I have been fascinated by many of The Green Party’s policies over the years and I feel that if they had more seats in Parliament then they could be very influential. Here, I spoke to the leader of the Welsh Green Party, Pippa Bartolotti.
- How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?
“The Young Greens are now the largest youth political party in England and Wales, with more than 25,000 members already it seems clear to me that young people are very interested in politics. Probably this is not surprising because the Greens are very interested in young people! They are our future after all.
Clearly from a Green perspective, politics is about the way we move towards sustainability and fairness. The future belongs to the young, and they are very, very concerned about their prospects, their environment, and the way politicians are dealing with it. It has been remarkable to me that so many young people are wanting to know more about politics, and their questions are honest and intelligent. I visit quite a lot of schools and colleges, and it seems to me that lowering the voting age to 16 is an eminently sensible thing to do. As climate change bites, young people are getting more and more concerned that their governments are facing the wrong way and caving in to fossil fuel lobbies. This why they should be able to vote at 16, to have a say in the depleted world in which they will have to survive.”
- What can The Green Party offer young people?
“As a flat structured grassroots democracy organisation we offer members young and old a voice in every part of our decision making. More widely we offer a window into a political party which has never compromised principle for power. As I write, politics has become an uneasy pastime. With
scapegoating, scandal and greed taking the headlines in other parties, the Green Party offers something deeper and more meaningful. Our policies have been drafted to enable the transition to a truly sustainable society, and the rebalancing of a polluting culture into one which can live within its carbon and production limits. In other words we offer a future for young people which will enable them to live happily, comfortably and prosperously on the one planet we have. A simple example to illustrate this would be if we built all our new houses to a carbon neutral standard (passivhaus),they would cost about 3% more to construct, but our fuel bills would be reduced to something like £12 a year – much reduced pollution, much reduced bills. A Green economy is a win-win.”
- What are The Green Party’s views on the Monarchy?
“The Green Party is loosely republican by nature, but not actively anti royalist. Let’s face it, there are much bigger problems to be worrying about.”
- What do The Green Party need to do to win seats in Wales at the next election?
“We are on course to win up to 3 Regional list seats in the forthcoming Assembly elections, and to do that we need to fully mobilise all of our members. There are 10 times more members in Wales now than there were last year, and we are really looking forward to the campaign. We will certainly need to keep a high media profile, and do a serious amount of fundraising, but in the final analysis, there is no substitute for having face to face meetings with our voters and would-be voters.”
- Do you have any funny stories from your time in politics?
“Well there was the time – in all the flurry of pre-election hustings and speaking engagements – when I delivered the wrong speech to the wrong audience. I gave the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) speech to the energy conference. Pretty funny because it wasn’t until about half way through I noticed the bemused faces. It was quite a task to recover the situation. Lovely audience by the way!
Although I am light hearted enough as a person, I take Green politics extremely seriously. There is simply too much at stake to relax into merriment. However, when a journalist filmed me answering the question ‘what are your guilty pleasures?’ I replied ‘ I’m not guilty about any of my pleasures!’ It was one of the best watched videos of the election.”