Green's Spring conference targets the banks and Labour


The Green Party is holding its Spring Conference in Nottingham this weekend. But its choice of location is no coincidence.

The campus venue at Nottingham University is home to some of the latest research in creating eco-friendly homes.

This political party's come a long way since it was formed at the Bridge pub at Napton, in Warwickshire, 40 years ago. Inspired by the growth of the green movement in Germany, the party went through early birth name change: People, then Ecology before settling on the Green Party.

Its leader is former Guardian journalist Natalie Bennett. Elected last autumn, her priority now is to spread the message that the Greens aren't a single issue political party.

Start Quote

Labour is staying so close to the Tories on policy terms, we have a huge opportunity to talk about our policies”

End Quote Natalie Bennett Leader, Green Party

The banks are in her sights for causing the global recession. The multinationals for not paying "a fair" tax. So is the Labour Party for taking Britain into the Iraq war.

"Because Labour is staying so close to the Tories on policy terms, we have a huge opportunity to talk about our policies, " she told me.

"Making the minimum wage a living wage, for example. We are wanting to renationalise the railways. That's popular with every audience I ever come across."

The Greens have two MEPs and in Caroline Lucus, a Westminster MP.

"Caroline has before Parliament a land value tax bill, " added Natalie Bennett.

"This would replace council tax and business rates with a far more equitable system.

"It would stop land banking and would ensure that local councils have the funding they need."

One of the party's councillors is Richard Mallender from Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire.

Before the conference started, he was shown some of the world-leading research at Nottingham University on creating energy efficient homes.

In a quiet cul-de-sac on the university campus, there are six experimental carbon-zero houses . They will shape future home design and help meet the 2016 deadline for Britain's carbon reduction targets.

"We developed these carbon zero homes from the design and development stage through to people living in them," said Professor Mark Gillott, of the University's School of Architecture and Built Environment.

"We feed that back to industry so when we get to 2016 and we build these homes on mass, we'll have learnt the lessons to smooth the way."

Start Quote

It's also about getting building regulations up to standard and the building industry working smarter with local councils”

End Quote Cllr Richard Mallender Rushcliffe Green Party

Mr Mallender is one of the Greens' 134 councillors in England and Wales. He believes local councils have a key role in delivering those targets.

"This is the standard of housing we need to see for the whole of the UK," he told me.

"It's also about getting building regulations up to standard and the building industry working smarter with local councils."

The Greens believe they are no longer a fringe party. Their message and policies from the Nottingham conference could set the tone for the party's next 40 years.

John Hess, Political editor, East Midlands Article written by John Hess John Hess Political editor, East Midlands

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  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    What sets the greens apart is that they are radical. The other parties just shove the same garbage up their bottoms and vomit it back out with a new, more fabulous, sparkly marketing campaign. Capitalism works, but Tory, Labour and Lib Dem politicians don't. The tax-payer currently funds a very lavish, old school, boy's club - and gets a crap ROI. :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Will Duckworth, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, was in a debate at Nott. uni; ridiculed by Lab., Lib-dems & Tories until the economists in the audience agreed with him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    The Green`s scariest policy is their desire for population control.
    We`ve seen how the most duplicitous people creep into the ranks of any political party that gets into power, and the Green`s think there are already too many people on the planet.
    So which people will be culled to reduce the population?
    Not the elite of the party, that`s for sure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    They are well intentioned people - but a bit too like the moonies in their thinking for me

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    The day that anyone in our country believes anything any Political Party the day we should stop thinking for ourselves.
    We let our Newspapers,our Media and our Politicians tell us who to vote for and what to think.....
    Wish they would let all of us make up our own minds...
    But ...for some reason...that idea is not a good idea.
    Do we really need to be told what to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I'm looking for am alternative Party to vote for, but are the Green Party it!!
    As a voter, I want lower energy costs, cheaper food, and an increase in wages. I'd like to retire at 60, I want to see criminals serve all of their sentence and I'd like to see Politions paid a max of £35,000 a year -with no expences.

    What have you got?

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Same as all party's policies; some good, others bad (for me).
    Why? Because the Government doesn't have the cash to fund all the good initiatives to produce the perfect set,

    thats a neo-liberal interpretation of the economy which the (more economically literate members of the) Greens would not accept as a valid description of how the economy works.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    It is interesting to see the Green party always in the vanguard of support for the Palestinians and other middle east causes. Hey, why don't the campaign on sensible green issues?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    THe green party is the largest non neo-liberal party in the UK, its more anti-EU than UKIP (but believes the EU should be changed into something fundamentally different from within). It believes in small weak central government with strong local government. It has generally been very poor at promoting its policies, it claims this is due to lack of funding compared to the likes of UKIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Same as all party's policies; some good, others bad (for me).

    Why? Because the Government doesn't have the cash to fund all the good initiatives to produce the perfect set, so all the parties have selected different goodies from the 'nice-idea' policy pot.

    Therefore which group of 'nice-idea' policies you support literally depends on your current financial status.

    For me; that is Conservative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    "Everybody should read the Green Party's manifesto if you think they're all about the environment"

    I did. They're essentially a state socialist far-left party with a bit of envionmentalism thrown in (and some sensible but unpopular views on population control). If that's your bag, go ahead and vote for them, I certainly won't be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I like most of the Green Party's policies - hope they decide to put up a candidate in Crewe & Nantwich next election!

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Well intentioned but sadly pretty irrelevant. They seem unable to counter the continued lobbying and lies banded around about windfarms by the nuclear industry. Also the public are coming more and more behind nuclear power.

    I'm not sure whether they know what they are doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    I don't understand the people who say they would vote Green, but won't because they won't win. Cameron and Milliband won't know your reasons: they will simply assume a vote for them counts as your support. And it's this delusion that the country supports them that has sent both parties off the rails. But losing votes to the Greens would make both parties realise they need different policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    The Greens are a rebranded communist party for the middle classes

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    The Labour Party, Lib Dems and Tories ridiculed the Greens at the Nottingham University debate, but then economists in the audience stood up and actually argued the Greens case!
    Everybody should read the Green Party's manifesto if you think they're all about the environment. They provide the ONLY way out of this recession - not the Lab/Con way that constantly fails.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Some worthy ideas on energy, but what about immigration, jobs, inflation, law and order, the NHS? Not a viable alternative despite the rubbish they are up against.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    2.John Campbell - "....................If the Public do not matter....Why should you?"

    Speaking of which I notice at an Eastleigh press confference this week Slasher Cameron claimed that the most important thing about it was the candidates.....

    ....silly us for thinking the most important people in an election were the voters......

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Did you all turn up driving the Prious i wonder to confrerence, probably not since the Prious is the most unfriendly enviro car ever made. Have you all stabled your horses properly? Are you all enjoying locally reared and grown produce for your conference breakfast this morning or are you enjoying imported food brought in by gas guzzling ships??

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    It was John Major that first took the UK into Iraq in 1991, we have been involved ever since, but always under the control of the US. To blame Blair for a war that had been ongoing for 7/8 years is just nonsense.

    The Greens are idealists and have some good ideas, but a complete economic policy to bring the UK back from the brink of financial ruin, I don't think so.


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