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Green Party leader answers questions from BBC debate he was excluded from

25 Jun 2024 6 minute read
Anthony Slaughter. Picture by the Green Party.

Emily Price

Nation.Cymru has given the Welsh Greens the chance to answer questions put to political leaders in a live televised debate that the party was excluded from taking part in.

Last week, Wales Green Party Leader Anthony Slaughter called on BBC Wales to reverse its decision not to include his party in its TV election debate hosted by Bethan Rhys Roberts.

The programme platformed representatives from the “five most prominent political parties” in Wales.

It featured Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Vaughan Gething, Conservative David TC Davies, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth, Jane Dodds for the Lib Dems and Oliver Lewis for Reform UK.

Mr Slaughter argued against the BBC’s decision to include Reform because the party has no elected representation in Wales – unlike the Greens – and is not standing a full slate in Wales as the Welsh Greens are.

The BBC said it took into account “a number of considerations” when deciding which leaders to include in the programme such as past electoral performance in equivalent elections over at least two electoral cycles.

The broadcaster also said it had given “due weight to robust patterns in relevant opinion polls” and took into account the number of constituencies each party is fielding candidates.

After the general election debate aired on Friday (June 21), Nation.Cymru made contact with the Welsh Greens and gave the party’s leader the opportunity to answer all the questions that had been put to other participants in the programme.

What will you do to help people in the cost-of-living crisis?

This General Election is taking place during a very difficult time for many people in Wales. We have the highest levels of poverty and social exclusion in the UK and the legacy of years of Tory austerity is continuing to make things worse. The fall-out from Brexit is also contributing to worsening conditions and rising prices. This ongoing crisis has left too many people struggling to afford daily basics, using foodbanks and having to choose between eating and heating.

With the right political choices, we can do so much better. Elected Greens will campaign for Universal Credit to be increased by £40 a week and to lift the cruel two-child benefit cap lifting many thousands of children out of poverty.

We would seek to introduce a minimum wage of £15 an hour for all over the age of 16 with the costs to small businesses offset by reducing their National Insurance payments. Greens would also campaign to introduce rent controls and end zero fault
evictions. Our plans for a mass retrofit of the housing stock would reduce people’s energy bills and create thousands of new green jobs.

How do you plan to fight for the survival of our NHS?

The NHS UK-wide faces the worst crisis in its 80-year history, with patients dying in ambulances, record waiting lists for surgery, and cancer survival rates amongst the worst in the developed world. This is all the result of deliberate underfunding by a Westminster government intent on paving the way for privatisation of our precious NHS, compounded in Wales by years of mismanagement and incompetence from the Welsh Government.

Greens would protect and restore a fully public and properly funded linked NHS and social care system, putting more money into the NHS than any other party including at least an additional £2.5 billion in Wales by ensuring fairer funding. Unlike Labour or Conservatives, we would ensure that the NHS remains publicly owned.

Elected Greens would push for increased funding for primary care with the aim of providing same day access to a GP and an immediate boost to the pay of NHS staff, including the restoration of junior doctors’ pay, to help with staff retention.

Has the discussion on immigration during this election been too negative?

Yes, there has been a dismal race to the bottom on this issue from other parties. Treating vulnerable people as mere numbers in an obscene media bidding war and the deliberate use of dehumanising language is a disgrace and very damaging to political discourse, and puts vulnerable communities in threat of real danger.

Greens welcome the essential contributions that immigrants and refugees make to our society. We want to be welcoming, promote social cohesion and support migrants to lay down roots. Green MPs would push for: an end to the hostile environment, ensure safe routes to sanctuary for those fleeing persecution and an end to immigration detention for all migrants unless they are a danger to public safety. We also believe that those seeking asylum and protection should be permitted to work while their application is being decided.

What would you do to restore faith in politicians?

Unsurprisingly, not one of the politicians on the panel actually answered this question which only serves to underline why so many people have lost faith in politicians. For too long, too many politicians have acted as though they are above rules and laws, and all too often arrogantly dismissed or ignored any questioning or scrutiny of their behaviour.

From the Conservative government partying at Westminster while we were all in Covid lockdown, to a new Welsh First Minister who has no qualms about accepting eye-wateringly large donations from an individual convicted of environmental crimes the list goes on and public cynicism and weariness is very understandable.

We believe that obscenely large sums of money should have no place in our politics, especially in elections, both public and internal. Our elected representatives and public bodies should strive for the highest levels of honesty and transparency and not hide behind weak regulations that allow them to avoid meaningful scrutiny as is the case with the Welsh Government refusing to hold a Wales specific Covid public inquiry.

The unasked question.

One possible result of Wales Green Party being excluded from the BBC Wales debate was the absence of any meaningful discussion on the most pressing issue of our lifetimes – the Climate and Nature Crises and the need for urgent and radical action to tackle these and to reach net zero by 2040.

Our Wales Green Party manifesto lays out our bold and radical plans to tackle these crises. From retrofitting all homes to ensure lower energy bills, to investing in the infrastructure needed to kickstart the Green Industrial Revolution, ensuring a Just Transition for workers in in heavily carbonised industries, cleaning up our rivers and seas and much more.

Unlike other parties we are honest and upfront about the scale and urgency of these crises and the resources need to tackle them, and our bold, radical plans to fund these plans through changes to taxation. In particular this includes the introduction of a Wealth Tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires. It is fair and just that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden.


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SImmo
SImmo
19 days ago

“The BBC said it took into account “a number of considerations” when deciding which leaders to include in the programme …” The Reform Party, I understand, do not have any elected representatives at any political level – so were they effectively there only on the strength of their current polling ? I understand that there is no Green representative in the Senedd, but there is at councillor level in Wales; and, as pointed out in the article, the Green Party is fielding a full set of candidates in Wales. So – I would be interested for the BBC to elaborate on… Read more »

Garycymru
Garycymru
19 days ago

This is the first actual example I’ve heard of the greens having their say uninterrupted. While other lesser news outlets, and the social media platforms have made up absolute nonsense about their party, spreading misinformation on a whim, and in turn damaging Welsh democracy, it was refreshing to hear what they have to say.

Karl
Karl
19 days ago

Nice to see those who are elected here, get a voice. The BBC is the gutter of media, out for hate and discourse to drive viewership. Rather than asking useful questions. I did not watch as I don’t fund hate and am sick of the immigration nonsense and lack ofbrexit discussion.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
19 days ago

I hadn’t watched the programme as the green party was excluded so thank you Nation.Cymru for this article.

There are only 2 parties I would ever consider voting for—Plaid Cymru (definitely for Senedd elections) or Y Blaid Werdd.

Mark
Mark
19 days ago

Spend more money on benefits. Spend more money on the minimum wage. Spend more money on housing. Spend more money on the NHS. Spend more money housing & feeding immigrants. Spend more money chasing net zero. It seems the Green Party’s answer to any question is to spend more money. Taxes are already the highest in living memory. The national debt is already the highest it has ever been. And the Greens response is spend, spend, spend. The idea that we can take from the rich to give to the poor is not unlimited. It is already the case that… Read more »

Glen
Glen
19 days ago
Reply to  Mark

The Greens can promise the moon on a stick because thankfully these loons will never be in power.

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