GREEN PARTY RESPONSE TO SELECTION OF MICHAEL PORTILLO
Hugo Charlton, Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Kensington and Chelsea, welcomes the return to the political stage of Michael Portillo.
Mr Charlton said "I understand Mr.Portillo's campaign is to be about Mr Hague's ' common sense revolution' and a commitment to further reduce taxes. Since the " common sense" theme was one which we used with Sarah Parkin in 1989 it is hard for me to criticise the slogan, and I am glad to see that our slogans as well as our policies are now being seen in mainstream politics. However we have always avoided talking about a revolution, as we felt that meant going round in circles, and we think of ourselves as an evolutionary party."
"The Conservative commitment to reduce taxes as a proportion of national income will be impossible to meet without imposing enormous hardship. This policy shows that the concept of "caring conservatism" is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Clearly the right-wing has learnt nothing from the social disruption caused by the Thatcherite politics of the Eighties - clarion calls for low taxes are populist and irresponsible -- you get what you pay for in government as in everything else - you cannot run a civilised society on the cheap."
Taking the argument straight to his opponent's core beliefs Mr. Charlton said "Mr Portillo has made his opposition to the Euro clear. He cannot hide behind the " not now -- maybe later" prevarication of the current Conservative policy. Whilst he is entitled to take an intrinsically nationalistic position, no doubt shared by many people, it is in my view a wrong one in the long-term. The sovereignity of the pound is much exaggerated, as it is already severely constrained by global economic forces. The economic arguments against the Euro are much stronger than the political ones. Of course it is an incompetent and unwieldy mechanism, too large to deal with the variations of the regional economies, bu the same criticism could be levelled at the pound, with its inability to deal with the north south divide in this country. The idea of regional or local currencies will no doubt eventually emerge, but like most Green ideas it will take time for them to move from the extremely radical to the rather sensible".
"The Green party has traditionally opposed the Euro as it is seen to enhance the damage caused by unrestricted free-market economics. However I have been known in the Party for my pro European stance and on this issue am taking an independent position. I believe the political significance of the Euro outweighs the economic impact, and that it is in Britain's long-term interest to have an increasingly integrated Europe".
"However, national, regional, and local health, safety, and animal welfare concerns should not be over ridden by the demands of the single market, which is only one mechanism to bring Europeans together. The French are currently teaching us a lesson in self-interest. Bureaucracy and over regulation is a sin of both Whitehall and Brussels, but the British public are aware that whatever it is alleged Brussels is saying, ultimately it is British authorities and agencies which draw up and enforce the regulations".