Our columnist takes the environmental line on election day

News Desk (08 June, 2017) Columnists

"Our parks, schools and streets are all lethally poisoned by vehicles and we have an adult and child inactivity/obesity crisis"

Here we go again. Theresa May has called an early election, despite having a clear majority, Donnachadh McCarthy writes.

So, what are the key eco-issues facing Southwark & Lambeth? With half of the boroughs on the floodplain and the planet in danger of going over the 1.5C dangerous threshold temperature in the next decade, the climate crisis is THE top issue. The Tory manifesto is disastrous, promising to promote even more UK fossil fuels by reducing their taxes and regulations, whilst increasing them on renewable energies.

Labour are better, banning fracking and promising 60% renewables by 2030 but want to expand Heathrow and spend billions on new roads. Lib Dems also want 60% renewables by 2030 and ban fracking but oppose Heathrow Expansion. The Greens have the most ambitious climate policies.  They oppose fracking and Heathrow and will tackle fuel poverty by insulating all homes.

But Brexit is also a huge climate issue, as the Tories are threatening a bonfire of all the climate protections that we democratically agreed with our EU partners. Despite 70% of local voters supporting EU, Labour MPs voted in Parliament for May’s Brexit. Greens & Lib Dems however, believe voters have the right to decide when final Brexit details are known.

The other top Southwark eco-issue is transport pollution. Our parks, schools and streets are all lethally poisoned by vehicles and we have an adult and child inactivity/obesity crisis. The solution is to invest £3 billion a year in a national network of safe cycle-lanes. The Tories & Labour promised a tiny £40 million, Lib Dems £650 million and Greens £2 billion (funded by roads budget).

However, our electoral system is not an opinion poll for our favourite party, but rather a tactical voting system, which means voting for the candidate best placed to form the greenest government we can get. In Vauxhall, it would mean voting Lib Dem to unseat arch-Brexiteer and cycle-lane opponent Kate Hoey, Labour in Streatham, Lib Dem in Southwark & North Bermondsey and Green in both Camberwell & Peckham and Dulwich & West Norwood seats.

So that’s my advice – vote Labour (and Green! and Lib Dem!) depending on where you live.

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Donnachadh McCarthy
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