THE BLOG

Labour Isn't Green

05/12/2014 11:18 GMT | Updated 03/02/2015 10:59 GMT

A few recent articles in the press have been taking the art of politics into the realms of the surreal. Sadiq Khan even had the temerity to suggest recently that Labour was Green. He was right about one thing though. Most Labour supporters do have Green values, that why they are joining the Greens in their thousands.

Let's consider just what Wales would look like if Labour had indeed been Green for the last 15 years.

The NHS is a good place to start. Greens have joined up policies, so attracting more nurses and doctors would have begun in 1999. A Green government would have made sure the world knew what a wonderful country Wales is to live in. Tourism would have been reinvigorated as part of the overall economic strategy and the very nature of Green values would pull people to come and experience a genuinely sustainable country.

Greens would have made sure that nurses were properly valued and their pay always kept track with the cost of living. A deep and continuing programme of sickness prevention would go hand in hand with the promotion of healthy living. Cottage hospitals would be valued as the first point of care. Roads in Wales are not built for emergencies, so helicopter 'Flying Doctor' services would transport those in serious need to Technical Hospitals equipped with the most skilled personnel and apparatus. Of course PFI would never have happened. Private profit has no place in a Green NHS.

A National Care Service would link into the Green NHS. The old and vulnerable would be looked after on the same basis as the NHS - that is free at the point of delivery. Staff would be equally valued and trained.

Then there is the Welsh language. A Green government would protect it from the ravages of globalisation. Local sustainable communities would help ensure survival of the culture and language. Free higher education courses would promote the language. Under a Green government the language of Wales would thrive exponentially.

This brings us to that which was once the pride of Wales, education. After 15 years of Green government the education system in Wales would have changed dramatically. Gone would be large classes and age based learning. In would come the needs of the individual child. Wales would forge ahead in a system which promoted life-long learning where originality, creativity and confidence would prepare all pupils for a quickly changing world. No more would children be the product of a system which provided little more than short term marketable certificates to serve industries which are going out of fashion. Our eager-to-learn children would be properly enabled to fulfil their individual talents in a diverse world where change in the workplace would be embraced.

A Living Wage would have been in place 13 years ago, and a Citizens Income for all established in 2004. Greens would empower everyone to choose how they spend their time. To work hard or to look after the children; to work close to home or to wait for the job which most nearly matches their talents and aspirations. The welfare system would be morally and actually redundant.

A Green government would by now have made huge strides to free Wales from neo-liberal London centric decision making. We would have shaken our people into relentlessly demanding a fair deal for Wales so that the Barnett formula would have had to be revised before now. Greens would have prioritised renewable energy as a sound economic base from which to operate and prosper. We would have made devolution of energy a top priority the moment we took office in 1999, and cut the Westminster strings which hold fast to large scale energy projects. By 2010 Wales would have been energy independent. By 2015 we would be exporting to England.

We wouldn't even be talking about fracking or nuclear. Wales as a home for the great energy opportunities of this generation would be a showpiece. Nuclear free, pollution minimised, truly sustainable - a country of social justice free from corporate rule.

A Community Bank of Wales would have been established before 2008 and Wales would not have experienced the full blast of the banking crash. Small scale investments from outside Wales would be welcomed to help fund priority zero carbon house building, insulation schemes, alternative energy production and green industries. At least 10% of all new build would have in-built adaptability for disabled living.

Fifteen years of Green government would have brought Wales to the point where poverty was practically over. Greens would have enforced the Equal Pay Act in year 1 of government. Women would be paid the same as men for doing the same job, instead of having to work themselves ragged to take home 16% less than their male counterparts earn for doing the same job. Big gains in equality would be achieved with bosses earnings in lockstep to a ratio of 10:1 of the average pay in an organisation. Tax loopholes would not be tolerated.

No longer would Wales be the poor man of Europe - poorer even than parts of Romania and Bulgaria. No EU handouts for us. No supermarkets built on green fields, no overcrowded hospitals - just strong local communities, a resilient green economy, and an empowered, enabled prosperous society built on mutual support and a shared vision for the common good.

As the neverending grinding austerity of Labour pulls us further down the road to less equality and mindless consumerism, it is easy to see that Labour is not and never will be, Green.