Some popular green themes, together with calls for a radical redistribution of wealth and power, were among the issues covered by the Green Party’s new co-leaders on the opening day of the party’s autumn conference.
It was shortly after 2.00pm that delegates were told Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley had been elected. Indeed, as results go it was pretty convincing, with their job-share ticket taking 86% of first preference votes on a high turnout. Even Jeremy Corbyn, who is expected to win the Labour leadership ballot with ease, will be hard pushed to secure such a high percentage. There was laughter on the conference floor when Jonathan Bartley said, “We stand more united as a party with two leaders than others are with one.”
And then came the serious business of addressing conference.
On a new political settlement Jonathan said that we need to pave the way for a radical new relationship between the regions and the centre, while Caroline spoke of democratising the economy, “with banks to serve the people” and with “corporation tax back under control”.
Jonathan also spoke of the need for “a radical redistribution of both wealth and power” saying that “modern capitalism has delivered excesses that are not just decisive, but morally unacceptable.”
Earlier Caroline said that the Brexit campaign leaders had lied about money for the NHS, about immigration and about giving back control, and that there should be a second referendum on the final Brexit deal. She also spelt out what Green politics means:
“Giving people real control, taking control of our democracy; taking control of our railways so they are owned by the public; taking control of the NHS and keeping it firmly out of private hands; and taking control of our energy systems, our banking system, our schools and communities.”
Caroline also called for a green industrial strategy that kept fossil fuels in the ground.
As expected, the co-leaders said they were committed to exploring the potential for a progressive alliance that will deliver a fair voting system. This issue is going to be considered elsewhere at conference; and has been covered in a number of blog articles, most recently by Molly Scott Cato on Left Foot Forwards.
Caroline ended a well received speech (full text here) saying the Green Party should “be the natural home for all those who want a fair, equal and Green Britain.”
The Green Party Conference is being held this weekend at Birmingham University.