Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Support for Peace, Hope and Energy

As a Scottish Green Party Politician, I am inspired by the possibilities of Scottish Independence. Independence is a chance to change Scotland for the better, not stick with business as usual. Scottish Independence offers the opportunity to create a new political landscape and to initiate genuine institutional renewal. We want increased influence of  local government and communities in the decision-making affecting their lives.

With its origins in the UK-wide Green Party, originally founded in 1973 as ‘People’, the Scottish Greens decided, in 1990, to establish themselves as a separate entity. The separation was a logical consequence of the green commitment to more decentralisation, and was entirely amicable.

Scottish Greens are not nationalists but believe it is best that decisions are made closest to the people they affect. That way, local needs can be taken into account better.Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city has a vital contribution to make. We can create our own bright future through the ideas and innovation of local businesses, entrepreneurs and community activists.

When the population has a voice and gets the chance to talk about its own destiny and development, people feel more able to take control of their lives. The Scottish Green Party is in favour of an autonomous and highly decentralised Scotland with a written constitution and Bill of Rights to be in place before the transfer of powers from Westminster. We are advocates for a participative and inclusive process for the development and democratic adoption of a constitution.

More than anything else we hope for Scotland to be nuclear free and a peace loving nation. Scottish Greens want to get rid of Nuclear Weapons. Voting for Independence provides a way forward to remove the Trident nuclear deterrent from Faslane and Coulport, and bring an end to submarines with nuclear weapons in Scottish waters.

The idea that we sign up to Nato, a nuclear alliance, as part of Scottish Independence is nonsense. This is an organisation whose design is about the aggressive projection of power around the world. It is an antique, outdated and defunct organisation, in my view, and I think we should have nothing to do with it. We can decide what our foreign policy priorities are and avoid being dragged into illegal wars. There is no other constitutional settlement that offers these opportunities.

The Greens are the first political movement born in the age of European political and economic union, and we've always seen EU membership as a positive opportunity to make progress on a host of social and environmental objectives. Europe has improved working conditions for millions of people, helped to control the use of toxic chemicals in industry, and put pressure on all member states to live up to basic standards of human rights and equality. We support an Independent Scotland as a member of the European Community.

Scottish Independence can be a means to fight poverty and achieve equality. By developing a green, fair and inclusive economy, Scotland can provide a better quality of life for all within the ecological limits of the planet. Scottish Greens are urging a new approach to energy generation in a bid to leave a clean source of public income for future generations. Our renewable energy market is already worth several billion pounds to the economy – just imagine what opportunities there would be if more of that value could be directed for public good.Scotland claims around a quarter of Europe's offshore wind and tidal energy potential.

Scottish Greens continue to call for more public or community ownership of renewables, and for local authorities to be given the power to create local energy companies. These publicly owned companies have the potential to deliver much needed income to cash strapped local communities.

We question the wisdom of the approach to Scotland's existing oil reserves, claiming that if the world is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C up until 2050, then no more than 1/3rd of the world's proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed. We advocate for an independent country where there is a managed transition from reliance on fossil fuels. The switch from oil and gas to renewables can't be done overnight, and the remaining revenues from oil and gas should be used to create a publicly owned renewables company as many other countries have done.

We believe that Scottish Independence can only add to our potential and to release a whole new wave of creativity, ambition, confidence and pride. An independent Scotland could have a stronger Scottish music industry which wasn’t so focused on London. We could support new artists giving them a better chance of success. Bands are making their mark through grassroots events and rapidly expanding festivals at home. Staying out of London’s “rat race” provides benefits, including “a lot more freedom” for the arts community. We can help artists to promote Scottish culture, the nation’s identity and its soul both locally and globally.

We must enable Artists to play a lead role in our cultural life and within the wider Scottish society, providing specific support to develop their work. Through powers given to Scotland, Independence can maximise tax incentives or provide a creative enterprise allowance for artists.

Scottish Greens support a vision for independence which breaks the addiction to road-building. Moving to electric vehicles will help reduce emissions directly, but unless we get a grip on traffic levels the energy demand will be astronomical. Walking, cycling and public transport will be given a far higher priority by an Independent Scotland.

The evidence is clear – we can become stronger economically, socially, culturally and globally with Scottish Independence. The world is waiting for us.

Useful link:

Yes Glasgow Launch -

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