Living in a Green world

Natalie Bennett

Natalie Bennett

I am not prone to nightmares but I come closest to suffering one after seeing Natalie Bennett, the leader of the UK Green Party, on TV. What sort of world would we find ourselves living in if UK electors were seized by a lemming-like madness and voted in a Green government?  I know it is not going to happen but I am trying to understand why any sane person would cast a vote for the Greens, given their insane policy manifesto.

Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas

I have seen the Greens at first hand.  Caroline Lucas was an Oxfordshire County Councillor for a single, four-year term from 1993 to 1997. She was certainly clever, well to the left and slightly mad in terms of her attitude to life and politics.  She was hugely brighter and better than the current leader of the UK Greens and quite why she stood down, I will never understand.

I also visited Brighton Council while I was Chairman of the SE Regional Assembly and met the Green leader of the council. This council has instituted the full panoply of anti-car, anti-private sector measures and they introduced a revolutionary method of allocating children to schools by drawing names out of a hat!  Few issues can be more important to most parents than securing a good education for their child and to relegate the process to a lottery must have been mind-numbing for those who care about their children’s future.

However, let us see what a majority Green government would inflict on the UK.

It goes without saying there would be an immediate return to tax, borrow and spend that would put any memory of Gordon Brown in the shade.

The Greens clearly hate the private sector and view the profit motive as inherently evil. Their 2015 manifesto promises to increase the minimum wage to £10 per hour by 2020. This would close community arts centres like the one I run in Banbury. I suspect it would close many small retailers and pubs that rely on the use of low cost casual labour. I suspect many people value the opportunity to work flexible hours for a low wage to supplement household income and to match childcare needs but the Greens would deny them this. As for the rural pub, I suspect this would be another Green casualty pretty soon except for those able to sustain themselves with a customer base that could walk or cycle to and from it. I will return to this theme.

The Greens clearly do not understand that only the private sector can generate tax revenues to pay for public sector services so they will drive out enterprise with a wealth tax.  They propose the creation of one million public sector jobs while implementing measures to destroy many private sector jobs.

They are paranoid about what they call the “privatisation” of the NHS and promise to drive out private sector involvement. If they could unravel the PPI schemes that have bedevilled the NHS and that were introduced both by Labour and Conservatives, they will be remarkably clever but I suspect this would be beyond their collective intellectual capacity. Equally, I don’t know what they plan to do about the GPs, most of whom are independent, private sector, profit making partnerships? I suspect they have not thought this one through, either!

On the environmental agenda, they will ban fracking and run down coal, oil and nuclear power plants! Let’s hope they subsidise candle manufacturing and plenty of warm pullovers and blankets because we are going to need them!

On education, the Greens will abolish university tuition fees although how this will be funded is not clear but we are in La-La land, after all. They will promote a return to the bog standard comprehensive that has so comprehensively dragged down standards and failed generations of British children who deserve better and are getting it through free schools and academies which the Greens will suffocate.

On housing, they plan to build acres of social housing but are unclear how they will finance this. They will tie up private sector landlords in myriads of rent controls and market restrictions that may well cause a flight out of property and reduce the size of the rented sector.

On transport, they will re-nationalise the rail industry. Can you remember the last public rail service? It was a joke. They will encourage walking and cycling. Ho, ho!  This works if you are fit and live in a town, close to work or the bus and train station. Elsewhere, it is a disaster if kid’s school is 5 miles east and work is 10 miles west. It is also a disaster in hilly areas which make cycling or walking exhausting. It also does not work if you need to get the week’s shopping home. You can’t balance a family’s shopping on a cross bar!

Mad, bad, impractical, unaffordable and economically illiterate but it gets worse!

The Greens will destroy our agricultural industry and our home-based food supply by introducing ever tighter animal welfare rules that will wipe out most of our UK livestock in time rather than improve their welfare!

They will also destroy our world class horse racing industry by banning the Grand National and, I suspect similar events that horses, riders and the majority of the public love.  They certainly won’t scrap the hunting ban and I suspect game shooting will also face the chop on grounds of elitism and cruelty!  This only leaves fishing and I suspect the Greens would have this in their sights ere long?

Thank goodness but I think the voting public has more sense. This year’s Grand National featured 19 million bets. Four million UK residents went fishing in the last two years. Half a million people follow the hunt.

Parties of the left will seek to grow their client base through the benefit system and through unlocking immigration from poorer countries. Those of us who value the work ethic, economic independence and personal pride have to oppose any measures that seek to grow dependency and a growth in a client base with their hands held out and a vote for economic madness and ultimate devastation.





About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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