Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Green MSP Patrick Harvie is challenging claims by Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran that the Scottish Government’s proposals for broadcasting in an independent Scotland would have a “devastating impact”.
“I welcome Margaret Curran’s recognition that independence is not a ‘take it or leave it’ deal on the SNP’s White Paper, and that there’s a spectrum of views about issues on both sides of the referendum.
“On the No side there are some who would leave the BBC as it is, failing to recognise that Scotland deserves better from our public service broadcaster. And there are others on the Tory benches who would happily abolish the whole ethos of public service, and see it funded by adverts instead of the licence fee.
“On the Yes side there are those who support the SNP’s idea of a Scottish Broadcasting Service, and there are others who think the BBC can be made to work better that it does today – and that independence could bring that about. By changing the BBC Charter and Agreement to ensure that both governments are involved, we would achieve a double-lock protection for the principle of public service broadcasting against attacks from the political right, we’d give the Corporation an inbuilt incentive to treat its different audiences seriously, and we’d avoid breaking up the biggest news-gathering machine on the planet.
“That sounds like win-win to me, and we could all settle down to watch Dr Who, Strictly, or the kind of high quality Scottish current affairs coverage the country has a right to expect.”
Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, is highlighting the threat to Scotland’s NHS from the EU-US trade deal known as TTIP.
During today’s statement in parliament on the future of the NHS in Scotland, Green MSP Alison Johnstone asked Health Secretary Alex Neil to come out strongly against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The TTIP deal would allow public services to be open to private competition, with multinational firms able to sue governments that restrict competition.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said:
“The NHS in England is under direct threat from TTIP as the UK Government has opened the service up to private provision, and there is growing concern that the Scottish NHS will come under pressure from corporate interests. Scotland needs its own voice in these negotiations, and while I welcome Alex Neil’s statement that the Scottish Government wants the health service exempted from TTIP, I remain concerned that we don’t have the power to properly oppose these deals.
“Greens have been the only political party campaigning against this trade deal. We believe strongly in a health service in public hands and free at the point of need, and I view a Yes vote as an opportunity to protect it.”
Monday, August 18th, 2014
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, is urging voters in the Tranent area to take part in a question and answer session with Patrick Harvie MSP.
The event, organised by Yes East Lothian, will be held in the Loch Centre this Thursday (21 August) at 7pm, and also features Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:
“The referendum debate has sparked a revival of public engagement in politics and I’m looking forward to hearing from voters in Tranent. The opportunity we have in September goes way beyond just making more decisions in Scotland – it’s a chance to repair a broken political system and ensure that the values of social justice and equality are never again trashed by a Government like the one currently destroying the welfare state in the UK.
“I’d urge voters in Tranent to think carefully about Labour’s argument that the UK pools and shares resources, when we have children in poverty and families relying on food banks. During Labour’s years in power the wealthiest managed to grab an ever bigger share of national wealth. Even today their business spokesperson seems to think the party should be focused on helping a tiny minority to become millionaires.
“On social justice it’s clear that Westminster has failed. Independence is a chance for Scotland to show a different way is possible. Those who are unsure deserve to hear a wide range of perspectives as they reach a judgement on this hugely important vote.”
Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens and member of the Yes Scotland Advisory Board has today welcomed the comments from Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens regarding next month’s referendum and criticized those of Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbot.
In a short video message Senator Milne explains that she looks forward to working with an independent Scotland to tackle global issues such as climate change and the elimination of nuclear energy. In contrast, Tony Abbot has said that a Yes vote would be a victory for the enemies of freedom and justice.
Patrick Harvie says: “Christine Milne’s comments are a welcome addition to the referendum debate. She understands that tackling global issues requires cooperation between all nations and that an independent Scotland can play an important role in that. Whether it’s on economic justice or climate change, an independent Scotland can lead where the UK has not. We look forward to working with Senator Milne and others across the world after a Yes vote next month.
“In contrast, Tony Abbot’s ludicrous comments indicate that he think the Yes campaign are a collection of comic book super villains. Australia has prospered as an independent country, able to make decisions for itself. I wonder how many Australians would like to see that reversed. After a Yes vote Scotland will take our place as a valued and respected member of the international community, just as Australia and almost two hundred other independent states do already.”
Senator Christine Milne on Scottish independence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb4_fLfqN-A&feature=youtu.be
‘Those who want the Uk to split are not the friends of freedom’ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4177823.ece
Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, this weekend (16 and 17 Aug) launches a fresh wave of activity to persuade undecided voters to seize the opportunity on 18 September.
Almost half a million Green Yes booklets are starting to be distributed to households across the country. They emphasise that independence offers future generations a chance to truly shape the direction of Scotland.
The booklet highlights key opportunities including:
- Sharing Scotland’s undoubted wealth more equally
- Creating a fairer tax system
- Creating better jobs with good wages
- Prioritising investment in renewable energy
- Rebuilding a welfare system that allows everyone to meet their needs
- Reforming the banks to serve the public good
- Tackling the poverty that leads to health inequalities
- Removing Trident, inspiring disarmament across Europe
- Starting a debate about the Head of State
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:
“With postal votes being sent out in the coming days we are stepping up our positive and constructive campaign for a Yes vote. Greens have used reason and respect to engage undecided voters, and we expect our new booklet to build on this.
“We have outlined how a Yes vote opens up opportunities to create better jobs and a more equal economy. It also gives a real chance of getting big ideas onto the agenda, such as banking reform, ending nuclear weapons and writing our own constitution.
“Independence won’t be utopia or disaster as some have attempted to claim; it will be what we make of it, and it’s too good an opportunity to miss.”
The Green Yes activity comes after polling of voting intentions for the Scottish Parliament put support for the Greens on 10 per cent on the regional vote. Analysis suggested this would result in 11 MSPs, making the Scottish Greens the parliament’s third largest party, one MSP ahead of the Conservatives.
The Greens secured 8 per cent and 108,000 votes in May’s European election, coming ahead of the Lib Dems in 21 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.
Friday, August 15th, 2014
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, is welcoming comments by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing that the Scottish Government intends to resist a plan by the UK Government to allow fracking companies the right to run pipelines under private land.
The Scottish Greens called for the proposal to be blocked earlier this year.
The Infrastructure Bill put forward at Westminster by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government, and supported by Labour, would overrule trespass laws, enabling drilling firms to install pipes to transport gas without landowners’ permission.
A huge swathe of Scotland, from Argyll to Aberdeenshire and from Ayrshire to East Lothian, has been earmarked as ripe for fracking by the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“Greens have been calling for this proposal to be blocked in Scotland, so these comments from Fergus Ewing are a good step. Holyrood should reject the UK Infrastructure Bill when it gets the chance to do so by way of legislative consent motions.
“Meantime Scottish ministers should continue to consider the use of existing regulations to ban unconventional gas completely. We are risking our economy, not just our environment, if we encourage yet more fossil fuel extraction.
“Communities such as Airth near Falkirk and Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway are already facing a battle against gas drilling. Given the Scottish Government’s failure to support a ban on fracking or clear buffer zones, and the First Minister’s description of shale gas as an opportunity, many other communities across Scotland will remain deeply concerned at these unwanted, unnecessary developments.”
Scottish Greens Challenge Fracking Plans:
Labour to support Government on fracking trespass law change (Click Green):
Minister opposes change in fracking residential drilling rules (BBC):
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Green MSP Patrick Harvie is welcoming the announcement of reviews into the controversial routine arming of police officers.
The reviews are being carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority.
Mr Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:
“These reviews are a welcome response to the growing public and political pressure. The police do need to deploy firearms in response to serious incidents, but the sight of armed police on our streets while carrying out routine duties has alarmed many Scots and we deserve to know why it happened and why our communities were not consulted.
“To date the Justice Secretary has brushed this issue off as an operational matter but I believe there is a strong case for ministers being held to account on this dramatic change in our policing culture. Greens opposed the merger of Scotland’s police forces, warning of centralised decisions that didn’t reflect local needs. If the firearms policy isn’t challenged it will represent a major failure of accountability.”
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, is welcoming today’s report on strengthening local democracy.
Earlier this year the Green MSPs published a set of ideas for revitalising local democracy, including creating smaller units of government that have the power to raise the majority of their funding locally.
Today’s report from the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy says 50 years of centralisation has failed to tackle Scotland’s biggest problems, and calls for more local decisions, greater accountability and public participation.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
“As Scotland debates whether powers should shift from London to Edinburgh we should also consider how we shift control from Edinburgh to local communities. The current system is unfair and unsustainable. Other European countries take proper local government for granted, and we should aspire to that.
“This report, along with our own ideas, will add momentum to the need to improve how we deliver local services and involve the public. While I think there’s a greater chance of devolving power to communities if we become an independent country, it’s essential we push the issue up the agenda whatever the result of the referendum.”
Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, is welcoming the decision by four former farming union presidents to back a Yes vote.
Louise Batchelor, Green Yes campaigner and a former BBC environment correspondent, said:
“It’s great that these respected figures are supporting a Yes vote. Agriculture is hugely important to Scotland’s economy and way of life, and it stands to reason that the Scottish Parliament is better placed than Westminster to decide on matters affecting this vital sector.
“It’s all too easy for UK Ministers to ignore the needs of Scotland’s farmers. With independence we’d have a direct voice in the crucial farming talks in Europe, and this would help us secure a far better deal for our food producers and rural communities.
“With the full range of economic responsibilities we could really make a start on encouraging greater diversity in agriculture. Scotland is famed for its food and drink, and with a Yes I can see us really making the most not just of exports but of the potential for sustainable food consumed here at home.”
Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Ahead of today’s Scottish Parliament debate (13 Aug) on welfare, Green MSP Alison Johnstone says that a Yes vote in the independence referendum would give Scotland the chance to rebuild a welfare state that gives people dignity.
Since 2010, 80 per cent of the £15billion cuts to benefits has been taken from women’s incomes, while foodbanks in Scotland have reported seeing 22,000 children in the past year. The Labour opposition at Westminster has said it will go further in slashing the benefits budget.
Changes to tax and benefits have also harmed lone parents more than other household types.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, said:
“By taking responsibility for welfare, the Scottish Parliament could rebuild a compassionate welfare system and explore Green ideas such as a Citizen’s Income. This would reduce red tape and end the stigma associated with receiving benefits.
“The Scottish Government’s Expert Group on Welfare has recognised a citizen’s income is a long term option. Such positive and constructive ideas contrast sharply with the varying flavours of austerity on offer from Westminster.
“We know from the latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey that voters strongly associate independence with reducing inequality. What we have on 18 September is an opportunity to show that a more equal society is possible, one where everyone can live with dignity.”