From Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, Leader, The Green Party
Harriet Harman (Times, 9.5.09) says the expenses row is creating "an anti-politics mood" amongst the public. But is it politics the public are against, or the behaviour of some self-serving Labour and Conservative politicians?
We shouldn't let her fudge the issue of exactly who it is that the public are angry at. And it's not about the the system, it's about the choices those MPs made to grab as much as they thought they'd get away with on a technicality.
Nor is it an excuse that we're not as bad as some other countries. Nor is there something inherently corrupting about politics - becoming an elected politician, entering a parliamentary expenses system, does not mean you'll automatically be infected with snout-in-trough disease.
But what is almost beyond belief is the way Ms Harman is using the supposed "anti-politics mood" to stir up fear of the BNP, for the sole purpose of frightening disillusioned Labour voters into voting Labour as a lesser evil. (Actually the best tactical vote in a regional list election is more likely to be a Green vote anyway, to ensure the Greens stay ahead of the BNP and deny them the final seat in the region.)
With an election in three weeks it's appalling that most of the talk is about apathy, cynicism and how anger at the government will feed far-right extremism. It really is time to look at the positive choices facing the electorate. Britain needs a new vision, and this week the Green Party will offer one as we launch our European election manifesto.
The elections of 4th June might yet signal a desire for positive change - a fairer economy, proper regulation of the banks, a real Green New Deal to create a million jobs to tackle the recession and the climate crisis. I think you'll find that voters looking for a progressive party in which to place their trust may well look to the Green Party when they cast their votes on June 4th.
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP
Leader, The Green Party
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