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Covid-19 is a crisis for which a Green response is needed

At this time when draconian and long-lasting public health measures have been introduced and the stock market is in free fall, there is no doubt that this is a time of crisis. 

The Green Party has always worked with others in the community to try to advance the common good.

Please involve yourself in whichever activities are most required in your local community.

For instance, there is a Greenwich council site at which residents can volunteer themselves to run errands for vulnerable neighbours here. Please feel no hesitation in getting involved.

Coronavirus is here for the long run. The economic and social damage it is wreaking upon the country is plain to see.

We have seen a cut to 0.25% interest rates and nothing is really changing. This is because business as usual policies will be ineffective in a crisis which affects both demand and supply.

This is a crisis for which Green solutions are needed.

This is the new normal

Covid-19 not only represents a grave threat to public health, it presents a serious challenge to how society sees itself. 

We see the precariousness of the vulnerable unable to earn a wage in the face of an intractable situation.

It is striking how it takes a tragedy like the coronavirus pandemic to realise in the gut just how interconnected we all are.

The novel coronavirus has triggered it this time, but other conditions will gather to trigger the same again in the future.

There are many threats to our hitherto stable society. Climate change, pressure on natural resources, increasing automation of the workforce, and antibiotic resistance to name just a few.

Greens have policies for a new society

What can we do in the face of enormous systemic pressures? We must not lose faith that another path can be taken. One that is more humane, more sustainable and more equitable.

We call for a basic level of income security assured by the collective gains of society can provide stability through these new conditions.

When economic activity shuts down owing to a common threat, only the common provision of an essential means to sustain oneself and one’s family will suffice.

The Universal Basic Income is the Green policy whose time has come.

People are waking up to the idea that while globalisation and interconnectedness of economies gives us efficiency and low prices, it also gives us systemic fragility and exploits the poor.

The deliberate and patient restoration of local economies is a Green policy whose time has come.

In the digital services, we see an urgent figuring out of home working solutions to contain the spread of Covid-19.

In a number of industries, companies are showing that actually they can thrive without the massive amounts of internal business travel they have become accustomed to.

The frequent flyer levy to discourage regular flight-taking is a Green policy whose time has come.

Crisis management takes priority today

Make no mistake, the spread of Covid-19 is a real, serious, deadly public health crisis. Dealing with it must be the top priority.

We refrain from judging too harshly those who are placed in a situation where consequential judgement calls must be made fast without clear information. We are not trying to score political points.

What matters is constructive engagement and effective strategies for managing the crisis in the short run and the long run. 

The Green Party is ready to contribute its knowledge for the common good.

Another way is possible tomorrow

But in the long weeks ahead, there will be much time for soul-searching as we all collectively try to work out where we go from here.

As chair of Greenwich and Bexley Greens and a parliamentary candidate, I encourage current and would-be Greens to take the opportunity to show their colleagues, friends and peers that another way is possible.

Taking the long view is at the heart of the Green Party. We’ve been thinking about how to create a new society for a long time — and you will find that people are looking around for good ideas.

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