I’m not sure I appreciated what a marathon this was going to turn into when I started it. Yesterday’s horrid slog through the rhetoric of the SLP was distinctly unrewarding. I’m hoping for better things from today’s turn: The Welsh Green Party.
Very nicely done. The most engaging and interactive of all the sites I have visited thus far. They have links to all their social media outlets right on the front page. A quick trawl through their Youtube channel turns up one of the best descriptions of how the regional list proportional representation works that I have yet seen. Although I could have done without the “vote for us or the BNP get in” scaremongering. The air-raid sirens where, perhaps, a bit much.
Top of the Welsh list is Jake Griffiths. Who seems to write the news posts for the Welsh Greens news-blog-thing. So at least you can get an idea of how he feels about the issues, and more importantly; how he feels about Welsh issues.
So the greens score well on this front. Their candidates appear to be actual real-life people and they even engage in conversation with people (for example answering comments on their youtube channel).
Green Party policies seem to boil down a few major initiatives.
- Tackle climate change by increasing investments in wind and solar. And by simultaneously taking steps to reduce energy demand. For example they want to subsidise insulation for residential properties.
- A 20mph suburban speed limit to reduce accidents and allow residents to reclaim their streets.
- An increase in affordable housing.
Jake also has some specific things to say regarding Wales.
- He’s against the Severn Barrage.
- He’s against an M4 extension.
- He’s pro micro-generation and anti-nuclear.
I have to say that the Greens have done a good job in recent years making their policies distinctive from the main parties and yet bland enough that there is nothing really outrageous to object to. Fortunately for me the have a policy archive which reveals them to be just as wingnutty as ever.
My main objection to the Greens is their fanciful energy policy. While I agree with them that climate change is a real problem I disagree with their prescription for solving it. Solar and Wind are great in that they don’t produce any C02 but you need to put in somewhere above 40% backup to them for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Now the obvious step forward is to back them up with Nuclear which can provide reliable and CO2 free power, but the Greens are ideologically opposed to Nuclear. The policy document contains the following charming statement:
Green Party scientist Dr Busby has stated the nuclear industry has been responsible for over a million deaths worldwide.
Really, a million? Bear in mind that the WHO reckons that Chernobyl, the worlds worst Nuclear accident, killed around 50 people with epidemiologist projecting a total death toll of 4000. So I’m not sure how we get to one million.
The other strand of their energy policy is reducing demand both by mandating energy efficiency and by some more “inventive” strategies.
peak electricity demand when people switch on electric kettles and cookers at the end of a popular television programme. If there were to be a threat of power cuts because demand was already abnormally high during exceptionally severe winter weather, this could be averted by varying the times of transmission from the different regional broadcasting a caption asking people to switch off
unnecessary lights and appliances.
One should note that this is only an issue because the Greens don’t want to build enough power stations to actually meet the energy needs of the country.
This is doubly troubling because of something called The Jevons Paradox which states that increasing the efficiency with which a commodity is used tends to increase it’s usage. In other words Green Party policies are likely to increase energy consumption while doing little to reduce the CO2 production per unit energy on the supply side of things.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. A carbon tax is the most straight-forward way of approaching climate change.
While the Greens are undoubtedly a strong force in Europe they seem short on specifically European policies.
I’m going to give the Greens the benefit of the doubt. I suspect they are just scientifically illiterate rather than crazy.
Being a fan of liberal economics and Nuclear power it was very unlikely that I would find the Greens appealing. Although I have to give them props for their fine web presence and the fact the their local councillors and MEPs are reputed to be hard-working and honest.
We are fast approaching the end of this journey. Tomorrow’s instalment will be the Jury Team and I will mull over whether or not to do the BNP.