15 May 2019
Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party's MEP for South West England & Gibraltar, put a strong and well received case for a pro-Remain Green vote at a hustings event in Branksome, Poole, on Tuesday with candidates from other parties.
In her opening statement, Molly said that she was pleased we are having European Parliament elections, because we are still in the EU where we belong. She highlighted her leadership on tax justice, on fairer and more sustainable farming, and on strong Climate Emergency action including a Green New Deal, and that the Green Party is concerned with a real offer for our least well-off communities.
Questions to the panel included how to heal the divisions caused by the EU referendum. Molly answered that the context for our unrest is Tory austerity; Brexit will make people poorer, making our social problems harder to solve. She added that people feel locked out of both prosperity and political power, and we need a people's constitutional convention.
Molly later answered that on Brexit. "shouting the loudest does not mean you are winning the argument". Pointing to polls now indicating support for Remain as high as 60%, she added that "in a democracy, if we recognise we have made a mistake we have the right to change our minds".
Asked about the effect of leaving the EU on our tacking of the climate crisis, Molly argued that it will make it harder. She pointed to the ability of MEPs to work to block a Latin American trade deal untiil the Brazilian president stops chopping down the rainforest. [Watch short video clip of answer on Twitter...]
On the purported benefits of Brexit, Molly answered that these usually involve a long string of abstract nouns, which she doesn't find very impressive when farmers and many others around the South West face real ruin to their livelihoods.
On the peacemaking role of the EU, Molly said that the EU was conceived as a peace-building project to honour fallen colleagues. She argued the EU has held us together in a lifetime of peace, supported by free movement, twinning and Erasmus.
On the role of the EU in tackling Climate Emergency, Molly answered that the most important action for the EU is to introduce a carbon tax. She said we need much more investment in renewable energy - where our EU membership has tempered Conservative Government funding cuts - and in public transport.
Asked finally to put the case for voting Green in seven words, Molly said: "No to Brexit, yes to climate action."