By Maggie Sawant, Students' Union Correspondent
On Wednesday 4 December, Caroline Lucas, former leader of the Green Party and the party's only MP, and Carla Denyer, the Green Bristol West candidate in the upcoming election, spoke to a crowd of potential voters at Boston Tea Party on Park Street.
Caroline and Carla discussed Brexit and the climate emergency, particularly focusing on the party’s ‘Green New Deal’ enshrined in their manifesto, before taking questions from the audience.
When a member of the audience stated that her ‘biggest problem with the Green Party’s tactics’ was their ‘bashing of Labour’ and questioned the Green Party’s failure to wholeheartedly support Labour in the upcoming election, Lucas affirmed that the Greens ‘would absolutely work with Labour’.
'If the Labour party can't pick up enough votes it is because their policies aren't good enough.'
However, she stated that the Greens ‘don’t think Corbyn is going to move fast enough on the climate crisis. I don’t want to bash Jeremy, but I want to push him, and the best way to push him is from the outside.’
‘If the Labour party can’t pick up enough votes it is because their policies aren’t good enough,’ Denyer added.
In an interview with UBTV, Bethy, a second year languages student, said that she ‘really loves Caroline Lucas and everything that she stands for’, but that she will not be voting Green as she decided ‘to vote at home tactically’ because she ‘hates’ her Conservative MP at home.
She also added that if she voted in Bristol West, she would not be voting Green: ‘I’m not entirely sure [that I would vote Green] because I really do like the Labour party candidate here.’
‘I really love Caroline Lucas and everything that she stands for…but I don’t think I will be voting Green because I have decided to vote at home tactically because I hate my Tory MP’
Ethan, a second year Cellular and Molecular Medicine student, said his ‘main problem’ with the Green party was ‘their stance on nuclear weapons’.
However, he stated that ‘after talking to Caroline and hearing her justification of why they want to remove nuclear weapons, and the money that is wasted on nuclear weapons, it really did help me decide who I am going to vote for.’
Otto, a second year history student, told UBTV that the defining issue for him in this election is climate change, stating, ‘I think we’ve been a bit naïve about the climate in the last few years and I think the Green party have got quite a strong focus on it.’
‘Having more green MPs in Parliament is really important in furthering discussion about it.’
‘I think we’ve been a bit naïve about the climate in the last few years and I think the Green party have got quite a strong focus on it.’
Moreover, as Labour received over four times the votes as Conservatives in Bristol West in the 2017 general election, Denyer stated that voting Green here ‘is a great opportunity to get more Greens in the Houses of Parliament without any negative side effects.’
‘It is a no-regrets policy to vote Green – the worst that could happen is we get the Labour party candidate (Thangam Debbonaire) we had before. And she’s okay.’
‘In Bristol West you do not have to vote tactically - the Tories cannot and will not win this seat.’
Denyer then added that ‘Bristol is at its heart a Green city. In the European Union elections, the Greens won in Bristol West, receiving more votes than any other party in the constituency by 17,000.’
Lucas stated that ‘in Bristol West you do not have to vote tactically – the Tories cannot and will not win this seat.’
The Bristol Green Soc, who organised the event, told Epigram, ‘We were all delighted to have Caroline take the time to come and speak to Bristol University students.’
‘We'd love to see Carla alongside Caroline in Parliament following this election, pushing other parties to adopt stronger policies on issues ranging from the environment, housing, student fees, transport and more.’
‘Caroline will be back on campus Monday 9th Dec to chat to students betwee 11am-1pm. Follow your heart in Bristol West and Vote Green!’
Featured: Bristol Green Soc / Kat Driscoll
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