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Live webchat with MEP/Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, Mon 1 June, 12.30pm-1.30pm

(106 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-May-09 14:08:56

We're pleased to flag up that Caroline Lucas is coming on to MN for a chat.

Caroline has two children, is the only woman leader of a UK political party and has been an MEP for the South East region for a decade (and is hoping to be re-elected on 4 June).

Please join us - the list of potential topics to discuss is huge (climate change, the economy, the expenses row, 'toxic' toys, the Green 'New Deal', animal rights...).

As usual, if you're not sure you can make the chat but have a burning question for Caroline, please post here and we'll pass them on.

hunkermunker Mon 01-Jun-09 22:20:40

Thank you, Caroline - good, encouraging answer. Not keen on the caveat of "don't make women feel guilty" - why would they feel guilty? How about "let down by the professionals who ought to have been helping them"? Because that's generally what happens.

Jux Mon 01-Jun-09 20:28:53

So sorry I missed Caroline. Thank you very much for answering my question (Harman talked round it and then answered a question I hadn't asked instead.) I am more interested in the Green party than I was before.

travellingwilbury Mon 01-Jun-09 16:06:25

I really wanted to ask her if she was aware of the weirdy KH running and what she felt about it but thought it may well have been too childish grin

Legacy Mon 01-Jun-09 14:51:48

Voltaire - I agree - very impressive (and I'm not/ haven't been a Green supporter).

I really didn't know who she was until I saw her on Question Time, and I was just bowled over then by her knowledge, professionalism and clear energy & passion for what she does.

If only all our MPs/MEPs had a modicum of her ability then we'd be in such a better place right now...

(Hope she pops back in secretly to read all these glowing comments....

<< waves.... "hello again Caroline!">>

Voltaire Mon 01-Jun-09 14:29:21

<sorry to have missed CarolineLucas chat>
I have just read through the thread. CL is v impressive. She's definitely the most impressive guest we've had. And I could kiss her for her speedy typing and good grammar. She's so competent.

policywonk Mon 01-Jun-09 14:01:00

Yeah. The whole shivering-in-caves strategy has been pretty much discredited, voter-wise grin

gizmo Mon 01-Jun-09 13:49:11

I had to pop out for a sarnie there so I've only just seen your response. Thanks Caroline! Interesting discussion, and yes I agree totally that we need to get away from the image of green economics being based on people shivering in caves.

travellingwilbury Mon 01-Jun-09 13:45:01

me too ahundredtimes .

ahundredtimes Mon 01-Jun-09 13:38:17

I think that might even have been effective you know. I was going to vote liberal, I might just vote Green now. How about that! It worked by gad shock

LeninGrad Mon 01-Jun-09 13:37:40

Thank you, cheerio.

policywonk Mon 01-Jun-09 13:37:06

Thank you Caroline! It would be great if you could come back when you have a bit more time.

Good luck on Thursday - I hope we wake up to some new Green MEPs and councillors on Friday.

Legacy Mon 01-Jun-09 13:36:58

THANK YOU Caroline - this was really interesting... smile

LeninGrad Mon 01-Jun-09 13:36:42

I suppose again the answer is in better education/motivation around diet and dental care and better access to dentists than in forcing a 'preventative treatment' without the long-term effects being known.

<grins rather than gurns way to grave>

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Jun-09 13:35:21

Well, sadly, we're coming to the end of our time with Caroline. Thanks for all your questions and many thanks to Caroline herself for taking the time to join us.
MN Towers

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:35:05

hi everyone - thanks SO much for all your questions - huge apologies to those I've not had time to answer yet sad - I'll try to come back to them next week - it's been a lot of fun. Right now, I need to run to a press conference on electoral reform, and then it's out on the streets of Oxford tonight, armed with more leaflets!

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:33:04

Addisonmontgomeryshepperd - my favourite West Wing character is old Bartlet himself - I love his sense of humour! As far as I know, Americans were pretty apathetic themselves until Obama came along - so we need a few more Obamas over here! - along with a good deal of electoral reform.

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:30:32

Hi VestibularProwess - I guess the point for me is that people should be able to choose whether or not to take fluoride. Many people are genuinely concerned about the health impacts of compulsory fluoridation - including thyroid problems, skeletal fluorosis, and bone cancers. Others point out that fluoridation is not proven to be effective for teeth, particulary when the bad effects of dental fluorosis are taken into account. Many other countries are ending their fluoridation programmes for these reasons.

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:28:25

Hi Mask,

This is a favourite theme of mine as I think it is central to persuading more people to live in a greener way. What I have in mind is policies that mean everyone lives in a well insulated and, therefore warm, house. That some streets are car free, so they are safer for children on their bikes. That local shops are not in competition with massive out of town developments and you can more esily find out where your food comes from or even visit your local growers. That decisions about the things that affect you are taken much more locally. That flexible working allows you to spend more time with your family and less time in traffic jams - and that your train journey to work in the morning would be less crowded because of more services being run. That the air you breathe and the water your drink would be cleaner. And no more wars over fossil fuels would certainly mean les money wasted and make use feel more secure.

All too often the message is that being green is about shivering in a cave lit by candlelight. That could not be further from the truth!

policywonk Mon 01-Jun-09 13:28:07

Thanks very much! I agree wholeheartedly with your policy in that case.

Typing exam... that explains why you've got through a lot more questions than most of our chattees grin

LeninGrad Mon 01-Jun-09 13:27:21

VestibularProwess, I grew up in an area with fluoridated water and have the grand total of two fillings. Can't extrapolate from that I realise and I know some people link fluoridation with health problems later in life, but it'd be a shame to see dental health go backwards.

LeninGrad Mon 01-Jun-09 13:23:42

I used to think you should change your Green Party name but I wonder if it'll pay off now. People have heard of you and they have a low opinion of the current parties.

Has a name change been discussed much within the party? What options have been mooted?(Please list the sensible and not so sensible, you don't have to say which you think is which!)

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:23:34

hi Policywonk - I'm typing faster than I ever have since I did my typing exam about 30 years ago - my fingers hurt! grin - hope there aren't too many typos....

re. income tax, sorry you can't find it on the site - when you've got a moment, it should be accessible via a link to the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society.

Essentially, we're in favour of more progressive taxation - ie those on higher incomes should be paying more. I think the government has done us all a great disservice by not having the courage to say that if we want better public services, we need to pay for them.

On VAT, we see it as a regressive tax (ie it hurts those on lowest incomes most), and we'd like to move towards abolishing it, and replacing it with environmental taxation instead.

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:17:01

Peachy - The Green Party is very definitely not just a single issue party - check out our policies on social welfare, workers rights, health care, education, the military, trade, criminal justice, immigration...I could go on!

http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/

One of the message we are working really hard to communicate at present is that tackling environmental problems creates jobs - and I helped write a radical report on this called the Green New Deal. In the region I represent we predict that Green policies could create at least 140,000 new jobs. This is important to me because I agree that we need to reach out beyond people who are naturally sympathetic and might feel threatened by what they read about Greens in the media. I guess the main point to stress is the Green means so much more to us than the environment and I am certainly not working for the kind of future where we abandon whole sections of society just because they eg work in haulage! A green future is about taking everyone with us and our jobs message is a genuine attempt to do this.

VestibularProwess Mon 01-Jun-09 13:15:53

Drums fingers.

CarolineLucas Mon 01-Jun-09 13:15:52

hi Gizmo

Completely agree that the Party needs to get better at communicating its social policies, not just its environmental ones - that's a real priority for me. Ever since the Party was first formed back in the 1970s, we've had policies on everything from health, education, trade and the economy, but it's still a challenge for us to get those messages across. Partly it's because we're known for our environment policies, and that's what the media come to us about - and partly, I accept, it's because we need to get better at finding opportunities to talk about them.

Where Greens are elected on local councils, though, I think people can see at first hand that we're deeply engaged with social issues. Eg promoting small businesses, providing community centres for young people, opposing the privatisation of public services etc. The Greens on the London Assembly were instrumental in the setting up of the Living Wage Unit in London, and Greens on Councils around the UK are proposing similar policies.

I think it's a real indictment of 12 years of a Labour Government that inequality is at a higher level now than when they came to office - and to me, social and environmental justice are completely linked. We're increasingly working with unions, and I'd strongly make the case that our policies are relevant to everyone, not just the middle classes.

On your last point, yes we support both smart metering and the smart grid, and would promote and incentivise home energy products.

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