewpoint: http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/news…

British Humanist Association on humanist issues: https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Comparing-key-humanist-issues…

Open Rights Group on surveillance: https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2015/surveillance-in-the-general-election-manifestos

Ars Technica on digital policy and science policy

Stance on Skeptical Issues (pre-2015 manifesto)

The Green Party's Policies for a Sustainable Society (PSS) is determined at their Spring and Autumn conferences by a democratic poll of members. The PSS policies can be though of as overall guiding policies. The party also has a Record of Policy Statements (RoPS) which includes shorter-term positions, perhaps in reaction to recent events or to bills currently going through Parliament. Both of these types of party policy are available from http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/.

Because of the on-going revision of their policies all the stances highlighted below should be checked against their current policy.

Prior to elections the Party issues a manifesto which draws on their PSS. It is this manifesto that they state they are asking voters to endorse at the election.[1]

Response to Criticism

In February 2010, Green Blogger Jim Jepps wrote an article about 'an ongoing "re-evaluation" of Green Party policy around scientific evidence'[2][3].

In March 2011, Jim Jepps, party development co-ordinator, was interviewed on the Pod Delusion with regards to changes to the party's science policy.[4]

Alternative Medicine

Their current Health Policy can be read at http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/he.html. In particular (revised September 2014):

"H326 The safety and regulation of medicines will be controled by a single agency. This agency will ensure that medicines meet minimum safety standards, provide clear labelling of both ingredients and side-effects. The agency will cover existing synthetic medicines as well as those considered as natural or alternative medicines.
"HE327 We shall improve the protection provided under the law to users of medicines. Prescribed and over-the-counter medicines will be monitored more rigorously with regard to both efficacy and toxicity. Appropriate methods of assessment will be developed for both synthetic pharmaceuticals and natural medicines, involving practitioners expert in their respective uses [our emphasis, as this statement may allow, e.g. homeopaths to determine the methods used to assess homeopathy]. Assessment will not be dependent on commercial interest in production. (see AR407) All information gathered during the process of assessment and licensing shall be publicly available.
"…
"H331 The assessment of the effectiveness of treatments in relation to the cost of their provision is fundamental to the provision of high quality, cost effective healthcare. The Green Party would ensure that an independent healthcare treatment agency provides assurance on the effectiveness of treatments and recommendations for new treatments to the NHS.
"The effectiveness of treatments will be assessed by the agency using the best clinical evidence available. The agency will use independent panels of experts to assess treatments. The agency will assess the effectiveness of treatments across the entire health care spectrum, from synthetic pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures to public health interventions and complementary therapies.
"We recognize that the assessment of treatments is a lengthy and ongoing process that should be driven by clinical need rather than either political or commercial influence.
"The agency will produce recommendations that compare effectiveness against cost allowing the NHS to decide which treatments are required to meet the needs of the service within its budget.
"HE332 Whilst assessment of treatments must be evidence based, an holistic approach will generally be taken. This will take into account the range of factors in health and disease, wider benefits and health outcomes than addressing a single illness and a full assessment of side effects and risks to the patient and to society. Treatments that target the causes of ill-health will be favoured over treatments that simply target symptoms."

In January 2015, Skeptical Voter and others asked Green Party Health Spokesperson Jillian Creasy about her stance on alternative medicine on the NHS and specifically if policy meant the "homeopaths shld decide on homeopathy". Dr Creasy started with non-committal responses:

"NHS should provide treatments which are independently assessed and evidence based"[5]
"I believe in person centred health services, medicine (and care) is much more than big pharma"[6]

When asked to confirm is this would mean that homeopathy had no place in the NHS Dr Creasy replied:

"yes, homeopathy is no better than placebo and should not be funded on NHS, which is not to say placebo effect isn't useful"[7]

When asked to clarify what "person centred health services" meant she replied

"person centred health services means taking into account wishes and beliefs of patient - obvious but not as universal as you'd hope"[8]
"wishes and indeed needs of patients should always be considered - not targets and prices"[9]

Animal Experimentation

Prior to the 2010 general election it was Green Party policy[10] to "End all animal experiments, replacing them with more reliable non-animal alternatives". The party claimed that "Experiments on animals are unreliable as a guide to human biology. Different species react differently to drugs and toxic substances. Many drugs that cause damaging side-effects in people have passed animal tests. There are viable alternatives to animal testing including epidemiology, the use of cell cultures, human tissue and computer simulation."

The party were contacted in 2009 by pseudonymous skeptical blogger Gimpy asking for evidence to back up their claims[11]. Their initial response lead Gimpy to conclude of the Green Party that "They only use narrow and highly biased sources of information when formulating policy" and "They have no understanding of scientific research or medicine". However, there was confusion over who the Green Party's official spokesperson for animal rights was, and whether Gimpy was corresponding with the correct person.

Their current Animal Rights Policy can be read at http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ar.html. In particular (May 2014):

"AR413 In the UK, millions of animals are used each year in experiments which can cause great pain and suffering. There are significant differences between the physiology of animals and that of humans and the reliance on animal testing and experimentation increases the risks of adverse reactions and hampers progress. A large proportion of animals are used for non-medical testing and for duplicate research which could be avoided. There are now many techniques available for testing of chemicals, drugs and medical procedures and for researching disease that do not use animals. However, these alternatives are often not used and are not adequately funded or supported.
"AR414 The Green Party would ban all experimentation and research which harms animals, including harmful procedures used to obtain animal-derived materials. 'Harmful' is defined in this context as 'having the potential to cause pain, suffering, distress, lasting harm or death in animals, except where it is designed to benefit the individual animals concerned
"AR415 Government research funds will be transferred from animal tests to non-animal technologies, including epidemiology, computer models, micro-dosing, imaging, DNA chips, microfluidics chips and the use of human tissue. Much greater use will be made of epidemiological evidence and clinical data. Greens would also fund more research into prevention of disease, looking at diet, environment, family history and lifestyle."

Water Fluoridation

From their Health Policy http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/he.html (revised September 2014):

"HE355 The Green Party is opposed to the artificial mass fluoridation of drinking water which is being promoted by the Government. There is conflicting evidence on the benefits to dental health of this practice and major concerns on the cumulative negative wider health effects of total ingestion levels of fluoride. There are further concerns on the links with the chemical industry that supplies artificial fluoride and the compulsory nature of its addition to drinking water that denies consumers choice."

Organic Food

Organic farming is mentioned in several places in their Food and Agriculture Policy (revised September 2014). In particular:

"Children's Diets
"FA237 Fresh fruit will be provided every day. Vegetarian, vegan, religious and other dietary requirements will be catered for. Meals will use fresh, organic and local produce wherever possible. Schools will be required to provide enough time and space for children to eat their meals in a relaxed and healthy way. (See also AR404, ED190, HE322)"
"FA443 The Green Party will encourage community supported agriculture, including farm and community box schemes, local farmers' markets and other direct links between growers and local consumers. We will assist locally owned and controlled organic marketing cooperatives. (See also CY521)"
"FA613 Organic farming and growing are well-established in the UK, with reputable and recognised organisations, certification schemes and retail markets. Organic production aims for long-term sustainability and has a central role to play in the transformation towards sustainable agriculture and food security."
"FA631 We will support a rapid increase in the proportion of land designated as organic, including stockfree organic, by giving financial help and advice to farmers making the transition to organic, increasing subsidies for organic farming and by funding the maintenance and promotion of organic standards."
"FA633 The Green Party will impose a tax on the use of synthetic fertilisers. This tax would be progressively increased and the revenue used to support agricultural systems using alternative methods to retain soil fertility, such as organic farming and growing. We will press for such a tax to be applied across the EU."

Genetically Modified Organisms

See http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/fa.html sections FA710-FA723, and http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/st.html sections ST361-364.

Nuclear Power

Green Party Energy Policy http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ey.html, revised September 2014:

"EN261 We will cancel construction of new nuclear stations and nuclear power will not be eligible for government subsidy; the Green Party opposes all nuclear power generation and is particularly opposed to the construction of new nuclear power stations, electricity from which is likely to be significantly more expensive per unit supplied than other low-carbon energy sources, and too slow to deploy to meet our pressing energy needs. Cancellation will avoid the costs and dangers of nuclear energy and waste being passed on to future generations long after any benefits have been exhausted.
"EN262 Money earmarked for new nuclear plant research, development and construction will be reallocated to energy efficiency measures and renewable energy infrastructure, but sufficient funding for decommissioning redundant power stations, and for research into the safe storage or disposal of existing radioactive waste stockpiles will be retained."

Religion in Schools

From their Education Policy (revised March 2014):

"ED174 [W]e will abolish the requirement for a compulsory daily act of worship. Schools which choose to continue to hold acts of worship will provide an alternative activity for learners who choose not to take part. Pupils who do not participate in worship will not suffer any form of discrimination.
"ED175 Religious instruction, as distinct from religious education in understanding different religions may only take place outside of school curriculum time.
"ED176 No publicly-funded school shall be run by a religious organisation. Schools may teach about religions, comparing examples which originated in each continent, but are prohibited from delivering religious instruction in any form or encouraging adherence to any particular religious belief.
"…
"ED178 Opt-outs from equality and diversity legislation will not be allowed for faith schools and they will not be permitted to promote homophobia or transphobia on the grounds of religion."

References

  1. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/
  2. http://jimjay.blogspot.com/2010/02/green-party-conference-animals-science.html
  3. http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/02/23/the-greens-have-changed-their-approach-to-science/
  4. http://poddelusion.co.uk/blog/2011/03/11/episode-75-11th-march-2011/
  5. https://twitter.com/GreenJillian/status/556000741606031360
  6. https://twitter.com/GreenJillian/status/556439662668304384
  7. https://twitter.com/GreenJillian/status/556564283442884608
  8. https://twitter.com/GreenJillian/status/556563276579229697
  9. https://twitter.com/GreenJillian/status/556571069142687744
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20100429194827/http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/animal-protection.html
  11. http://gimpyblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/the-green-party-are-dangerously-wrong-on-animal-rights/

External Links