In an apparent bid to make themselves completely unelectable, the Green Party revealed a new raft of “loony tunes” and “barmy” policy proposals at their annual conference this weekend. Their ambitions include extending human rights to animals, creating a ‘progressive’ lottery with no big winners, and in a move guaranteed to lose the vote of almost every young parent in the country, a tax on nappies.
Comparing the killing of sentient animals such as whales, apes and elephants to murder, Bennett told her party faithful that she wanted to usher in a “peaceful political revolution”. The party seeks a change to the law so that anyone guilty of killing or kidnapping an animal would be sent to jail.
They also hope to extent Article Five of the 1948 human rights act, which bans “inhuman” treatment of people, to all sentient animals including rodents, and would ban all forms of commercial horse and dog racing.
Killing a chimp or kidnapping a dolphin must lead to life sentences, demand some Greens. Don’t forget dogs say others pic.twitter.com/F8JCS2HK0H
— Ian Birrell (@ianbirrell) March 7, 2015
Other ambitions include increasing the aid budget to one percent of GDP (around £16 billion a year), and the creation of a fleet of hospital ships that can be dispatched to provide humanitarian aid worldwide.
On education, the party wants to set up a number of “forest schools”, where children can gain a “hand-on” appreciation of trees. But they are unlikely to win over parents with a “landfill” tax on the manufacture of nappies.
They would like to see a ban on global goods made in factories that do not conform to British health and safety standards. And in a bid to make the National Lottery more progressive, they want the jackpot split into smaller, more frequent wins.
Christopher Snowdon of the Institute for Economic Affairs took to twitter to brand the policies “barmy”, whilst the Telegraph’s Tim Stanley has called the party a “Looney Tunes alliance of druids and trots.”
“What kind of world would the world that the Greens saved look like?” Stanley asks. “A world run by Hard Left refugees from the Labour Party. A world in which there is no growth, endless energy shortages, crippling taxes, a free-for-all at the border and in which young people can escape the misery by getting high. Oh, and their official manifesto also says that they’ll also scrap the navy, army and air force and turn military bases into nature reserves. The Green policy on defence is to make Britain so bloody awful that no one would want to invade it.”
The policies were discussed as the party met in Liverpool this weekend for its annual conference. All policies backed by the majority of the party go forward to a an elected policy committee which decides what to put in the manifesto.
Members of the party complained that the media was drawing no distinction between firm policies and mere proposals. Tom Chance, the Green Party candidate for Lewisham West and Penge tweeted: “Journalists used to undemocratic parties can’t distinguish between “members’ proposal” and “adopted policy”.”
But his leader Natalie Bennett has found it hard even to defend concrete policies. Two weeks ago she was widely ridiculed when she was unable to explain, during an interview on LBC radio, how the party would fund the building of 500,000 new council homes, nor did she initially have a figure for how much it would cost
After a great deal of prevaricating, Bennett suggested the policy would cost £2.7 billion, to which her interviewer Nick Ferarri shot back “500,000 homes, £2.7billion? What are they made of, plywood?” The green leader then descended into a coughing fit.
This weekend she again came unstuck when quizzed by the BBC on the party’s policy to spend £9 billion providing free social care to all over 65s. When asked where in the UK the policy would apply, Bennett replied: “That would be in England”.
Ross Hawkins, the BBC’s political correspondent then asked: “Why would the Green Party of England and Wales exclude Wales?”, at which point Bennett backtracked, saying: “This would be this would be the pattern across England and Wales.”
She also indicated that the policy would be funded through a crackdown on tax avoidance, a financial transactions tax and higher personal taxes for those earning over £100,000 a year.
Journalist Ian Birrell has reported on Twitter: “When I asked Green Party press officer how they would fund some of their expensive new policies she replied: ‘There’s lots of money around.'”