Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Who to vote for part two, The Green Party

In yesterday's blog I explained, my dilemna of who to vote for. So I thought I would write about the process I went through emailing candidates. As I explained yesterday my party Mebyon Kernow is not contesting these European elections and has decided upon a policy of not endorsing another party. This is something I want to try to do here.But below are the questions I think are fundamental to Cornwall in the EU, not only providing some idea of where candidates stand, but something to hold them to account to if elected. The answers from the Green candidate Molly Scott Cato are at the bottom, provide your own comments and analysis if you want.

But first a quick word about the Green Party and their prospects, they currently don't have any MEPs in the South West but had a good election last time in 2009 finishing fourth behind the Conservatives in first, UKIP in second and the Lib Dems in third. So they beat Labour last time and the BNP, (as did Mebyon Kernow in Cornwall). According to recent opinion polls the Greens are doing very well and stand a very good chance of gaining one of the 5 seats. They are on 10% on voting intentions, 4 percentage points behind the Conservatives and 4 points above the once mighty Liberal Democrats. They don't need a great deal more votes to get in this time, which is why they are running one of the strongest campaigns in this election.

Interestingly I did the internet quiz I side with which matches your views over a series of questions with political parties and ended up most agreeing with the Green Party, why not try it for yourself? http://uk.isidewith.com/political-quiz Here's my results:



Without further ado, here are Molly's answers:

1. If elected as an MEP what would you most like to achieve in the next parliament?

I am an economist and expert on finance so my main focus would be getting a grip on the banks where the green group have already made considerable progress example introducing a Bankers Bonuses. I would also seek to create jobs in the South West through more local food and energy production. 

2. What is your party's goal in this term of the parliament?

So many goals as you will see on the website and in the manifesto if you catch that on the website once it's there. The priority is probably the Green New Deal to make the transition to more sustainable economy with many more jobs, that's stopping the TTIP secret trade deal and getting a global agreement on climate change in Paris next year. You also have various aims to do with making Europe more efficient and accountable and stopping corporate lobbying.

3. Is the European Union a force for good in Cornwall at the moment? Why or why not?

Cornwall is one of the areas that is obviously benefited most in the UK because it is eligible for convergence funding but I think the way the European Union works in the interests of corporations rather than small businesses has been damaging for the economy of Cornwall.

4. Could the EU be doing more for Cornwall?

Same answer really: we need more support for small businesses and resilient local economies and less emphasis on corporate globalisation.

5. If there is a referendum on the UK's place in the EU, would you campaign for or against UK membership?

We are strongly in favour of staying in the EU although we believe it needs significant reform but we think you should commit to something and reforming from within. Incidentally we support the call for a referendum now since so many people have not had a chance to vote on whether we should stay in.

6. Should Cornwall have a greater say in the EU, how might this be achieved?

We believe that society should be taken seriously so that power is exercised at the lowest appropriate level. In the case of Cornwall this means an assembly and powers should be devolved from the EU not just the Westminster but to the regions as well.

7. Do you think Cornish fishermen get a good deal from the Common Fisheries Policy? What aspects of the CFP would you defend and which would you change?

I met the Cornish Fisherman in Newlyn year ago and they were not particularly negative about the new CFP. If the fish disappear then the fishermen also disappear so conservation is in everybody's interest. Greens have long argued that local fisheries should be governed by the people who fish them and live nearby. The discard ban is a good thing that we need to learn to eat more variety of fish.
8. Do you think Cornish farmers get a good deal from the Common Agricultural Policy? What aspects of the CAP would you defend and which would you change?

At the moment too much money goes to large farmers because it is related to landholdings. You can find our report on here: http://southwest.greenparty.org.uk/policy/farming-policy.html

9. Have European Structural Funds (Objective 1, Convergence) been a success in Cornwall? how should future funding be allocated?

I have visited some really excellent projects and schemes paid for through EU money but generally I think the criteria should be changed so that they are more relevant to what local people want and protect environmental and social standards better.

10. The Cornish have recently been recognised as a national minority. Is this a good thing? How does this apply to an MEP?

Again I think we should move towards an EU where regions within nation-states are better represented. It is cheap for politicians to recognise ethnic identities but as Greens we would give real power to the people who live in Cornwall regardless of their ethnic origin.