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We have local elections on May 2


an-inconvenient-truth, green party, UkipElections will be held for 34 English councils and one in Wales on 2 May.

That is very soon, so hunt out your poll card, find the polling station on the map, if you haven’t already… and then try not to forget to go and vote.

Given what we know about what the ‘three main parties’ talk about, I had a look at two of the other runners.

The Green Party of England and Wales is fielding 1,000 candidates in elections to 27 county councils and unitary authorities on 2 May.

It will be Natalie Bennett‘s first campaign as party leader since she succeeded MP Caroline Lucas in the role in September.

The Green Party had 17 councillors elected in 2009, and gained 40 seats in last year’s elections.

This year they are making their opposition to government welfare cuts – including housing benefit caps dubbed by critics as the “bedroom tax” – a central theme of their campaign, and Green councillors up and down the country already are fighting to ensure people affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ do not face eviction.

They say they will introduce a number of strong measures to promote gender equality and safeguard women’s rights including equal pay audits, shared maternity and paternity leave and better support for women in need.

They also support a “living wage” for low-paid workers.

The Greens are also campaigning against the environmental damage done by the building of waste incinerators, which is a major local issue in some areas, and calling for housing developments on green belt land to be blocked and the money spent instead on the renovation of 720,000 currently empty properties and for 20mph speed limits on more roads, to tackle pollution, cut casualties and encourage cycling and walking.

“We are speaking up for a different kind of economy,” Natalie Bennett told BBC Two’s Daily Politics recently.

“We are saying globalisation and neo-liberalism has hit its limits. We are saying we need strong local economies built around small businesses and shops.

“We are speaking up for a whole range of things and speaking against the government’s cuts and speaking up for proper services.”

While the Greens are quite clear about stating their intentions, Ukip’s manifesto only says councillors ‘are expected to follow the best interests of their constituents’, not just toe the party line ‘as the other parties instruct theirs to do’.

‘That’s why we don’t prescribe what they will do’, the manifesto continues, although it does raise diverse issues.

Ukip does, however, seem to support coal-fired power and oppose wind farms; want to stop funding the UN’s climate change panel and wants to ban schools from showing Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth.

But Ukip, like many insurgent parties, is about grievances, as the Guardian reported recently.

The politicians don’t listen to ordinary people, Farage said – and as Ukip supporters say frequently – when actually, the Guardian’s Michael White pointed out, ‘they listen all the time but struggle to reconcile what people “want” with the reality of hard choices in public policy’.

‘Immigration is a classic example, as you may notice next time you visit a hospital’.

The only female MEPs ever elected by Ukip have both left the party, claiming there is a sexist attitude at the top of the organisation.

Marta Andreasen, who has since joined the Conservatives, said Ukip leader Nigel Farage and others were “very dismissive and disrespectful” when discussing legislation that affects women.

“The general attitude was that we would never support anything that was in favour of women.

“He told me that his attitude was that women who are at the age of being able to give birth to children should not be employed because they are a burden to their companies. It is a very extreme position.

“He does not discuss with you, because you are a lower-level human being,” she said.

Nikki Sinclaire, MEP for the West Midlands said she had faced many years of sexism from the party.

Ukip, she said, used to hold national executive meetings in men-only gentlemen’s clubs in central London such as the Caledonian Club.

“I was allowed to attend the actual meeting but could not join the rest of the NEC in the bar, where the eventual decisions were actually made,” she added. She left Ukip and is now an Independent MEP.

And Farage was asked recently if it was appropriate for Ukip to field a council candidate in Abingdon who owned a lapdancing club.

His answer?

He said: “Sounds to me like he is a free market entrepreneur. Providing he is operating properly within the law I am absolutely delighted we have real people, from the real world, running for Ukip rather than the cardboard cutouts.”

Real world? Thought lapdancing was feeding fantasy. That is what it says about stag nights in the blurb. No, I am not linking to that.

And after admitting to unwittingly going to a lapdancing club in Starbourg, he remarked that “back in the 1980s working in the City I might have been to one or two of these establishments.”

As if the ‘back’ in the 1980s makes it any less sick.

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