After previously being an active Labour party member, and even holding elected office as a Labour councillor, I will be voting for the Green Party on May 22nd.
I actually cancelled my Labour Party membership a number of years ago, after Tony Blair sent troops into Iraq. However, despite becoming increasingly dismayed by the direction New Labour was taking, I continued to vote Labour in elections.
Then in 2004 my dismay with the government turned to anger, and as a private protest I voted for the Green party in the European elections. To be honest, at the time I didn’t know a great deal about Green policies, but just enough to feel safe protesting in this way.
After that I went back to voting Labour in local and general elections. However, my interest in an alternative to the Labour party had been roused, and so I started to follow the Green party’s electoral fortunes. My next chance to vote Green was at the 2009 Euro elections which I still did, partly as a protest, but also because I found common cause with their policies.
In the 2010 general election there was no Green candidate in my constituency, and I was bracing myself for the expected Tory victory. For fun though I did one of those online tests of the party manifestos to see which party most matched my own views. To my surprise I came out as Green on every issue except one. After that I started to take things much more seriously, undertaking to look further into green politics.
Which is exactly what I did…
Today, the progressive policies of the Green Party, such as making the minimum wage a living wage, nationalising the railways, bringing schools back under democratic control, improving workers rights, investment in green jobs, regulating the banks and introducing a Robin Hood tax, set it well apart from the Labour party. So instead of voting Labour because they are a better alternative than the Tories (or those contemptuous Liberal Democrats) I can now vote Green because I support something worthwhile.