In a significant break from the pro-austerity consensus of the three main parties, the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru came together today to declare their opposition to austerity.
Leader of the Green Party in England and Wales Natalie Bennett, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood today stated that all three parties will unite whenever possible to battle the Westminster parties’ obsession with austerity.
During a meeting at Westminster the three party leaders said that with no end yet in sight to the failed austerity agenda of the Westminster parties, the General Election next May is an opportunity to change UK politics for the better.
Natalie Bennett said:
I am delighted to have the chance to catch up with two other female leaders of anti-austerity parties in the UK. Together, we represent, with the Scottish Green Party, a new way of doing politics, a move away from the business-as-usual model of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems that no longer represents public opinion.First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said:
We are the voice of real change - a voice that must be represented in the leader debates next year.
The ‘Green surge’ that has seen membership in England and Wales more than double, and Scottish
Green Party membership nearly quadruple in 2014 is a sign of the shifting political landscape.
Collectively the Green parties will be standing in more than 75% of seats in the UK, reflecting the advance of our political philosophy that rejects austerity and believes that everyone should have access to the resources for a decent quality of life, with certainty, without fear, while we all live collectively within the limits of our one planet.
And in thinking about future financial stability, we have to focus on the reason for our current difficulties, the near-collapse of our fraud-ridden, reckless, over-large financial sector.
Green MP Caroline Lucas is an outstanding MP as shown by the numerous awards she has received including the prestigious MP of the year for her work with disadvantaged communities. Electing more Greens next year will help to bring about a peaceful revolution in British politics, towards a government that works for the common good, not just for the few.
There is no end in sight to the Westminster cuts that are already hitting Scotland hard - the Autumn Statement earlier this month set out another £15bn of cuts that are coming our way. Not only will these cuts continue to hit hard-working families, women and the vulnerable hardest – they will also put growth and competitiveness at risk.Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
But despite the deeply damaging impacts of failed austerity, the Tories and Labour have made crystal clear their determination to carry on regardless.
And after four years propping up the Tories, the Lib Dems have no credibility. It is time for a new approach to UK politics - and for our parties to use our influence to bring about progressive change at Westminster.
Following the referendum in Scotland, the political landscape has changed utterly. The SNP is now the third biggest political party in the UK in terms of membership.
Last month we sent this message to the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 - to exclude the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru from general election TV debates would be to wilfully ignore this new political landscape. Put simply, it is just not on.
Electing a strong group of SNP MPs will ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster. Along with Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, we will work to do everything possible to tackle inequality and bring about sustainable economic growth.
Plaid Cymru and the SNP provide an alternative to Westminster’s promise of austerity and cuts to public services. As the only parties, together with the Greens, to reject the cuts consensus, it is unjustifiable and undemocratic to exclude our three parties from proposed leaders’ debates during the forthcoming UK elections. I reiterate my calls for Plaid Cymru’s inclusion in those debates in order to ensure the people can exercise their right to question and scrutinise all major parties.
The people of Wales face a real choice at the election. All three Westminster parties are committed to slash and burn economics. That means cuts for the sake of cuts rather than balancing the books by investment and spreading opportunities. It is likely that there will be another hung parliament after the election. In that scenario, Plaid Cymru could hold the balance of power alongside our colleagues in the SNP. Should that happen, Plaid Cymru will seek a rebalancing of power and wealth in the UK: transferring powers away from London to Wales so more of our fate is in our own hands; spreading investment away from the booming City of London to areas in most need of investment.
If the people of Wales return a strong contingent of Plaid Cymru MPs in May, then Wales will be best placed to secure an outcome to improve the prospects of our people and communities.