Politics: where does the natural environment figure in party manifestos?

Well the European and local elections are over and done with, but I imagine that we are still going to be faced with endless dissection and hypothesising as the 2015 General Election looms ever clower on the horizon.

I like many conservation commentators struggle to see any real green policies at the heart of what the media label as the main parties, that is to say the Conservative or Labour parties.  Realistically, are the Liberal Democrats and UKIP serious contenders to form a government in 2015?  If there is no overall winner, then who will hold the balance of power and have the opportunity to form a coalition?  What will be the turnout and will the ‘victor’ claim a mandate to govern even if the majority stayed at home (through apathy or ‘none of the above’)?

Never mind Tony Juniper’s “What has nature ever done for us?”, who is going to write “What has politics ever done for the environment?” I could think of a couple of potential writers at the moment who I would be interested to read their perspectives and any case studies they were able to offer as effective or lasting benefits.

So, the British system favours the current two party farce where people probably don’t actually vote for a party rather the party which they think least damaging or they dislike the least? What can we do about it? Lobby our MPs, lobby government to make voting compulsory and offer the option “none of the above”.   If that were to be introduced then I suspect it would be very telling?

An interesting petition has recently been launched, it requests the three party leaders (David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband) to RECALL: PUT POWER IN VOTERS HANDS, it’s brave MPs who offer up their own removal from post, but is it?  They want their peers to judge, not us …. so how does that regain our trust?

Here’s what one Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith said:  “As an MP, I’ve seen how public pressure can force the government’s arm – and they’re particularly sensitive about public trust in MPs right now. A massive petition could give David Cameron and Nick Clegg no option but to go back to the drawing board – and produce recall with bite.”

The Telegraph runs with the story, and reports that a motion is to be tabled in the House of Commons next week but a letter signed by 10 MPs suggest that the draft falls far short of the publics expectation.  This letter is timed to co-incide with the fifth anniversary of the MPs expenses scandal, and of which we still hear rumblings as they continue to surface?

The 38 degree petition text is short and succinct: Dear David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.  It’s time for a real recall bill.  We call on you to support a recall bill that puts the power in voters hands, so that if, in between general elections, enough voters were dissatisfied enough with their MP to petition for a by-election, they could.  Read more here.

If we (conservation) could have a wish list for environmental policies, what would be on it?  What would be our priorities?

Whilst we mull over the construction of a wish list, or creating a series of questions to ask of politicians, readers might think about signing the Recall bill?  Look at what happened when we let the politicians regulate themselves after the expense scandal, surely we should learn from history – but do we?

 

 

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