Sunday, 8 March 2015

The possibilities arising from the Green Surge

There is a groundswell of support for Scottish Green Party. I am inspired by the possibilities for increased Green votes at the elections to the Westminster Parliament and Scottish Parliament. We have a chance to change Scotland for the better, not stick with business as usual.

Scottish Greens offer the opportunity to create a new political landscape and to initiate genuine institutional renewal in Scotland. I believe we can ensure local communities have more say and that decisions are made closest to the people they affect. That way, local needs can be taken into account better.

We can be strong campaigners to promote full and effective voluntary participation at all levels, giving equal opportunities to, and advocating further for the rights of all, particularly young and old, women and men, low paid workers, and local communities.

Engaging with people who are undecided about voting Green, and recognising their hopes as well as their anxieties about their choice, is vital if we are to see a fully informed and considered result for the Elections.

More than anything else we have to campaign to get rid of Nuclear Weapons, and continue to push for Scotland to be nuclear free and a peace loving nation. Voting Green ensures that there are politicians who will seek the removal of the Trident nuclear deterrent from Faslane and Coulport, and bring an end to submarines with nuclear weapons in Scottish and UK waters.

Greens oppose NATO, a nuclear alliance. I think we should withdraw from its membership. We can decide what our foreign policy priorities are and avoid being dragged into illegal wars.

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. By developing a green, fair and inclusive economy as part of the EU, 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. Scotland claims around a quarter of Europe's offshore wind and tidal energy potential. I am dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and have a commitment to 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.

Scottish Greens 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.  I advocate for a 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.

Scotland should have a stronger Scottish cultural sector which isn't so focused on London. We could support more opportunities for new artists giving them a better chance of success. They 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, both locally and globally.

I support a vision for Scotland 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 must be given far higher priority.

The evidence is clear – Glasgow and Scotland can become stronger economically, socially, culturally and globally with more Scottish Greens elected.

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