The Green Party was a Green political party in the United Kingdom. It has been succeeded by three political parties:
* the Green Party of England and Wales
* the Green Party in Northern Ireland
* the Scottish Green Party
The Green Party was originally formed as PEOPLE, or the Ecology Party, in Coventry in 1973, with the first edition of Manifesto for a Sustainable Society as the party’s statement of philosophy and policies. This document was inspired by Blueprint for Survival, published by The Ecologist (then edited by Edward Goldsmith). The party changed its name to become the Green Party in the 1980s.
In 1973 policy concerns included economics, employment, defence, energy (fuel) supplies, land tenure, pollution and social security, as then seen within an ecological perspective. “Zero growth” (or “steady state”) economics were a strong feature in the party’s philosophical basis and the all-UK party became a persistent and growing presence in general elections and European elections, fielding often enough candidates to qualify for television and radio election broadcasts.
As the Ecology Party, with Jonathon Porritt as a prominent member and an election manifesto called The Real Alternative, the party fielded over 50 candidates in the general election of 1979, and so qualified for election broadcasts on television and radio. The party received 39,918 votes and membership jumped tenfold, from about 500 to over 5,000.
Again as the Ecology Party the party fielded over 100 candidates in the 1983 general election and took 54,299 votes.
The party was the Green Party in the 1987 general election and took 89,753 votes.
In the 1989 European election the Green Party won 2 million votes, and received 15% of the overall vote. This pushed the Liberal Democrats into 4th place (with 6%) and has been described by David Butler a Dennis Kavanagh as the most successful protest vote ever (The British General Election of 1992). At this time however European elections in the UK were run on a purely first past the post basis and therefore the party failed to gain any seats. Nonetheless mainstream political parties were alarmed by the party’s election performance and adopted some Green policies in an attempt to counter the threat .
In the 1990s both the Scottish and Northern Irish wings of the party established themselves as separate entities. The three UK parties co-operate closely.
Also see Green Policies Debate for discussion on specific Green Policies. For a Green Party discussion not covered below feel free to create your own forum topic at Green Party Forum.
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