TV DEBATES: HARVIE WELCOMES POLL

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, is welcoming a poll showing that 79 per cent of people want to see the Greens represented in the ITV General Election debate.

ITV is proposing a debate featuring the Conservatives, Labour, the Libdems and Ukip but not the Greens.

Patrick said:

“This poll demonstrates that the era of two big parties dominating British politics is over. The public wants and deserves to hear a wider range of voices as we debate the future of our economy and our democracy. Scotland’s electorate is more politically engaged than ever and there is a danger this won’t be reflected by London-based broadcasters.

“Greens across the UK are enjoying a membership surge, a steady rise in the polls and we will continue to make the case for inclusion in set piece TV debates, both at UK level and here in Scotland.”

 

Scotland's electorate is more politically engaged than ever and there is a danger this won't be reflected by London-based broadcasters.
Patrick Harvie MSP

STRATHKELVIN COUNCILLOR JOINS GREENS

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The Scottish Greens have confirmed that Frances McGlinchey, Independent councillor in North Lanarkshire, has joined the party.

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Her application to join was approved unanimously at the weekend by a meeting of the National Council of the Scottish Greens. Ms McGlinchey intends to continue sitting as an independent councillor, the same approach taken by previous councillors who have joined the party whilst elected.

This follows the news that Independent MSP for Central Scotland John Wilson – Ms McGlinchey’s husband – has also joined the Greens as part of the recent membership surge which has taken the party from 1,700 to 7,500 members since the referendum.

Recent polling has also shown the Greens to be on track for a record General Election performance across the UK and around 10 MSPs at the next Scottish Parliament election in 2016.

Councillor McGlinchey said:

“I am pleased to announce my decision to join the Scottish Green Party. I have always believed in social justice and protection of the environment.

“I am a CND activist committed to ridding Scotland of nuclear weapons of mass destruction and the Greens share the same vision of a nuclear free Scotland outwith the nuclear club NATO. Campaigning in the referendum for a Yes vote brought me closer to The Greens and showed me that this was a party that reflected my values hopes and aspirations for a sustainable future.”

Welcoming Frances to the Scottish Greens, co-convenor Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“As a popular local councillor Frances will be a huge asset to the Greens as we expand across Scotland, particularly in North Lanarkshire where our membership has more than quadrupled. Our local members were delighted to hear than Frances had applied to join and we’re confident that she will well represent the Green values of social justice, radical local democracy and equality in the council chambers.”

 

Tuesday’s Yougov poll, showing the Greens on 8% across the UK

Recent Holyrood polling showing 10 Green MSPs

 

Our local members were delighted to hear than Frances had applied to join and we're confident that she will well represent the Green values of social justice, radical local democracy and equality in the council chambers.
Patrick Harvie MSP

JOHN WILSON MSP JOINS THE SCOTTISH GREENS

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The Scottish Greens today (16 Dec) confirmed that John Wilson, Independent MSP for Central Scotland, has joined the party.

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His application to join was approved at the weekend at a meeting of the Council of the Scottish Greens. Mr Wilson intends to continue sitting as an Independent MSP, the same approach taken by John Finnie, Independent MSP for the Highlands and Islands, who joined the Scottish Greens in October.

Mr Wilson joins the party as the surge in membership continues, with the Scottish Greens now having over 7500 members compared to 1,700 before the referendum. Polls for the Scottish Parliament suggest the Greens are on course for around 10 MSPs in 2016. Membership of the Green Party of England and Wales has also been rising steadily, and has more than doubled over the year.

John Wilson said:

“I can announce that following a few months to reflect on my future in politics I have decided to join the Scottish Green party, however I will continue to sit in the Scottish Parliament as an Independent member for Central Scotland.

“Since the referendum politics in Scotland has taken a on new dynamic with people wanting more out of politics and their elected representatives. This I believe is good for the future of Scotland, however it is important that people still have a real alternative in who they elect to ensure political accountability and choice in the period ahead. I am of the view that the Scottish Green party provides a real alternative direction to the issues and challenges facing Scotland.

“The Scottish Green party is the best vehicle for reflecting my view on environmental, social and economic policies and is providing leadership on key issues such as fracking, land ownership and a citizens income.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said:

“It’s been great getting to know John better since he joined the Independent-Green group of MSPs at Holyrood. His membership of the Scottish Greens is great news and I know has been warmly welcomed by local members in Lanarkshire.

“The Scottish Greens are enjoying a surge in membership and a steady rise in the polls, and I’m sure John Wilson will help us make the most of that in Central Scotland. Our distinctive voice will continue to be heard at Holyrood, influencing decisions and raising the big issues, and I look forward to growing the Green group of MSPs to strengthen our work.”

 

The Green-Independent Group at Holyrood comprises:
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow
John Finnie, SGP member, Independent MSP for Highlands and Islands
John Wilson, SGP member, Independent MSP for Central Scotland
Jean Urquhart, Independent MSP for Highlands and Islands

 

The Scottish Greens are enjoying a surge in membership and a steady rise in the polls, and I'm sure John Wilson will help us make the most of that in Central Scotland.
Patrick Harvie MSP

Greens comment on Murphy election

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Scottish Green Co-Conveners Maggie Chapman & Patrick Harvie have today congratulated Jim Murphy & Kezia Dugdale on their election to the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party and invited Labour members to join the Greens following the result.

With Jim Murphy’s record as a staunch defender of the Iraq War, privatisation of public services and deep cuts to social security many Labour members and supporters will now be seeking a new political home, following many who have already done so. One in ten Scottish Green Party members is an ex-Labour Party member.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“I congratulate Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale on their election. Neil and Sarah are also due great credit for offering Scottish Labour some more radical options.

By electing Jim Murphy though, Scottish Labour have made a choice that confirms them as a pro-Trident, pro-austerity party, still Blairite so long after Blair, and this will dismay many. I find it hard to see how that agenda can connect with Scotland’s newly politicised voters.”

Green Co-Convener Maggie Chapman said:

“I know many Labour members who won’t feel comfortable with Jim Murphy as their leader. Those Labour members agree with me and other Greens that we need to protect social security and that welfare, that public services are best in public hands. Many Labour members are uncomfortable with warmongering. They don’t want millions to be wasted on Trident replacement.

I’d be delighted to welcome any of those members and supporters who want to join a party that is committed to public services, to defending the welfare safety net and to so very many of the values Labour used to stand for.”

Patrick Harvie MSP

PUPIL-TEACHER RATIO UP: JOHNSTONE CALLS FOR FUNDING RETHINK

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today urged Scottish ministers to rethink their squeeze on local authority funding after figures showed there are fewer teachers dealing with more pupils.

The Pupil-Teacher Ratio across Scotland has risen to 13.7 from 13 in 2007. The biggest annual increase has been in Edinburgh where the ratio is now 14.9 compared to 14.3 last year and 13.5 seven years ago.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“Fewer teachers dealing with more pupils is a worrying indicator of a wider problem. Local authorities have had their funding squeezed by Scottish ministers, while teachers are dealing with an increasing workload. We’re also seeing councils considering options such as shorter school weeks to cope with budget pressures.

“I have real concerns that our councils are being put in an impossible position. Our schools have been relatively protected from the funding squeeze but unless local government has the flexibility to properly invest in education there’s a risk we cannot provide our children with the high quality learning experience they deserve.”

Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland

EIS submission on the 2015-16 Draft Budget

“A continued real terms fall in education spending will impact detrimentally on pupils and families and upon educations staff.”

Our schools have been relatively protected from the funding squeeze but unless local government has the flexibility to properly invest in education there's a risk we cannot provide our children with the high quality learning experience they deserve.
Alison Johnstone MSP

JOHNSTONE DEMANDS FUNDS TO SUPPORT WAVE ENERGY JOBS

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, has today (9 Dec) written to Energy Minister Fergus Ewing calling for urgent answers to growing concerns about the future of the wave energy industry in Scotland.

The Greens are calling for the Scottish Government to use some of the money it received from last week’s UK Autumn Statement to support jobs in the companies affected. Edinburgh-based Pelamis, which employs 50 people, is in administration, while Aquamarine Power, also based in the city, is making most of its 50 staff redundant.

Following earlier questions from Alison Johnstone, the Scottish Government announced the setting up of an agency to share knowledge about wave energy. But it has emerged that this body has no staff, budget or timescales for development as yet.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“Wave energy has huge economic potential for Scotland. Public funding clearly remains crucial to the industry at this stage, so I’m calling on the Scottish Government to use some of the millions it received last week from Westminster to support wave power jobs.

“The new agency being promised by the government has no staff, no funding and no timescale as yet – it appears to be window dressing. Jobs and expertise risk being lost from Scotland while other countries advance on the technology.

“Ministers need to reassess their priorities because they are abandoning wave, while leaving the door open to unwelcome energy developments such as fracking.”

Jobs and expertise risk being lost from Scotland while other countries advance on the technology.
Alison Johnstone MSP

FUEL POVERTY: HARVIE URGES INVESTMENT IN RETROFIT JOBS

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, today called for major investment in energy efficient housing as statistics confirmed that the Government will fail its target of ending fuel poverty by 2016.

The figures show that during 2013 there were 100,000 more households in fuel poverty than in 2012. They also show that 36 per cent of housing is in urgent disrepair, with 51 per cent of private housing failing the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. The biggest reason for houses failing is ‘Not Energy Efficient’.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“Energy efficient homes should be a national infrastructure priority and I will continue to press for this to feature in the forthcoming Scottish budget. It would help create thousands of high quality jobs while also tackling fuel poverty.

“We also need college courses and well-paid modern apprenticeships in energy efficiency. Fuel prices and profiteering by the energy companies must be urgently tackled across the UK, but unless the Scottish Government also steps up investment we’ll miss out on the potential for energy efficiency jobs in Scotland.”

 

Housing condition survey

Fuel prices and profiteering by the energy companies must be urgently tackled across the UK, but unless the Scottish Government also steps up investment we'll miss out on the potential for energy efficiency jobs in Scotland.
Patrick Harvie MSP

HARVIE ON AUTUMN STATEMENT: COALITION ASSAULT CONTINUES

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, says today’s autumn statement by Chancellor George Osborne shows the Coalition’s relentless cuts to public spending will continue to hit Scottish communities hard.

PH smart for web

The cuts come as research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that two thirds of people who moved into work in the last year are paid below the Living Wage, and that the worst off have seen the biggest falls in income.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“The Chancellor’s delusional optimism about the state of the economy shows how out of touch this Coalition is. Osborne and his Libdem helpers have encouraged an economy in which people have no job security and no decent pay, and the cuts to welfare are embedding poverty in our communities.

“Despite the clear opportunities which exist for green investment to create quality jobs, cut household fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions, we again see Westminster politicians pouring money into roadbuilding and falling over themselves to offer tax breaks to wealthy oil firms whose profits we already subsidise by a billion pounds a year.

“With Miliband and Balls still signed up to the austerity agenda it is increasingly clear we need more Green voices at Westminster to argue for a balanced economy, with better jobs and decent public services.”

 

JRF state of the nation report, Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion

 

With Miliband and Balls still signed up to the austerity agenda it is increasingly clear we need more Green voices at Westminster to argue for a balanced economy, with better jobs and decent public services.
Patrick Harvie MSP

STUBBORN HEALTH FIGURES DEMAND FRESH APPROACH SAYS JOHNSTONE

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is today (2 Dec) calling on new Health Secretary Shona Robison to take a fresh approach to tackle obesity and make active lifestyles the norm.

New figures show that 65 per cent of adults in Scotland are overweight, with 27 per cent obese, a rate that has remained unchanged since 2008. The proportion of adults who are physically active to the recommended level has only increased by 2 per cent in a year.

One in eight children spends more than four hours a day watching TV or another screen, and there has been no change in the proportion of adults and children walking or cycling to work and school.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“People are suffering from poor health and the cost to our NHS is climbing. You only have to look at the situation in Edinburgh where the public funding squeeze threatens cuts to leisure facilities and programmes that help young and old stay active.

“With the appointment of a new Health Secretary we have a chance to turn things around. I will be pushing for the forthcoming Scottish budget to prioritise preventative spending so we invest in walking and cycling infrastructure, leisure facilities and a healthy food culture, all of which will benefit our communities and the public finances.”

 

Obesity Indicators 2014

You only have to look at the situation in Edinburgh where the public funding squeeze threatens cuts to leisure facilities and programmes that help young and old stay active.
Alison Johnstone MSP

SMITH POWERS NOT ALL THAT WAS PROMISED, BUT COULD HELP FIGHT CUTS

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

The Scottish Greens say the proposed package of powers outlined by the Smith Commission today will fall short of many people’s expectations, but if used wisely could help protect people from UK austerity and welfare cuts.

The Greens say the new powers would also place a clear expectation on the Scottish Government to oppose destructive industries like fracking.

The party’s co-conveners Patrick Harvie MSP and Councillor Maggie Chapman took part in the cross-party negotiations, securing agreement on proposals including devolution of fracking licenses, energy company obligations and the power to bring railways back into public ownership.

Other proposals being welcomed by the Greens include:

– Devolution of income tax rates, bands and revenue
– Full devolution of some benefits, and the ability to top up the UK Government’s provision of reserved benefits
– Additional borrowing powers
– Control over Scottish elections, paving the way for votes at 16 in Holyrood and local government elections
– Ability to remove MSPs to prevent a repeat of the Bill Walker situation
– Powers to tackle payday loan shops
– Management of Crown Estate assets

On additional borrowing powers the Greens said:
This could boost capital investment. To date the Scottish Government has used its revenue budget to top up capital spending, prolonging real-terms pay cuts in the public sector.

On licensing of onshore oil and gas extraction:
This will clarify the situation regarding fracking, coal bed methane, and other unconventional gas developments. Greens will be vocal in calling for a complete halt, and the Scottish Goverment will have to take a clearer stance.

On transport:
We’d have the choice of bringing Scotland’s railways back into public ownership, a Green policy which has been consistently popular.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“This package falls short of the complete autonomy many hoped for but it does have potential. If these powers are delivered as promised we must use them to close the gap between rich and poor, overcome the UK’s austerity agenda, and invest in the skills and green infrastructure that will sustain our economy.

“There will now be no hiding room on the troubling issue of fracking. Scotland will look to its own government to protect communities from this unwanted and destructive new wave of fossil fuel extraction.”

Councillor Maggie Chapman said:

“While this package of powers is welcome there is much more we had hoped for, such as the ability to pursue wealth taxes, to enforce a living wage, full devolution of welfare, trades union rights and employment law. As long as these issues are decided at UK level it remains essential that Green voices are heard at Westminster.

“The Scottish Greens engaged constructively in this process and we continue to call for the public to have a say in the delivery of new powers. We will play our part in scrutinising the proposals and making sure Westminster delivers meaningful devolution.”

Patrick Harvie MSP