Dream of Big Society conceals a nightmare, say Greens

By staff writers
October 8, 2010

The Green Party of England and Wales has said that Prime Minister David Cameron's dream of a Big Society is “hiding a nightmare of socially devastating cuts”.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas attacked Cameron's comments in his speech to the Conservative Party conference this week, disputing his claim that the cuts are the only way to address the UK's economic problems. She described the cuts agenda as an “ideological choice”.

David Cameron told Tory delegates that, “I wish there was another way. I wish there was an easier way. But I have to tell you there is no other responsible way.”

But Lucas insisted, “There is an easier and better way, a way that will avoid hurting a lot of innocent bystanders through savage cuts”.

She explained, “If we increase taxes on the highest incomes, scrap expensive and irrelevant projects like Trident, transfer money from road-building to public transport and get tough on tax avoidance and evasion, we could afford a major public investment programme that would create hundreds of thousands of jobs while transforming the economy to help tackle climate change”.

Lucas, who became the first Green MP in the UK when she was elected to represent Brighton Pavilion this year, accused the Prime Minister of being “in denial”.

"He talked about how irresponsible it would be to leave our children to pay our debts,” she said, “But that’s exactly what inaction on climate change is doing. In fact, listening to Cameron, you wouldn’t think there was a climate crisis at all.”

The Tory leader has already come under fire from groups such as Friends of the Earth for failing to mention climate change in his speech.

Lucas went on, ““He described the NHS as ‘protected’ but in fact it’s still under threat of privatisation. He said those on higher incomes must contribute more, but his changes to child benefit do so in a way that is patently unfair.”

The Green leader also attacked the Prime Minister's comments on education, saying that tuition fees are likely to soar under the coalition, meaning that education will “become more about the haves versus the have-nots”.

Lucas added, “He said he will give people power, such as to choose what school their kids will go to. But the issue isn’t choice, it’s making sure every child has a place at a good local school.”

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