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A hung Parliament will help fight Climate Change

November 25, 2009

Last night I attended the AGM for the Rother Environmental Group – at The George in Rye.

It was a meeting that was bursting with energy – personified, I might add, by one of the Co-Chairs of the Group and the compere for the evening – Christopher Strangeways.

In the Annual Report there was a whistlestop tour of the Group’s campaigning work over the past twelve months. And I am glad to say that I found myself on the right side of ‘Reg’ (as the Group is affectionately known) on all the key issues – from the recent announcement on the future of Dungeness, to sustainable fisheries policy and the 10:10 carbon emissions campaign.

I was grateful to be given an impromptu slot to talk about the Lib Dems and the Green agenda.

I was also pleased to relay to REG members that the Liberal Democrats have the best Green credentials of the three main parties.

Our Green Tax Switch policy – which will help to fund tax cuts for low and middle income families, through taxing polluting behaviour (rather than income) – and our Green Road Out of Recession policy – which looks to use job creation in green industries to help kickstart the economy – are serious attempts to raise the profile of environmental sustainability in the context of joined-up public policy.

I have written previously in this column that I think Labour will take an electoral kicking at the coming General Election.

I still believe that to be true – both locally, and all around the country.

However I also agree that (as the opinion polls are beginning to show) the prospect of a hung Parliament is an ever-more-possible electoral outcome.

This can only be good for environmental politics. Largely because it will be the role of the Liberal Democrats to ensure that the largest party acts quickly and radically in respect of arresting global warming.

The two E’s are cornerstones of what it is to be a Lib Dem – electoral reform (so that everyone’s vote means something) and environmental sustainability (as a guiding principle of policy-making).

I believe that, particularly during the General Election campaign itself, when the party starts to get its fair share of the media spotlight, the electorate will realise that it is the Liberal Democrats who have been right on the key policy issues of the Parliament.

Lib Dems are not necessarily preparing to be the Government. But we must prepare for being in Government.

We must not, and will not, fail to promote our core beliefs and policies.

And as I said to Mr Strangeways last night, the easiest way to ensure that this happens, is to elect as many Liberal Democrat MPs as possible!

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