The last decade or so has been one of turmoil. We have witnessed illegal invasions of sovereign nations against the public will. We are still recovering from one of the biggest financial meltdowns in recent history. As time goes by the gap between the rich and poor grows greater and our nation stands deeply dived thanks in large to privately funded politicians and their rhetoric of hate and fear. If history is anything to go by we are at a critical point right now, it’s sink or swim and that’s why I chose to join the Green Party.
After years of apathy I voted for the first time in the general election of 2010. That turned out to be a regretful decision as I was one of those who voted for the Lib Dems. I envisaged hope in the message of then Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg who promised among other things to increase the tax threshold and lower education fees. What actually happened was the Lib Dems formed a coalition with the Conservative party beginning the era of austerity that continues to this day.
Things hadn’t exactly been great prior to the 2010 election. Just a few years back Prime Minister Gordon Brown bailed out broken financial institutions to the tune of Billions of pounds of tax payer money. Going further back Tony Blair invaded Afghanistan then Iraq while nurturing the rise of far right hate and Islamaphobia, something which affected me directly as a Muslim. To this day when I go out in public they very least abuse I can expect is to be ogled at by people filled with suspicion and irrational hatred fueled by the media’s daily tirade of negative and more often than not false reporting on Muslims.
I didn’t know much about the Green Party until 2015. The most I had heard about The Greens was from sneering schoolboys in Kent referring to them as ‘Tree Huggers’. That was back in 1992 when I cared little for politics. It took me another 23 years to discover a party that cared for the environment but equally cared about social justice. It was the Greens in 2015 who carried a message of hope when all the other major parties simply wanted more austerity, more wars and more pandering to big business.
Despite the massive surge in Green membership in 2015 a flawed voting system and a weak Labour party allowed the Conservatives to win the general election of that year with a small majority. Much has happened since then. Labour has a new leader aligned with their traditional left wing values but the party remains largely at loggerheads with it’s new leader and the media waste no efforts in smearing him. The Brexit vote exposed a deep and bitter divide between the people of the UK. What gives me hope in light of this is being a member of a political party with a unified vision.
It was the strong message of solidarity with refugees fleeing their war torn homes that prompted me to become a member of The Green Party in 2015. Along with their support for refugees, the Greens have actively supported the poor, the disabled and most vulnerable. Indeed our single MP in parliament Caroline Lucas has campaigned tirelessly in defence of the NHS and for a return to public ownership of our railways. Caroline has been a consistent and resilient opponent of privatisation and of wasteful and life threatening so called ‘defence systems‘ like the Trident Nuclear Programme.
A recent YouGov poll indicated that UK voters see The Greens surpassing both the Lib Dems and UKIP in terms of staying power. I believe that whatever happens my party will remain a party rooted in the values of justice and fairness. I believe Green values will be a strong counter narrative to the populist right wing austerity of our current government. That’s why I’m a loyal Green and I intend on staying that way.
Learn more about The Green Party, it’s policies and principles here