|National Secretary||Lesley Whittaker|
|Merger of||Club of Thirteen|
Movement for Survival
|Succeeded by||Ecology Party|
The PEOPLE Party was a political party in the United Kingdom, founded in February 1972. It was the first Green political party in the United Kingdom and Europe as a whole, and the political predecessor of the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Greens and the Green Party Northern Ireland.
In the winter of 1972 Lesley Whittaker, a surveyor and property agent, bought a copy of Playboy magazine in which there was an interview with Paul R. Ehrlich about overpopulation. This article inspired Whittaker and her husband Tony, a former Kenilworth councillor for the Conservative Party, to form a small group of professional and business people called 'Club of Thirteen', so named because it first met on 13 November 1972 in Daventry. This 'Club' included surveyors and property agents Freda Sanders and Michael Benfield, who had similar ideas to the Whittakers, and worked with them in their practice in Coventry.
Many in this 'Club' were wary of forming a political party however after a few weeks in November 1972 the Whittakers, Sanders and Benfield agreed to form 'PEOPLE' as a new political party to challenge the UK political establishment. Its policy concerns published in 1973 included economics, employment, defence, energy (fuel) supplies, land tenure, pollution and social security, as then seen within an ecological perspective. Subsequently recognized as perhaps the world's earliest Green party this had the first edition of the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society as a background statement of policies inspired by A Blueprint for Survival (published by The Ecologist magazine). The editor of The Ecologist, Edward 'Teddy' Goldsmith (elder brother of the financier James Goldsmith), merged his Italian 'Movement for Survival' with PEOPLE. Goldsmith became one of the leading members of the new party during the 1970s.
The party stood six candidates in the February 1974 General Election. They received a total of 4,576. The party lost all of its deposits by failing to win 12.5% of the votes cast, namely a total of £900 (equivalent to £9,400 in 2019). Lesley Whittaker and Edward Goldsmith were two of the six who stood in the election.
|Coventry North East||Alan H Pickard||1,332||2.8||3|
|Coventry North West||Lesley Whittaker||1,542||3.9||3|
|Leeds North East||Clive Lord||300||0.7||4|
|Liverpool West Derby||D B Pascoe||388||0.9||4|
Membership rose and the party stood five candidates in the October General Election which cost the party £750. This affected preparations for that election, when PEOPLE's average vote fell to just 0.7%.
|Birmingham Northfield||Elizabeth A Davenport||359||0.7||4|
|Coventry North West||Lesley Whittaker||313||0.8||4|
|Leeds East||Norma Russell||327||0.7||4|
|Romford||L H C Sampson||200||0.5||4|
Party co-founder Tony Whittaker noted in an interview with Derek Wall '… voters did not connect PEOPLE with ecology. What I wanted was something that the media could look up in their files so that, when they wanted a spokesman of the issue of ecology, they could find the Ecology Party and pick up the phone. It was as brutal and basic as that. PEOPLE didn't communicate what we had hoped it would communicate'.
Derek Wall, in his history of the Green Party, contends that the new political movement focused initially on the theme of survival, which shaped the "bleak evolution" of the nascent ecological party during the 1970s. Furthermore, the effect of the "revolution of values" during the 1960s would come later. In Wall's eyes, the party suffered from a lack of media attention and "opposition from many environmentalists", which contrasted the experience of other emerging Green parties, such as Germany's Die Grünen. Nonetheless, PEOPLE invested much of its resources in engaging with the indifferent environmental movement, which Wall calls a "tactical mistake".
- Values Party, considered the first national-level environmental party world-wide
- "The Green Party: a short history". The Independent. November 23, 2014.
- Encyclopedia of Ecology and Environmental Management. John Wiley & Sons. 15 July 2009. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-4443-1324-6.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-17. Retrieved 2015-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Derek Wall (2006-10-17). "Another Green World: green party hist ch1, pt 2". Another-green-world.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
- As winning at least 12.5% of votes was required between 1918 and 1985 to obtain a refund of a candidate's deposit.
- F. W. S. Craig, Minor Parties at British Parliamentary Elections, p.77
- Wall, Derek, Weaving a Bower Against Endless Night: An Illustrated History of the Green Party, 1994