Green Manifesto 2010 Citizens and Government
Consumers And Citizens, Public And Private
Most people living now are much richer than people living in 1950. But we haven’t got any happier. Why not? Partly because evidence shows that, once we have a certain minimum income, what mainly concerns us is our position relative to everyone else. So if society is more equal we are happier; if it is unequal we want to live the lives of rich celebrities. And we are unhappy if we don’t achieve our aims. So a growing material economy with increasing inequality, as we have had for the past thirty years, not only ruins the planet but also undermines well-being.
Of course money is vital, and too many people in Britain today don’t have enough of it.That is why Green taxation and economics are aimed at making a more equal, as well as a more sustainable, society. But other things improve well-being too. Also important are family relationships, the quality of work, friends, the natural world, health and freedom. All these things require space and time – space and time that are increasingly unavailable in a society dedicated to getting and spending. A society less dedicated to material growth will not only avoid ecological collapse but also make us more content.
As citizens we think of the good of everyone and of the future, and not just what we think is good for ourselves, now. Creating a fair and sustainable society is a job for government at all levels – but it is also a job for us as citizens. The Green Party will work towards sustainable consumption through the creation of a citizen culture as well as the more efficient use of resources.
A particular concern for the Green Party is to respect the right of future generations of citizens not to be disadvantaged by damage that this generation does to the environment. We must also support solidarity between existing generations, between young and old.
Public and Private
We would spearhead a revival in public spaces – libraries, parks, playgrounds. Fairness and sustainability require a public effort. Millions of unco-ordinated actions aimed at maximising individuals’ private interest will not bring about the society we want and deserve. Only citizens, aided by a Green Government, can do that.
We would initiate a revolution in trust. We’ve got the location and balance of regulation wrong: banks are under- regulated and citizens are over-regulated. Citizens and workers are infantilised by health and safety, ground down by audit. The paraphernalia of surveillance costs a fortune and assumes we will behave badly unless we are threatened into behaving well. We believe this dog–whistle relationship with citizens is counterproductive.The Green Party will trust citizens and workers, not overregulate them.
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