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Live webchat with Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader and MEP, Fri 26 Mar, 1pm

(60 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Mar-10 12:14:42

We're very pleased to welcome Caroline Lucas for a webchat this Friday, 26 March, at 1pm.

She's Green Party leader and MEP for South East of England. This is Caroline's second Mumsnet webchat - she first joined us in May 2009.

The Greens are fielding a record number of candidates at the forthcoming election and have high hopes of winning their first Westminster seats - in particular, Caroline is hoping to win Brighton Pavilion, while Adrian Ramsay in Norwich South and Darren Johnson in Lewisham Deptford are tipped to join her in Parliament.

In her speech to the Greens' spring conference, Caroline asked: "Does anyone believe that Brown has earned another five years in power. Or that Britain will be a fairer and more just place to live if David Cameron becomes prime minister? Because if the answer to the problems in our democracy is David Cameron, we need to think again about the question."

If you have any questions for Caroline, please join us.

gabriel123 Sat 27-Mar-10 19:54:54

Green party living in cloud cuckoo land what a waste of a vote this woman is a hypocrite if anybody could be bothered to research her there are a few skeletons I`ll bet, if you want Green go and live in the country we have been recycling for hundreds of years anyone who tries to have green credetials who has lived in a city has no idea about nature or the planet it is complete rubbish global warming is jusy another tax raising dodge thats why Gordon Brown is so keen on it.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 26-Mar-10 16:09:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lulumaam Fri 26-Mar-10 16:07:07

thanks for answering my question, am going to look into composting/wormeries

much appreciated smile

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Mar-10 14:13:02

Thanks to everybody who posted questions and took part. And thanks to Caroline for coming on again.

aviatrix Fri 26-Mar-10 14:12:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 14:10:38

Sadly my hour is up, so will have to go, but thanks so much to Mumsnet for having me, and to everyone for your questions! - I've been typing like a mad thing to keep up with them all, so hope there aren't too many typos

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 14:09:07

Hi Darcymum,

First point to make is that shivering in an unheated house is definitely not a green option! I'd like to see more grants and support for people wanting to use renewable options like ground source heat pumps as I understand that cost can be a prohibitive factor. The cottage sounds pretty idyllic though and hope you are enjoying smile

Thanks,
Caroline.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 14:04:41

Hello itwouldbemypleasure,

Brighton is part of my MEP constituency and I have always spent a great deal of time here. So I certainly don't feel like I have been parachuted in. I was approached by the local party and asked to stand, and I have the backing of a strong and united local team, including Keith. He is a fantastic local councillor and very much fits with my image of the Green Party - hard working, listening and progressive.

All the best,
Caroline.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 14:03:29

Personally, I am concerned about the prevalence of pornography in mainstream culture, and the way that the line beween what used to be considered hard core and what is sold in newsagents and supermarkes becomes increasingly blurred.

The increasing sexualisation of young girls and women in the media puts enormous pressure not only on women but also on boys, who are pressurised to act out a stereotyped version of "being a man" in which power over women is seen to be "normal."

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:58:41

Hi Weneedtoleaveinfiveminutes,

you'd have to ask Mumsnet about that - but I am very happy to be back!

Thanks,
Caroline.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:55:43

Hi Daysoftheweek,

Good ploy to get in more than 1 question and I will try and answer them all.

On the European Parliament I agree 100% about the moving around and have been campaigning against it since first being elected an MEP. The decision to end the travelling circus is in the hands of the member state governments so that is where we need to see some change - most MEPs want a more sensible system.

On air travel - we urgently need to look at ways to reduce the impact of aviation. Personal carbon quotas would be one way of reducing the amount people fly; another, would be to ensure the airlines pay the true cost of aviation - at the moment, they pay no VAT on new planes, and no tax on aviation fuel These huge subsidies mean that flying to Scotland, for example, costs peanuts whereas the train costs a fortune. So step one is to sort that out!

Bailing out the banks or bailing out public services - I think I'd choose the latter! I definitely want to see something in return for our investment in the banks and future regulation to stop them acting so irresponsibly.

Must move one but hope that gives you a bit of an idea.

Take care,
Caroline.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:52:34

Hi Lulumaam,

One of my personal bugbears is that being green is not made much easier. As you say, it can be time consuming and a bit of a struggle, so I’d like to see government get it right - they seem to manage it perfectly well in lots of other European countries

It’s very frustrating to feel your rubbish is not collected often enough and that the alternatives don’t work. In Germany there are recycling facilities on pretty much every street corner so I’d like that to be the case here.

In the European Parliament, I've been doing everything I can to put the responsibility on producers to use less packaging in the first place.

Finally, if you have a garden, composting or a wormery is probably greener than the council collecting your food waste.

CameraLady Fri 26-Mar-10 13:45:07

Hi Caroline

Thanks for your reply. I agree that a co-op system would not work as a whole. I think what i took from the John Lewis model was the way the pay system is a ratio so the person at the top earns say 5(?) times the person at the bottom.
Some way to control out of disproportionate pay checks at the top.

Maybe i should join the Green Party and get involved with the local council.......

Thanks again, you've got my vote.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:44:24

Hi bank,

The Green Party has made two specific policy commitments when it comes to health visitors. Firstly, that baby clinics are open for adequate hours, so that women can get access to health visitors and take their babies for regular check-ups at a location and time that is convenient for them. Secondly, that health visitors will make regular visits to all early years establishments. Continuity of care from health visitors over time is also important.

Both of these rely on proper funding and training which we are also committed to providing across the NHS.

I know that investment in health visitors has declined since they are no longer ‘in statute’ and there is a chronic shortage of health visitors in some parts of the country. Greens are opposing cuts to public services, as - unlike the other parties - we don’t think this is the way to tackle the recession, especially when it can be the most vulnerable people that suffer from cuts and closures. Our general health policy focuses on opposing privatisation and on promoting well being – and we see a cruical role for health visitors and other community based advocates there.

I want to see health visitors operating fully within the NHS and getting the support they need and deserve. I am worried particularly by the way that insurance cover works, and was involved in amending some EU legislation that would have worsened the problem by only allowing health visitors to be covered by private personal insurance.

So much comes down to funding and priorities but, for me, taking care of children’s health in particular has to be up higher up the list – and higher up than eg ID cards or building new nuclear power stations. I’d like to learn more though about what people on the forum think and you personally – are we headed in the right direction or do Mums out there actually want something different?

darcymum Fri 26-Mar-10 13:43:40

Hi Caroline,

How would the Green party make in easier to be 'green'? I have recently bought a new house which doesn't have any heating. I live in a small village with no mains gas and it is a 300+ year old detached cottage.

I have spent quite a few months looking into all our options regarding heating and am now planning to get oil. When we bought the house we knew we would get a heating system but oil was the last on the list. Other options such as wood pellet and air heat pumps proved to be many many thousands of pounds more expensive than oil, with payback times of decades.

We really wanted to avoid oil mainly for environmental reasons. I know that our cheapest and greenest option would be to leave the house unheated but having been here through the last winter I don't want to be that cold again.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:40:30

thanks Lio smile I have been practising!

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:39:25

Hello CaptainNancy,

My initial sense is let's get things right on this planet before we turn our attention elsewhere!

It's got to be about priorities too - I think I'd rather see money spent on the NHS and schools but I am open to persuasion. What do you think?

Thanks,
Caroline.

meriellenfestey Fri 26-Mar-10 13:38:17

Thanks Caroline - I couldn't agree more.

The secret is all about making green living as, or preferably more appealing than the lives people live now.

I'd love to hear what you might lend or borrow to those around you.

Meriel

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:37:32

Hi ZephirineDrouhin,

thanks for feedback and hope you read my reply to CameraLady about John Lewis

Lio Fri 26-Mar-10 13:37:09

No question as such, but v impressed with super-speedy typing and wish you huge success in the general election.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:36:01

Dear CameraLady,

Thanks for such a lovely message and all your support.

I think you have summed up how a lot of people feel nowadays about voting. I certainly share your sense that the electoral system needs to be much fairer. I also think that voting is just one way of affecting change and constantly am inspired by people making a difference in their own individual and collective ways.

On using the John Lewis model worker owned model for public services I can certainly see the appeal. Greens are in favour of encouraging cooperatives like John Lewis in the private sector and, as you know, this kind of set up can help protect workers as well as companies when times are tough economically. I am not convinced, though, that this is the best approach to our public services – although I think we can take some of the best practice from co-ops and apply them elsewhere. So for example, the emphasis on workers having an equal say in decision making is definitely something I’d like to see more of, and it's a key part of Green Party policy.

Both the Tories and Labour have recently expressed an interest in public services being run as co-ops – on the grounds that it is good to massively reduce any kind of state involvement in provision. My fear is that this might be a distraction from the important issue of guaranteeing proper state funding for public services – a way of opting out and abdicating responsibility. After all, it would be much easier for a government of any colour to blame a cooperative if hospitals start to shut down.

I’ve met a lot of people who felt the council failed them during the bad weather earlier this year and Green councillors were active in trying to get priorities changed, so that people could get moving again. An MP doesn’t have very much say over how the council runs things but we have a good number of Green councillors here in Brighton & Hove now who are really trying to make a difference. Hopefully in the future they will be in the majority and can really push a Green agenda on transport, schools and so forth. Obviously if I am elected I’d work closely with the councillors we have here, and would press for legislation nationally that would make it easier for councils to provide better public services – including getting the funding right.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:34:41

Hi Meriel,

Yes Greens do suffer from a fair bit of typecasting, I agree wink. However, what I see when I am out campaigning is that people are increasingly looking beyond that and are listening instead to what we have to say - and they like what they hear! Your website sounds interesing and I will try and take a look when I have finished here. I like the fact that you are focussing on the many benefits to being green - as I have said in another post it is all too often portrayed as being about giving up stuff, when for me what we gain is so much more worthy of attention. Good luck with your scheme.

Best wishes,
Caroline.

whittingtonmum Fri 26-Mar-10 13:30:55

Hi Caroline,

thank you so much for answering my question and for speaking out so publicly against the proposed closure of the A&E and maternity services of the Whittington Hospital.

I really, really appreciate your support and I am sure so will many, many others in North London.

Thanks again and all the very best !

whittingtonmum.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/breaking-news-caroline-lucas-pledges-support-for-whittington -on-mumsnet/

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:30:16

Hello mummy1973,
If I am elected here in Brighton my first commitment will be to the people I represent. However, I have spent several years meeting people across the South East and the country more generally, and know that on the whole people care about very similar things. I also know the people of Brighton well enough to know that they would want a little bit more than an average constituency MP.
So, I think that standing up in Westminster for Brighton Pavilion will also mean I can affect policies that touch you. In the first instance I am thinking about things like job creation, support for small businesses, warmer homes and lower energy bills, hospitals focused on patient care rather than making a profit, a regular reliable, affordable rail and bus service - and an increase in the minimum wage. All these things are important to people living in Brighton and elsewhere. And of course, as a Green MP I want to make a difference on issues like tackling climate change and scrapping Trident as we have been talking about – which impact on everyone.

CarolineLucas Fri 26-Mar-10 13:29:03

Dear Maaster,

I think it is true that often women suffer disproportionately from decisions to eg go to war or tilt the work life balance away from family. I definitely want to see more women elected to represent us in Parliament and on eg boards of companies as this might well help create the kind of society I think we all want.

Thanks for joining us,
Caroline.

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