Manifesto season shows signs of political climate change

Party Leader Steven Agnew reads between the lines of the manifestos in this recent Debate NI column, and detects a change in the air


Last week saw the launch of manifestos from a whole range of parties, including that of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. Whether you read them all or not, though, it was interesting to read between the lines.

For instance, it was interesting to see the Conservative Party suddenly claim to be the ‘party of working people’. Perhaps if you work in the City of London or on the board of a FTSE100 corporation. Not so much for those on minimum-wage, zero-hour contracts. And let’s not even think about those unable to find work – or the 900,000 people who had to resort to food banks last year.

But the attempt to side with the workers is significant, even if it is hard to believe.

Even the Conservatives have realised the political climate is changing.

The Labour Party seem to have suddenly realised this too, with their emphasis on working people – though they still seem determined to match Tory rhetoric on deficit reduction and budgetary responsibility.

But what about the deficit in the conditions of the vulnerable? The many pensioners who don’t happen to have amassed huge savings? Those with disabilities facing cuts to their services? What about ‘responsibility’ to those driven deeper into poverty by the cuts?

People are growing tired of parties who prioritise profit over democracy, consumption over the health of our environment.

Like our sister party in England and Wales, we’re calling for a nonviolent political revolution. We need to change the system that pushes rewards disproportionately to the top into one that ensures well-being is widespread.

The time has come for fundamental social and political change. In our manifesto we set out how we’re going to bring that about.

We’ll fight for investment, not austerity cuts, for our public services.

We demand equality as of right, whatever your gender, ethnicity, ability or disability, age, economic class, sexual orientation, or other status.

We stand for secure, living wage jobs, clean power and a healthy environment for a thriving, sustainable economy.

The Green Party in Northern Ireland stands for a society in which we all flourish together. Join us in taking a stand for the common good.

29 April 2014
(First published on Belfast Telegraph’s Debate NI web page, 20 April 2015)

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