So, What's It All About?
Unveiled by Co-Leaders of the Party Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, the Green Party manifesto promises to deliver a “confident and caring Britain”. As well as a focus on environmental issues, the 26 page document also pledges a referendum on the final Brexit deal, guarantees on freedom of movement, as well as scrapping tuition fees and lowering the voting age to 16.
Human Rights Laws
The Human Rights Act brought the Human Rights Convention directly into UK law in 1998, however, we’ve been members of the Convention since 1953. Some parties have floated the idea of leaving the Convention and creating our own version. The Greens think the current system works well, making the pledge to “defend” both the Act and our membership of the Convention. They also want to increase funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Employment and Workers' Rights
Human rights are just as important at work as they are in our personal lives, and they often provide crucial protections for employees. The Green Party is promising to take steps towards launching a universal basic income, as well as a four day week. They would ensure all trade rules respect human rights, labour and environment standards, as well as climate commitments. The minimum wage would also go up to £10 per hour by 2020.
The Human Rights Convention protects us from being discriminated against, and equality is a strong focus of the Green Party manifesto. The party has also released a separate LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Asexual) manifesto, which promises to strengthen hate crime legislation and allow mixed-sex civil partnerships. They’re focusing on ending the pay gap, as well as requiring a minimum of 40 percent of all public sector and company boards to be women.
As well as building on human rights laws at home, the Greens are keen to export these values abroad. They want to promote an ethical foreign policy that can help resolve conflicts, and end support for aggressive wars of intervention. They pledge an end to arms sales to oppressive regimes. Parliament would also have to vote on any new trade deals.
Healthcare and Disability
Accessing healthcare is one of our most basic rights, and protected by law. The Green Party is keen to put more cash into the NHS, and would implement an NHS Reinstatement Act to roll back on privatisation. They also plan to focus on investing in social care for the elderly, and bring mental health care in line with physical health care. They promise to “redress” injustice in the benefits system so that disabled people are not disadvantaged.
The Green Party strongly backed the Remain campaign in the referendum, and want to see the UK stay in Europe. To this end, they have pledged to campaign to safeguard ‘basic rights’ which are given from Europe, as well as hold a second referendum on any proposed deal to leave the block – which would also give the option to reverse the decision and stay in. They want to protect freedom of movement and immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK – as well as urgently seeking a reciprocal arrangement.
The manifesto focuses on the idea of “education for all”, and with education being one of the fundamental blocks of the Human Rights Convention any policies in this area relate to our rights. The party plans to scrap university tuition fees, as well as increase the real terms spending per pupil. They also want to reintroduce Education Maintenance Grants (EMA), provide free universal early education for children, and make sure any child with special educational needs or a disability has access to a mainstream education.
Free Speech and Privacy
Free speech and expression is protected as part of our human rights – so any policy in this area must take into account our rights. The Green Party say they’d protect the BBC and tighten the rules on media ownership so that no individual or company owns more than 20 percent of a media market. They believe the internet should be ‘free of state and corporate surveillance, with our rights and freedoms protected’. They would end the sale of personal data, such as health or tax records, for commercial or other ends.