Green Party (UK)

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The Green Party of the United Kingdom – now succeeded by three Green parties (the Scottish Green Party, that of England and Wales, and that in Northern Ireland) – was originally formed as PEOPLE/the Ecology Party in Coventry in 1973, with the first edition of Manifesto for a Sustainable Society as the party's statement of philosophy and policies. This document was inspired by Blueprint for Survival, published by The Ecologist. The party changed its name to become the Green Party in the 1980s.

In 1973 policy concerns included economics, employment, defence, energy (fuel) supplies, land tenure, pollution and social security, as then seen within an ecological perspective. "Zero growth" (or "steady state") economics were a strong feature in the party's philosophical basis and the all-UK party became a persistent and growing presence in general elections and European elections, fielding often enough candidates to qualify for television and radio election broadcasts.

As the Ecology Party, with Jonathon Porritt as a prominent member and an election manifesto called The Real Alternative, the party fielded over 50 candidates in the general election of 1979, and so qualified for election broadcasts on television and radio. The party received 39,918 votes and membership jumped tenfold, from about 500 to over 5,000.

Again as the Ecology Party the party fielded over 100 candidates in the 1983 general election and took 54,299 votes.

The party was the Green Party in the 1987 general election and took 89,753 votes.

In the 1989 European election the Green Party won 2 million votes, and received 15% of the overall vote. At this time however European elections in the UK were run on a purely first past the post basis and therefore the party failed to gain any seats. Nontheless mainstream political parties were alarmed by the party's election performance and adopted some "Green policies" in an attempt to counter the threat.

In the 1990s both the Scottish and Northern Irish wings of the party established themselves as separate entities. As a result there is presently no single constituted Green Party for the entire country but the three UK parties co-operate closely.

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