STV POLL SHOWS GREEN SURGE; BODES WELL FOR WESTMINSTER

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Scottish Greens are welcoming a full poll of Westminster voting intentions in Scotland, showing the party on 6 per cent, level-pegging with the Lib Dems.

It comes on the back of the Green membership surge, with the party now having over 7,000 members compared to just under 2,000 before the referendum.

The 6 per cent figure from Ipsos Mori echoes recent UK-wide polls putting the Greens level or ahead of the Lib Dems.

In May’s European election the Scottish Greens finished ahead of the Lib Dems, beating them in 21 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.

Scottish Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“This poll bodes well for our Westminster campaign. We are absolutely determined to get a Green MP for Scotland and are gearing up to get our message out.

“It goes to show how wrong the UK broadcasters would be to continue excluding Greens from high profile debates.

“Holyrood is increasingly the focus of Scottish politics but whatever form of devolution comes next Westminster will remain hugely important, and it’s essential that a Scottish Green voice is heard.

“The Lib Dems will pay the price of their austerity cheerleading, and I look forward to our burgeoning Green branches around Scotland putting forward candidates who will champion progressive policies on wages, the economy and our democracy.”

 

The Labour Party in Scotland would face political annihilation if there was a general election tomorrow, according to a poll commissioned by STV

The latest YouGov survey for the Sun has the Greens (7%) ahead of the Liberal Democrats (6%) in voting intention

 

The Lib Dems will pay the price of their austerity cheerleading, and I look forward to our burgeoning Green branches around Scotland putting forward candidates who will champion progressive policies on wages, the economy and our democracy.
Patrick Harvie MSP

TTIP: GREEN-INDEPENDENT MSPS URGE FM TO TOUGHEN STANCE

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, is urging the First Minister to oppose TTIP, the controversial EU-US trade deal.

Writing on behalf of the 5-strong Green-Independent group of MSPs, Ms Johnstone calls on Alex Salmond to press the case against a power grab by big business that undermines democratic decision-making.

The full text of the letter can be seen here. It is supported by Alison’s Green colleague Patrick Harvie, along with independent MSPs John Finnie, Jean Urquhart and John Wilson.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“TTIP is a power grab by private corporations which threatens the NHS. Although Scottish ministers have said they oppose the inclusion of health services in TTIP the negotiations have not yet provided any clear protections, and I urge the First Minister to press the case.

“There’s huge public concern at the offshore corporate courts being proposed. These would enable corporations to sue governments for passing laws which may be in the public interest but affect a company’s profits, an outrageous suggestion.

“We could also see watering down of European protections from the likes of GM foods and beef produced with growth hormones, an issue causing real concern for Scotland’s farmers.

“I hope the Scottish Government will write again to the UK Government stating opposition to TTIP. There is mounting public concern that cannot be ignored.”

Although Scottish ministers have said they oppose the inclusion of health services in TTIP the negotiations have not yet provided any clear protections, and I urge the First Minister to press the case.
Alison Johnstone MSP

COLLEGES: JOHNSTONE CONCERNED AT ASN DECLINE

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is expressing concern in light of a report by the EIS showing cuts to Additional Support Needs in Scotland’s colleges.

Alison said:

“If we’re serious about overcoming barriers to education and ensuring access for all, we must maintain Additional Support provision in our colleges. The decline in students, courses and qualified staff highlighted by the EIS is a real concern.

“Students who need support with family, health or emotional challenges are in danger of being left out of our further education system, and I will be asking ministers to address the situation.

“I have already made clear my opposition to the Scottish Government’s determination to cut part-time places, a move which goes against the principle of widening access to education. Colleges are key to providing people with opportunities, and we must challenge unfair cutbacks that limit people’s options.”

 

EIS Highlights Scale Of College ASN Cuts

Colleges are key to providing people with opportunities, and we must challenge unfair cutbacks that limit people's options.
Alison Johnstone MSP

Greens demand rethink over TV debate exclusion

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

OVER 150,000 people have signed a Change.org petition (1) in the last 36 hours alone calling for the broadcasters to include a Green representative in the TV Leaders’ Debates ahead of the 2015 General Election.

At some points yesterday the petition, which spread like wildfire on social media, was receiving 7,200 signatures an hour, 120 a minute on average, and more than two a second.

The Scottish Green Party have today joined with the Green Party of England and Wales in writing to the four broadcasters organising the debates, requesting that the decision to exclude the Greens be reconsidered and that a meeting be held between the parties and the broadcasters to discuss the issue(2). Legal advice has been sought if the broadcasters are not forthcoming in this regard.

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens said:
“These proposed debates fail a public who are clearly eager to enter an era of multi-party politics across the UK. To wait until just four days after UKIP elects their first MP before inviting them in whilst ignoring the Greens who have had an MP for four years is scandalous.

With UKIP presenting a hyped-up version of the same Westminster politics it is only right that a party offering a genuine alternative and with demonstrable support is allowed for our voice to be heard. Whether it’s renationalising the railways or raising the minimum wage to a Living Wage, Green policies are popular across the UK.

This popularity can be demonstrated by recent polling putting us neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats at Westminster and comfortably ahead at Holyrood. Indeed in this May’s elections Greens beat the Liberal Democrats by over 150,000 votes across the UK.”

Ends

For more information please contact ross.greer@scottishgreens.org.uk/07500 792 995

For more information about Change.Org please contact Nadia@change.org

Notes:
1 http://www.change.org/p/bbc-itv-channel-4-sky-include-the-green-party-in-the-tv-leaders-debates-ahead-of-the-2015-general-election

2 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/15/green-party-ultimatum-tv-debates-exclusion

Full text of SGP letter – http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/news/letter-to-broadcasters-full-text/

Full text of GPEW letter – http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/10/15/leaders-debates-letter-from-the-green-party-to-the-broadcasters-(full-text)/

GreenComms

Letter To Broadcasters - Full Text

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

We are extremely disappointed at the joint proposal that broadcasters unveiled on Monday of this week. We believe that there is a strong case for a Green representative to be included in the line-up and would ask you to reconsider your proposals.

Since the announcement on Monday morning we have been overwhelmed by the thousands of messages of support we have received, going far beyond Green supporters. You will have noticed the petitions which have also been started and within days have attracted tends of thousands of signatures. Dozens of political commentators and even the Prime Minister have called for the Greens to be included, particularly if if the same opportunity is afforded to UKIP as is currently proposed.

Just four days after the election of a UKIP MP they have been brought in to the fold for the TV debates and yet, four years after the election of Caroline Lucas, the UK’s first Green MP an invitation has not been forthcoming. It is clear that any reasonable criteria for inclusion which would be met by UKIP would also be met by the Greens.

In England, Wales and Scotland the Greens received 150,000 more votes than the Liberal Democrats in the 2014 European Elections and won three times as many seats as them.[1] In General Election opinion polls the Greens are neck-and-neck with the junior Coalition partners.[2]

Despite our comparative lack of airtime our policies are consistently popular with the public. We have a 5% lead over second-placed Labour when people Vote for Policies[3]; 64% of the public back our plan to turn the minimum wage into a living wage[4] and 66% support building more social housing.[5]

There is clear public support for including the Green Party in the Leaders’ Debates – from people who would never vote Green.[6] Regardless of their politics most people have a strong sense of what is right and fair. Excluding the Green Party is both wrong and unjust.

We request an urgent meeting with you to make our case for inclusion. We have already sought legal advice should we be unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion though we are hopeful that it will not be necessary.

Yours sincerely,
Patrick Harvie MSP & Cllr Maggie Chapman
Co-convenors, Scottish Green Party

Media Enquiries: 07500 792 995

 

[1] BBC, Vote 2014: UK European election results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/events/vote2014/eu-uk-results

[2] The Independent, 28 July 2014: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/poll-labour-set-to-win-the-election–but-people-still-dont-like-ed-miliband-9634140.html; The Ashcroft National Poll, 24 June 2014: http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ANP-140623-Full-tables.pdf; UK polling report, 16 June 2014: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/8897

[3] Vote for Policies website: http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

[4] YouGov, 23 October 2013: http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/10/23/londoners-living-wage-legally-required/

[5] YouGov, 10 April 2014: http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/04/10/londoners-blame-rich-foreigners-housing-boom/

[6] Change.org: Include the Green Party in the TV Leaders’ Debates ahead of the 2015 General Election: http://www.change.org/p/bbc-itv-channel-4-sky-include-the-green-party-in-the-tv-leaders-debates-ahead-of-the-2015-general-election

GreenComms

DEVOLUTION COMMAND PAPER IS DAMP SQUIB SAY GREENS

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Scottish Greens say the publication by the UK Government of a “command paper” on devolution confirms that there is a gulf in public expectation that the three UK parties must close.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

“This so-called command paper is a damp squib. It simply repackages what the three UK parties put forward in the spring, since when public debate has moved on considerably and public expectations have been built up.

“The three parties must show willingness to catch up to meet the shared aspirations of Yes and No voters. In the closing stages of the referendum campaign promises were made about deep devolution and near-federalism, way beyond what the parties originally proposed. That gulf must be closed, and Scottish Greens will continue to argue for meaningful public involvement in agreeing a package of powers that will give Scotland real autonomy.”

 

Command Paper published today sets out the proposals of the 3 main UK political parties for further devolution

Scottish Green Party submission to the Smith Commission on Devolution

 

The three parties must show willingness to catch up to meet the shared aspirations of Yes and No voters.
Patrick Harvie MSP

SCOTTISH GREENS CLOSE CONFERENCE WITH MORE THAN 7000 MEMBERS

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Last night in Edinburgh Alison Johnstone MSP closed the Scottish Greens’ biggest ever conference with an announcement that the party’s membership has more than quadrupled in less than a month.

Alison

The party’s total membership stood at 1,700 before the referendum, and with hundreds of new members joining during the party’s conference, the total stood at over 7,000 as of last night.

Alison Johnstone said:

“What the last couple of years has shown is that, if we scratch just below the surface, if we give people powerful ideas, and if they can exercise their own democratic power, we find a Scotland full of passion and energy for the job of making a better society.

“My view is that our party, the Scottish Greens, had the clearest vision throughout the referendum campaign of what this better society should look like, and that’s because we had that vision all along. That’s what’s brought people to the Scottish Greens, as they told me all weekend: our message of environmental justice, our policies to challenge entrenched and growing poverty, and our vision of an economy that works for the many, not the few.

“For years I’ve heard party members say what we really need is more members, new talent, fresh energy, a more diverse membership. I’m delighted to say that is an excuse we can never use again.

“There has never been a Scottish Green Party conference like this, or even a Scottish Green Party like this. We’re four times the size we were three weeks ago, more determined than ever to make a difference, and the surge in membership is still going on.

“This weekend was a constant buzz of energy, full of people fired up to continue the debate about this country’s future, to elect more Greens and to help communities across the country build the kind of Scotland we dream about.”

 

This weekend was a constant buzz of energy, full of people fired up to continue the debate about this country's future, to elect more Greens and to help communities across the country build the kind of Scotland we dream about.
Alison Johnstone MSP

TV DEBATES SET TO FAIL SCOTLAND SAY GREENS

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Scottish Greens are criticising broadcasters’ proposals for high profile debates during the 2015 General Election campaign.

One UK-wide TV debate is expected to be a head-to-head with the Conservative and Labour leaders, a second will include the Libdems and a third will include them and Ukip. None will feature the Greens.

BBC Scotland intends to broadcast a peak-time Scottish debate featuring the SNP, Labour, Conservatives and Libdems but not the Greens.

STV says it will stage a debate featuring “relevant” party leaders but has not yet confirmed details.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

“These debates fail to reflect the truly unique situation Scotland now finds itself in, and we will be making representations to the broadcasters. People who voted Yes and No voted for change, with record numbers joining the Scottish Greens following the referendum.

“Greens across the UK are level pegging on polling with Libdems so should not be excluded from high profile TV debates featuring the Coalition’s austerity cheerleaders. Greens have also regularly been ahead of Libdems in polls for the Scottish Parliament, and our membership is now more than twice theirs.

“TV debates are only one element in any election campaign, and Scottish Greens will be harnessing the energy of community activists and social media to get our message across. No matter what further devolution takes place, Westminster is where decisions will continue to be taken on the economy and international affairs, and Green voices need to be heard.”

 

TV debates are only one element in any election campaign, and Scottish Greens will be harnessing the energy of community activists and social media to get our message across.
Patrick Harvie MSP

SCOTTISH GREENS BACK STRONGER ROLE FOR TRADE UNIONS

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

The Scottish Green Party’s conference today heard from Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, and from Jil Murphy of Business from Scotland, in a session around how the economy can be reformed to prioritise broader social interests, fairer wages, and labour rights.

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser for UNISON, speaking ahead of an address to conference, said:

“The economy is increasingly being managed in the interests of shareholders and the richest in society, with public services under attack, zero hours contracts on the rise, wages continuing to stagnate for those in work, and benefits being squeezed for everyone else. Austerity is making it harder and harder to provide the kind of public services that are ever more essential in an economy of this sort.

“The key question for the trade union movement is this: how do we deliver high quality services which respond to the needs of local communities with decent pay and conditions for workers? It’s a question for all the political parties too, and it’s a great pleasure to be here at the Scottish Green Party’s conference to discuss exactly these issues with the party’s members, old and new.”

Green Councillor Mark Ruskell, who addressed the same session, said:

“Greens recognise the essential role unions play in society, defending public services, protecting the rights of those in work, helping them to organise around the collective interest, and supporting an economy that puts people first. We support union campaigns to protect and enhance working conditions, not least because those workplaces are often so essential to those most in need of public support. We also, of course, support the right of workers to ballot on and take industrial action when necessary.

“The need for a strong democratic labour movement hasn’t gone away: in fact, if anything it has never been more essential. That’s why I’m so pleased to have been able to take part in this session with Dave Watson, and to discuss how the Scottish Greens can work more closely with the trade unions on the wide range of areas where we share a position.”

 

Greens recognise the essential role unions play in society, defending public services, protecting the rights of those in work, helping them to organise around the collective interest, and supporting an economy that puts people first.
Cllr Mark Ruskell

GREENS TO REVIEW WESTMINSTER STRATEGY

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Scottish Green Party conference has this weekend backed a call to review the party’s 2015 UK General Election strategy in the light both of the referendum result and the party’s significant growth in membership.

In 2010 the party stood candidates in 19 out of the 59 seats in Scotland.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

“The last time the Scottish Greens fought a Westminster election we had around 1,000 members across Scotland, and now that figure is closer to 7,000. This extraordinary increase in activist numbers gives us the ability to knock on many more doors, deliver many more leaflets, and to continue the much broader discussion about Green values with the public that took place during the referendum campaign.

“We also have to recognise that the promises of further devolution made by the Westminster parties during the referendum campaign will turn this election on its head. What will be proposed by the Smith Commission? What say will the public have? Will those promises be honoured? We don’t know at this stage. But we know those issues will be at the heart of May’s election, and we need to take account of this radically changed context.

“UK General Elections have historically been the most difficult for small parties, given the weaknesses of the electoral system, and also the way the debates are covered. However, given the referendum result, we cannot ignore the need to send Green MPs to Westminster. No matter what further devolution takes place, that is where decisions will continue to be taken on many important economic and international questions in particular, and Green voices need to be heard in those debates.

“We recognise that it will be an enormous challenge to secure a Green MP in Scotland, as indeed it was for our colleagues in England and Wales to secure the election of Caroline Lucas in 2010. But that must now be our ambition, which is why this review is so urgent.”

 

The text of the motion passed reads as follows:

Re-evaluating 2015 Election Strategy
In the light of the result of the referendum and the significant growth of the party, conference agrees that Elections & Campaigns Committee should re-evaluate the party’s 2015 electoral strategy including how many seats are contested, how significant the party’s expenditure should be, what new opportunities exist in the changed political context, and what issues and messages should be at the core of the campaign.

The central aims should be to secure the strongest possible Green result and advance our Target To Win plans for future elections at all levels, and win at least one MP.

 

We recognise that it will be an enormous challenge to secure a Green MP in Scotland, as indeed it was for our colleagues in England and Wales to secure the election of Caroline Lucas in 2010. But that must now be our ambition, which is why this review is so urgent.
Patrick Harvie MSP