Some thought my list as to the priorities people might have when considering who to vote for, which I published yesterday, was a little lacking on the environmental front. I did not list green issues as a priority in their own right. The suggestion that they are comes from articles like this, published in the Independent, yesterday:
More than half of people say climate change is such an important issue it will influence how they vote in the next general election, new research suggests.
Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of people believe politicians are not discussing the issue of climate change enough in the run up to the next national vote, the poll for environmental lawyers ClientEarth found.
Against a backdrop of protests by Extinction Rebellion and school strikers calling for urgent efforts to tackle rising temperatures, seven in 10 people think the climate emergency demands swifter action.
Don’t get me wrong: I am delighted that this is true. And I have no doubt that for some this is the issue of the election.
I am also well aware that because an issue is the focus of a survey, and garners support as a result, does not make it the issue that determines all a person’s actions.
I firmly believe in the importance of environmental issues. It is another of my reasons for suggesting that people vote ABC - Anything But Conservative. That is because I doubt their environmental commitment.
But for swing voters I also suspect that support for the environment alone is not enough. We are not in David Cameron’s ‘hug a husky’ era now. We’re at the point where environment has ceased to be an option and is a life-changing agenda. And in that case people need to know that the environmental choice that they make is also the one that meets their other needs for good jobs, strong services, good housing, accessible and sustainable transport, manageable fuel bills, and more. They also need reassurance that the changes can be managed financially (which they can be).
This is why I focussed on these other issues yesterday. My point was and is that green issues are the priority for some, and that’s good news. But what the Green New Deal does (and I did, of course, conclude with it yesterday) is make that green choice the rational, and best, choice for all those other reasons as well.
Maybe I am wrong to think green is still a choice, when it isn’t because it is a necessity.
And maybe I am also wrong to think people don’t realise and know that, although this poll seems to suggest most do.
But what I am quite sure of is that people do not know, as yet, that the Green New Deal not only gives them a chance in the future, it also gives them the best chance now. And that is why these other issues matter as well, because they show that to be true.