COMMENT: GREEN: A Party For The Common Good29th April 2015
I’m obviously not here to tell you who to vote for. I’m not even going to try and persuade you into voting Green.
But I am going to share some important policies the Green party have to offer, and not only from an LGBTIQ stand point. Although, from a gay man’s perspective, The Green Party are standing up for our rights in many amazing ways.
“For The Common Good,” is their slogan, and it rings true throughout their manifesto. To me this simple statement is somewhat empowering. It doesn’t segregate between social class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability – it encompasses everyone together. They are treating us all as equal, as the United Kingdom we are.
Let us start with an important issue doing the rounds within the debates: immigration. Other parties are stabbing at this issue and the effect it is having on our government, on our own personal taxes. Yes, it is an issue but, in my opinion, it’s down to a flaw in how our benefit system operates, not the immigrants claiming them. I don’t begrudge foreigners seeking solace within our welcoming nation, I don’t want to condemn them to the life they were desperate to flee from. The Green Party agrees.
They propose a reworking of the benefits system by controlling immigration fairly and respecting every immigrant individually for the contribution they make to our nation. In terms of immigration from an LGBTIQ perspective, the party desperately want to end the detention of LGBTIQ (and other) asylum seekers and the notion of disbelief that often denies asylum seekers refugee status.
In regards to foreign and national civilians, they seek to double child benefits and raise a pension that people can live on realistically. In the long term, for the common good, the party aim to unite tax and benefit in a Basic Income system. This scheme will cover everyone, again respecting us all as equals.
The NHS is another huge playing field when it comes to the debating parties, and rightly so. It is an important offering the UK holds and requires a delicate yet stable approach to maintain it’s future. The Green Party wants to end the privatisation that has started to appear and provide it with the proper funding it deserves. They also want to introduce free social care to the elderly and aim to give more time, funding and effort into the tackling of mental health.
Other parties have ignored such medical issues, by cutting funding to the likes of the mental health services and certain out-reach programmes, which have had some cruel effects on our LGBTIQ community. Additionally the party want to end other NHS cuts, which have undermined HIV services and made it harder for trans people to access gender reassignment assistance. Plus, another bid in our favour concerns giving blood. They want to reduce the current 12-month deferral period and base each case specifically on the individual wanting to donate.
The Green Party stands to help us elsewhere, and all other equality issues. One amazing bullet point they are prompting calls for mandatory diversity and equality lessons in schools. This will step up to combat all forms of prejudice based bullying and teach important lessons of acceptance to children from primary school ages. They also propose a requirement for the police to employ diversity liaison officers whose main responsibility will cover a prevention action on crimes originating in discrimination of any kind. As well, they seek to tackle the topic of institutional racism within our current justice system.
In terms of women’s rights, they have suggested a UK wide strategy to tackle violence against women – concerning domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse and trafficking. This is alongside other women’s rights battles they want to challenge including equal pay for both sexes; a reworking of sexism in the media particularly with the likes of “lads mags” and their availability, plus making it illegal to stop nursing mothers feeding their babies in public spaces.
They strongly invite an end to stigma in the workplace towards any minority, from everything and everyone covering race to disability. This bracket stretches to the teaching profession where the party wants to introduce comprehensive training for all educational staff on diversity and inclusion issues. Elsewhere in the classroom the party propose the teaching of HIV, sex and relationship education with an inclusion of LGBTIQ relationships. Adding a requirement of every school to have an anti-bullying programme explicitly combating homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
I am not telling you to vote for The Green Party, but I invite you to read their manifesto, which offers relief to battles that do concern the LGBTIQ community. They want to take us forward and treat us with the equal rights we deserve. We are no different, we deserve our say, and The Green Party are a good ally. Please read their manifesto and decide for yourself, for the common good.
by Mark Goggin
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.