Greens pitch radical renationalisation of railways to boost election hopes
Party throws in NHS and tuition fee issue along with anti-fracking stand to win over voters in local and European elections.
For a party pledging to renationalise the railways, a calamitously disrupted Virgin train journey to the latest campaign stop of the Green party leader, Natalie Bennett, is a gift. Stranded at Crewe, she stops short of promising trains would run on time under state control but says: “At least you won’t be paying huge profits into shareholders’ pockets.”
The Green party, hoping to triple its number of MEPs to six and add 10% to its 140 local councillors in Thursday’s elections, is direct about its radical pitch to voters.
“We need to entirely reshape our society so it works for the common good, not just the interests of the 1%, and we need to do this using just one planet,” says Bennett.
The biggest crowd-pleasers at public meetings are, she says, rail nationalisation, removing the profit motive from the NHS and ending student tuition fees. “At some point we have to say austerity has gone too far. Things like social care have to be paid for.”
Pollsters and political pundits judge the Greens’ target for added seats to be plausible if ambitious. But they note that their poll rating of around 8%, while ahead of the Lib Dems in some polls, is similar to that at previous European and local elections. “However, because the Lib Dems are doing so badly, the Greens could finish fourth,” says Anthony Wells, at polling company YouGov. “That will be seen to be a big success for them, even if it isn’t really.”
- The Guardian,