Dominic Raab is MP for Esher & Walton.
After their leader Natalie Bennett’s ‘brain fade’ radio interview, Green Party policy deserves a grilling at this week’s Spring Conference. Whilst some Conservatives are tempted to allow the Greens a free pass, because they take votes from Labour, it is dangerous to give succour to such a reckless agenda.
For a start, their flagship environmental policy would magnify the risk of power cuts. By opposing nuclear power and shale gas, just when the chances of blackouts have quadrupled, the Greens would turn their back on the only long-term sources of relatively clean and affordable energy capable of meeting Britain’s demands. Add in their new environmental efficiency regulations for homeowners, and energy and housing bills would go through the roof – swelling the numbers living in fuel poverty, and hitting the poorest hardest.
If you think the Labour Party is anti-business, consider the impact on small businesses or mortgage holders of the Greens’ policy of banning banks from issuing all electronic credit. The Institute for Economic Affairs point out this would obliterate bank lending to the private sector. Or, take the Greens’ policy of the state assuming ‘golden shares’ in companies, for their ‘redirection towards more socially useful and environmentally friendly goals’. Such draconian expropriation of businesses would have made Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez look like a Thatcherite.
When it comes to the cost of living, the Greens would compound the costs of EU farm subsidies, by regulating ‘fair prices’ for farmers – a sure-fire way to hike the average family’s food bill. Ending Right to Buy and new restrictions on house-building would choke the supply of affordable homes. Developers would face bizarre environmental diktats like the Greens’ pledge to ensure new builds offer an accommodating habitat to ‘lichens, birds and bats’.
Next, social security benefits would be replaced by a Citizens’ Income, of £72 per week, unrelated to need, means or willingness to work. Far from supporting the most vulnerable, the Greens’ own expert advisers say the policy would make 20 per cent of the poorest households worse off.
Meanwhile, just as public support has surged for new Conservative plans for safeguards to protect the country from strike action by militant union bosses, the Greens promise more green strikes and sit ins – and would siphon off more taxpayers’ money to fund the unions.
Instead of acknowledging working class concern about immigration, the Greens scold ‘richer regions and communities’ for using immigration as an excuse to ‘protect their privileges from others’. Official Green policy is to offer an amnesty to illegal immigrants living here for 5 years or longer, and ‘progressively reduce UK immigration controls’ – except, of course, for non-native plants ‘that may have a negative impact on wild plant populations and communities in the UK’.
Finally, faced with Putin’s sabre-rattling on the borders of Europe and Islamist terrorism challenging our domestic and international security, the Green Party reassuringly offer to pull Britain out of NATO and scrap the UK’s ‘commitment to a large standing army’. Not only would this end our permanent seat on the UN Security Council and terminate our military alliance with the United States, it would inevitably pull British troops out of vital humanitarian UN peacekeeping missions in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We would be a security free-rider in a perilous world – and a heartless one at that.
Pundits may be tickled by their eccentric policies of legalising brothels and regulating raves, but the Greens could take seats and conceivably Ministerial office after the next election. The party may threaten Labour most. But, that wouldn’t stop them forming a Red-Green alliance that draws from the most economically and socially irresponsible agenda presented by any UK party for a generation. The British people need to understand precisely what the Greens stand for.