Struan Stevenson: Greens are the watermelon party

Party leader Natalie Bennett portrays the Greens as 'the People's Party'. Picture: Getty
Party leader Natalie Bennett portrays the Greens as 'the People's Party'. Picture: Getty
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Under the skin, they are red in tooth and claw, writes Struan Stevenson. And they would send us scuttling back to the dark ages

ANYONE swithering about voting Green at the general election should read on. Each time the Greens’ UK leader, Natalie Bennett, has appeared on TV she has promised a fairer, compassionate Britain, with a comfortable life for all. She portrays the Greens as “the People’s Party”, professing an end to austerity, increased benefits, a new wealth tax and a Robin Hood tax on banks, all set against the background of a “zero-carbon” economy.

It’s all super-cuddly, fluffy-bunny twaddle, until you scrape the surface and discover what lies beneath, which is really scary.

I had to work with the Greens for 15 years in the European Parliament. We called them the “watermelons”, because they are green on the outside and red in the middle. Their Policy Book, published earlier this year, and their manifesto for the general election certainly exposes this fact. Far from making Britain into a comfortable, fairer society where we could all live in harmonious bliss, their Luddite and Marxist policies would derail the economy and send us scuttling back to the dark ages.

They loathe the one thing that could transform the lives of ordinary Britons and provide everyone with a more comfortable life: economic growth.

The Greens want to re-nationalise virtually all public services, including the Post Office, railways, airports and seaports. They will ban the construction of new airports, runways or roads and impose extra taxes on airlines to reduce passenger numbers, so that they can end the “high-carbon lifestyle”.

Caroline Lucas, their sole MP at Westminster, said that this innovative policy would stop “cheap stag nights in Riga”. In other words, low-cost airlines, which have opened up international travel for everyone, will be hammered, ensuring that our poorest citizens have no option but to stay at home to enjoy the benefits of a Green-controlled Britain. At least they’ll have the advantage of a completely decriminalised sex industry, according to the Green Party Policy Book. The party also proposes that parents can enjoy two years paid leave from work, giving them the chance to visit the British countryside, festooned with tens of thousands of giant industrial wind turbines in pursuit of their daft obsession with wind energy.

But the Green baloney doesn’t end there. According to the Green Party’s Policy Book, mere membership of al-Qaeda, the IRA or other listed terrorist organisations would no longer constitute a criminal offence. In any case, they want to see a significant reduction in the number of people sent to prison, with only those in danger of vigilante violence being jailed.

In a Britain where the Greens will abolish the monarchy, abandon our nuclear deterrent and turn military bases into wind turbine factories, they also intend to leave Nato and end the special-relationship with the US.

Recognising that the creation of this nirvana may attract hundreds of thousands of additional immigrants, they propose to relax border controls and provide an amnesty for all illegal immigrants after five years.

In my many battles with the Greens in the European Parliament, none was more alarming than their attempt to ban deep-water trawling below 200 metres. The suggestion that such trawls could be substituted by fishing with long-lines was astonishingly naïve and ill-considered and, as always, failed to take account of the true facts and the socio-economic impacts. To suggest, for example, that Scottish skippers in the West Highlands, who fish on the slope of the Continental Shelf down to depths of 900 metres, catching sustainable whitefish such as megrim, pollock and monkfish, should start using hooks and lines, was simply preposterous.

The Greens’ proposal for an outright ban would have closed down entire small ports and rural communities such as Kinlochbervie. Their policy commitment to achieve a “zero-carbon economy” means no fracking, no oil and gas and total reliance on expensive and intermittent renewable energy.

Massive subsidies for giant wind turbines are passed directly down the line to consumers, driving our electricity bills sky high and, after the enforced closure of our remaining nuclear power stations, we will face energy blackouts every time the wind stops blowing.

This is the Green Party’s vision of a compassionate and fair society, where business and industry have been brought to their knees and economic growth has been effectively stifled. This was made clear by Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Greens, in a newspaper article when he said that capitalism “will end because it must”.

According to the Green Party’s manifesto, paying for the newly re-nationalised industries, the massive promised increase in benefits, the mandatory living wage of £10 per hour, the 500,000 new social rented homes and a welter of other ill-considered proposals will apparently be the responsibility of the rich who will be taxed to the hilt. What happens when they finally flee abroad from this Green paradise and leave us to pick up the tab ourselves has apparently not occurred to Natalie Bennett and her Marxist chums. The party that spins itself as compassionate and caring and which promotes an end to austerity would, in fact, like us all to live in an eco-austere hell. The Greens really are the watermelon party.

Struan Stevenson was a Conservative MEP for Scotland between 1999 and 2014. He was president of the European Parliament’s climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development intergroup.