Organisation of economy breeding 'discontent and suffering', says new UK Green

Molly Scott Cato, the UK's newest Green MEP, talks to the Parliament Magazine about her election and what she plans to do now that she's in Brussels.

By Kayleigh Rose Lewis

08 Jul 2014

In an election where much of the UK swung to the right, with UKIP gaining ground across the country, it might seem surprising to see a Green taking a seat in the South West, but Scott Cato doesn't think so.

"We didn't see a shift to the right in the south west," says the newly elected MEP, "We replaced a Tory and Lib Dem with a Labour and a Green."

Of course, this view hardly gives the victory due credit, although the liberals took a drubbing across the UK, it was veteran ALDE MEP Graham Watson and double Olympic medallist James Cracknell of the Conservatives who lost out to female deputies Scott Cato and Clare Moody.

"I'm not convinced that the Greens are Left, I think a lot of what I think and say makes sense across the political spectrum"

Cato explains, "The votes that were most fluid were the Liberal Democrat ones, which is what I targeted during my campaign.

"Their voters have very similar values and desires to ours but usually don't believe voting Green will make a difference.

"This time my campaign team and I convinced them that it would, hence the victory," says Cato, as though the outcome were inevitable.

And as for how she sees the Greens politically, she says, "I'm not convinced that the Greens are Left, I think a lot of what I think and say makes sense across the political spectrum."

"There will be a battle on to keep genetically modified crops out of Europe because the lobbying pressure is very strong"

Turning her attention to what she plans to do now that she's been elected, Cato told this website, "I am a green economist because I think the origins of ecological crisis lies in the way our economy is organised, which breeds a lot of discontent and suffering.

"So I will be on the economic and monetary affairs committee, working with others to regulate banks so that they work for the common good rather than narrowly in the interests of their shareholders.

Adding, "It would also be good to challenge the hegemonic growth narrative and start to encourage people to think about what the economy does and who it serves, rather than how big it is."

Cato also has a substitute place on the agriculture and rural affairs committee, which she says "is obviously very relevant to the South West".

"There will be a battle on to keep genetically modified crops out of Europe because the lobbying pressure is very strong," she continued.

Cato was also critical of lobbyists that were "attacking the precautionary principle, as in the recent case of Syngenta persuading the government to seek an exemption for them from the ban on neonicotinoids, in spite of the evidence that they are damaging to bees.

"So," Cato concluded, "I will be defending nature and small family farms against agribusinesses, as much as I can."

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