27 Apr 2010

Caroline Lucas 'I respect my Labour opponent Nancy Platts'

All the other parties have trained their fire on the Greens in Brighton.

There can only be one reason for all this attention: they see the Greens as front-runners in the race and regard us as the party to beat - just like the bookies.

The Tory tactics are clear - to split the progressive vote and bustle unsatisfactorily through the middle.

They seem to be hoping that, if the Labour share rises at the expense of the Greens who are the favourites, the maths might just work for them.

Of course, this would be a disaster for the majority of people in Brighton who do not want to be represented by a Tory.

Yet it's interesting that Labour's campaign locally has largely escaped close scrutiny.

I respect my Labour opponent Nancy Platts.

As far as her personal campaigning goes (no comment on her wider team's tactics), she has been straightforward and kept to the issues.

However, despite this, one thing doesn't add up.

In Nancy's election leaflet, she starts by writing, ‘I am proud to be Labour'.

If that were the case, one might expect her to be proudly promoting the Labour Party's manifesto.

Yet Nancy has spent the vast majority of her campaign promoting issues that are not Labour Party policy at all.

So she says that she's against tuition fees (Green Party policy, not Labour Party policy).

Wants an end to school city academies (Green policy, not Labour).

Opposes cuts to university budgets (Green policy, not Labour).

Supports renationalisation of the railways (Green policy, not Labour).

Opposes replacement of Trident (Green policy, not Labour).

Wants to scrap ID cards (Green policy, not Labour).

Wants stronger trade union rights (Green policy, not Labour).

Opposes post office closures (Green policy, not Labour).

The list goes on.

Of course, not everyone agrees with everything in their Party's manifesto.

But there comes a time when the gap between the candidate's personal views and their Party's policies widens to the point where they must lose credibility.

Don't be fooled: if you vote Labour, you'll be voting to prop up the Labour Party as it is - NOT for Labour as Nancy would like it to be.

Look at those admirable Labour and ex-Labour MPs - Clare Short and Alan Simpson - who have struggled and failed to change Labour from within, ending up leaving the Party or leaving Parliament.

It's hard enough for MPs to fight against large party 'machines' at the best of times, let alone in the context of what looks likely to be a hung parliament.

The policies outlined above are all in the Green Party manifesto, and, if you trust me with your vote, I will fight for them wholeheartedly without any pressure to do otherwise.

Every indication shows that the Greens are best placed to beat the Tories in Brighton Pavilion.

Labour and LibDem voters should back us on this occasion.

And that's why I would urge those voters who want to support genuinely progressive views, and are desperate not to be represented by a Tory, to vote Green.

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