UK Election 2019 Manifestos: Greens & Minor Parties

With all of the manifestos published, it’s at last time to look at the Greens and some of the minor parties standing in Welsh constituencies. As with the other manifesto summaries, I’ll only be considering non-devolved areas.

The Greens are the largest party without representation in Wales standing in the election, so I’m going to afford them a bit more in the way of detail and commentary than the others.

Aside from the Greens, the parties are in alphabetical order. Candidates are listed, where applicable, in alphabetical order by constituency.

Green Party (EnglandandWales)

Standing in 18 Welsh constituencies.

If Not Now, When? (Cymraeg – pdf; English – pdf)

  • Supports a second referendum on Brexit and would campaign for Remain.
  • Introduce a “Green New Deal” investing £100billion a year over ten years to reduce the UK’s net emissions to zero by 2030; wind should provide 70% of the UK’s electricity by 2030 and new nuclear power stations should be ruled out.
  • Introduce a Carbon Tax on energy imports and domestic fossil fuel extraction; increase corporation tax to 24%.
  • End the sale of new petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles by 2030, but will still ensure measures to reduce traffic as electric vehicles are still an issue. Scrap High Speed 2.
  • Phase-in an unconditional universal basic income (hinted at being at least £89-per-week with top-ups for certain groups and children) to replace most welfare payments. Housing benefits won’t be included.
  • Replace first-past-the-post with a proportional electoral system for MPs and lower the UK Parliament voting age to 16; create an elected House of Lords and introduce job-sharing for all political roles.
  • Legalise and regulate recreational drugs.
  • Scrap the Ministry of Defence and replace it with a Ministry for Security, with a greater focus on promoting peace and humanitarian assistance; ban arms sales and scrap Trident nuclear missiles and submarines.
  • Increase foreign aid spending to 1% of GDP.

As you might expect, the Green place a heavy emphasis on the environment – and they’ve found themselves fighting on the familiar ground having seen the Overton window dragged in their favour on climate change. However, the “Green New Deal” proposals are fairly vague with no real detail on the specific projects in mind. They also state at the beginning of the manifesto they would make a distinction between devolved and non-devolved areas but didn’t do that other than the occasional nod. The Welsh language version of the manifesto is also nothing more than a short policy statement which doesn’t help address the broad impression that the Greens have a blind spot to Wales.

To their credit, they offered a relatively detailed breakdown of their manifesto commitment costs, which totalled £141.5billion a year in revenue spending and £94.4billion in capital spending – a significant proportion of which would come from public borrowing.

They’re standing in almost half of Wales’ constituencies and, with a few exceptions, retaining their deposits should be the aim. The Greens can’t rely on this as a marker for what they might do in 2021 either because of the different dynamic as only first-past-the-post is used this time.

The ones to watch are the Vale of Glamorgan, where the leader in Wales is standing as Unite to Remain’s candidate but seems to have a case of foot-in-mouth syndrome. The EnglandandWales Deputy Leader, Amelia Womack, is standing in Newport West and it was a surprise no Unite to Remain agreement was reached there. The European elections saw what appeared to be a record share of the popular vote for the Greens in Wales, but this election is different and I’d expect them to fall to the usual 3-4% range with more retained deposits than usual.

Christian Party

Candidate: Jeff Green (Brecon & Radnorshire)

  • Support withdrawal from the EU, but seems to support a free trade deal; opposes Scottish independence.
  • Introduce several restrictions on abortion (including a ban on “social abortion”) and sex education.
  • Supports universal credit; link unemployment benefits to community service/”workfare”.
  • Supports renewable energy but is sceptical of the idea of man-made climate change; would also repeal equality laws.
  • Increase the income tax allowance to £12,000 a year and cut the top rate of income tax to 30%.

The Christian Party is perhaps more famous (in Wales) for its policy of replacing Y Ddraig Goch with the flag of St David (as dragons are seen to be a Satanic symbol) – a policy which seems to have been quietly dropped. Other than that, it’s a mostly right-wing libertarian platform not too dissimilar to Farage-era UKIP.

Cynon Valley Party

Candidate: Andrew Chainey (Cynon Valley)

  • Revamp training and education to prepare the future workforce for the fourth industrial revolution.
  • Supports several local projects including a Planetarium for Wales and Conservation Centre at Hirwaun.
  • Lobby for the reopening of a fully-staffed police station in the Cynon Valley.
  • Supports a “more considered” approach to military action by the UK Government.
  • Supports a form of community service/partnerships by people in education.

The Cynon Valley Party are a properly registered party and currently have a single councillor on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, representing Penrhiwceiber – which was recently revealed to be amongst the top ten most-deprived neighbourhoods in Wales.

Local parties usually stay away from the big national elections, so this is a curiosity. As you might expect, their policy platform has a highly-localised bent to it and, dare I say it, encroaching into devolved areas. I wouldn’t expect them to come anywhere close to winning Cynon Valley but it’ll be interesting to see what they can do.

Gwlad (aka. Ein Gwlad, Gwlad Gwlad)

Candidates: Sian Caiach (Cardiff Central), Gwyn Evans (Montgomeryshire), Lawrence Williams (Vale of Glamorgan)

Manifesto (Cymraeg – pdf; English – pdf)

  • Supports Welsh independence.
  • Supports a universal basic income.
  • Supports continued fossil fuel extraction and use where it can be done “cleanly and safely”; supports offshore renewables and nationalisation of water resources.
  • Establish a single all-Wales police force; open a women’s prison in Wales.
  • Introduce a flat income tax.

Plaid Twitter’s favourite alt-right/populist/syncretic bwci bo will be making their long-awaited electoral debut. It’s been a troubled start, having been involved in a long-running dispute with the Electoral Commission over their name, as well as some of the comments from senior members regarding the role of women and “political correctness gone mad”.

Although Gwlad’s website only recently relaunched, they did get a manifesto out, with the key policies listed above. There’s seemingly no official policy on Brexit, but individuals involved with the party have expressed support for Leave and the manifesto mentions negotiating “tariff-free trade with Europe” (which is difficult if not impossible).

They’ve made some odd decisions in the run-up to this election, such as the party Chair, Sian Caiach, endorsing the candidacy of the Brexit Party candidate in Llanelli and Gwlad having also selected a former English Democrats (the party which wants to annex Monmouthshire) and Christian Party candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan.

Independents

Candidates: Captain Beany (Aberavon), Akil Kata (Cardiff Central), Richard Leigh Jones (Cardiff North), David Hughes (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), Martyn Ford (Monmouth), Philip Rogers (Neath), Johnathan Bishop, Mike Powell, Sue Prior (all Pontypridd)

Obviously, there’s no single manifesto for the Independent candidates. Perhaps the most interesting one here is Pontypridd. Mike Powell is a former Lib Dem and sitting RCT councillor who resigned in protest at Unite to Remain (in Plaid’s favour) which denied him a chance to stand for his former party. I doubt it’ll make that much difference to the result, but if he gets close to Plaid it’ll be something of an embarrassment for Unite to Remain.

Monster Raving Loony Party

Candidate: Lily the Pink (Brecon & Radnorshire)

  • Create a Ministry of Information consisting of former Cambridge Analytica staff as “they already know everything”.
  • Send Noel Edmonds to negotiate Brexit as he understands Deal or No Deal.
  • Try to find a breeding pair of dragons as the Welsh Dragon is an endangered species.
  • Reduce national debt by selling castles back to the French.
  • Because the UK has made cuts to almost everything around, the letters N, H and S should be cut.

After beating UKIP into last place in August’s by-election – to the point upon which UKIP aren’t standing any candidates in Wales, perhaps out of embarrassment – Lady Lily the Pink is back and probably stands a good chance of killing off the Christian Party this time. If you live in Brecon & Radnorshire, can’t stand any of the other parties and are willing to bring the wrath of a vengeful God upon yourselves, then you know what to do.

Social Democratic Party

Candidates: Ian McClean (Cynon Valley), Carl Williams (Neath)

  • Supports leaving the EU without a deal if the Withdrawal Agreement can’t be passed by the end of January 2020; supports a public inquiry into the conduct of Brexit by the UK Government and key political figures.
  • Introduce 10p and 30p income tax bands; increase the top rate of income tax to 47%.
  • Abolish the House of Lords and create a devolved English Parliament.
  • Introduce National Insurance ID cards.
  • Introduce a points-based immigration system and cap net immigration to 100,000 a year.

Yes, they’re still going.

Socialist Party GB

Candidate: Brian Johnson (Cardiff Central)

  • Supports a stateless, moneyless society that owns the means of production.
  • Opposes all wars.
  • Opposes all forms of leadership and a “vanguardist”/elite approach to delivering global socialism.
  • Hostility towards and non-cooperation with every other political party (as they work in class interests).

Not that Brian Johnson.

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