Bartley calls for youth empowerment in co-leader’s speech

Opening the Green Party’s autumn conference in Newport, co-leader Jonathan Bartley outlined the party’s plans to drive a youth agenda for green transformation.

 An image of Jonathan Bartley at the 2019 autumn conference
 An image of Jonathan Bartley at the 2019 autumn conference
Imogen Benson

At the Green Party autumn conference in Newport today (4 October), co-leader Jonathan Bartley laid out the party’s vision for a radical green transformation.

Praising the impact of youth action, Bartley explained that the Greens will put young people at the heart of politics: “Today I’m setting out how the Greens would give young people real power. Not just votes at 16 but the right to stand for Parliament and a Future Generations Act to require young people to be taken into account before every government decision.

“We will also set up a Young Person Select Committee, made up of representatives from the Youth Parliament with the power to scrutinise and hold the government to account.”

Bartley also announced that the Green Party intends to abolish the Home Office, installing a Climate Chancellor to ensure that all political decisions are judged against their environmental impact. The party will also create a fairer immigration system, closing migration detention centres and halving the prison population.

Addressing the party’s plans for a Green New Deal, Bartley called for a green transport revolution, explaining that the Greens will halt HS2 and instead invest £70 billion in local transport networks, delivering free bus travel for everyone across the country.

“We are setting out a green vision for wholesale, urgent transformation - of agriculture, of transport, of industry, of energy, the very way we live and work.” 

Condemning airport expansion, Bartley announced that the party will stop the excessive flying of the super-rich by introducing a progressive frequent flyer levy, whilst also aiming to bring an end to diesel and petrol cars by 2030.

The co-leader’s speech also highlighted the importance of green jobs, with Bartley pushing for “high value, low carbon” professions, such as teaching and nursing, to form the “backbone” of an economy driven by environmental objectives rather than corporate greed. 

With the party recently reaching 50,000 members, Bartley affirmed the need for grassroots action. Calling for local authorities to be the engines of green transformation, Bartley said: “Imagine what 160 local authorities who passed Climate Emergency motions could do with greater power.” 

Turning to Brexit, Bartley called for a People’s Vote to remain in the EU, stating: “We may disagree with those on the other side of the debate. We may disagree with the corruption of the referendum. But that is not a reason to ignore and sideline those who voted to leave.”

Bartley concluded: “This can be a new start. The best days of Britain can still be ahead of us.  We need a decisive break from business as usual, and we are ready to make the leap. The Green Party has always been on the right side of history. The time is now to shape our future.”