General Election 2010: Greens say 'wide open' election is chance for small parties

THE Scottish Green Party has launched its General Election manifesto with a promise to inject colour into Westminster politics if it wins a seat.

Party officials set out their stall for a more equal society created by imposing higher taxes.

They also favour scrapping nuclear programmes, such as Trident, and the ID card scheme.

Patrick Harvie, MSP and party co-convener, said the "wide open" election gave minority parties their greatest chance ever to send an MP to Westminster.

He said: "This election has been described as wide open. It's an invitation to start bringing more diversity into the UK parliament, just as we brought fresh ideas and new thinking into the Scottish Parliament.

"It could be the breakthrough election for the Greens."

Mr Harvie said that the first-past-the-post voting system had always been "a significant hurdle for a small party".

But he said that, for the first time, the predictions were for a "balanced", or hung, parliament.

Eleanor Scott, party co-convener and candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said the party's achievements in the Scottish Parliament, with just two MSPs, stood them in good stead at a UK level.

She said: "There is no doubt that green votes matter, but it's only Green politicians who can make that real difference to turn around the tired politics of the past.

"A political party that provides true colour amongst the bland political shades of the others."

The Greens are fielding 20 candidates across Scotland.

Their policies include ending means-tested benefits, replacing the job seekers allowance with a "citizens income", increasing the minimum wage and curbing the power of "megabanks" by splitting them up.