Sunday, October 4th, 2015
Scottish Greens meeting at their biggest ever party conference on 10 and 11 October at the SECC in Glasgow will launch their own trade union group and have announced Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the STUC, as a keynote speaker.
Membership of the Scottish Greens now stands at 9,000, with consistent polling suggesting Green MSPs will be elected from across Scotland’s eight regions at next year’s Holyrood election. The Scottish Greens have been tipped to rival the Conservatives as the third largest party at Holyrood.
Sarah Beattie-Smith, Scottish Green MSP candidate for South of Scotland in 2016 and the party’s spokesperson on infrastructure, said:
“The Scottish Greens have long had positive relations with Scotland’s trade union movement and the launch of our own trade union group shows the importance we attach to workers’ rights. Working people need an active trade union movement to represent their interests and tackle exploitation and poor treatment.
“There are challenges and opportunities as we head towards the 2016 election. A strong Green voice is essential so we can resist the anti-trade union legislation coming from the Conservatives at Westminster. And we have huge potential in Scotland to create more and better jobs by investing in sustainable industries and encouraging employers to work more closely with workers and communities.”
Other speakers at conference including Green MP Caroline Lucas, food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe and Scotland’s former chief medical officer Harry Burns.
Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
Alison Johnstone has welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government consultation into fan involvement in Scottish football clubs. The consultation seeks views on legislation that would establish fan rights in the stewardship of Scottish football clubs.
The consultation opens after the Scottish Greens secured amendments to the Community Empowerment Bill that give Ministers the power to establish a fans’ right to buy their football clubs.
“This is a very exciting moment for Scottish football – it’s a chance for us to give fans a proper say in the running of the clubs they support. I’m very happy to see the Scottish Greens’ campaign for fans’ rights in football come this far, and I now hope to see as wide a public response to this consultation as possible – this is the chance to put Scottish football on the path to a brighter and more secure future.
“Too often we see clubs run into financial trouble, or ignore the wishes of supporters, because of poor stewardship by owners whose interests are not always rooted in the community. I believe our clubs would be in safer hands if supporters had the power to take charge when appropriate – after all, fans are the people who have a real love for the game and know their clubs inside and out. Fan ownership is already the norm in countries like Germany, and there’s no reason why Scottish fans should not benefit from the same rights as football supporters elsewhere.
“I’ve been pleased to see many of my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament express support for fan ownership, and I hope to see this support continue. In the coming months, I look forward to working with supporter groups and football clubs to make sure the Scottish Government can do the right thing for Scottish football and set the fans’ right to own and run their clubs into legislation.”
Monday, September 28th, 2015
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens and the party’s economy and energy spokesperson, today (28 Sep) visited Scarf, a social enterprise headquartered in Aberdeen, to highlight the work it does providing advice on fuel poverty and training courses in energy efficiency and renewables.
A recent report for the Scottish Greens highlighted the opportunity to create many more jobs in energy efficiency and renewables than currently exist in oil and gas.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“Businesses such as Scarf provide an essential service as we tackle fuel poverty and bring our housing stock up to modern standards. Scotland has a huge opportunity to create many more jobs in energy efficiency and low carbon industries and that must come with greater investment.
“The Scottish Government has agreed with Green calls for energy efficient housing to become a national infrastructure priority and we await a step-change in funding. Meanwhile it is a concern that ministers have delayed a planned consultation on minimum energy efficiency standards in private homes until after the 2016 election.
“By focusing on the advice services and construction businesses required to deliver well-insulated homes we can create good jobs for the North-east economy, and begin a managed transition away from fossil fuels.”
Visiting Scarf with Patrick was Alex Jarvis, Scottish Green candidate for the George St/Harbour council by-election taking place this Thursday (1 October).
“The services Scarf provides are absolutely invaluable. With out-of-control rents and the bite of fresh waves of austerity cuts, too many people are being forced into fuel poverty, left unable to heat their homes.
“To tackle the current housing crisis, we must put energy efficiency at the heart of the solution. As well as improving existing properties, we need to build new housing which is both affordable to rent and affordable to heat.
“The technologies exist and the opportunities are there – we just need the priorities and political will of Green councillors to make it happen.”
Sunday, September 27th, 2015
The Spanish government and European Union must respect the outcome of the Catalan Parliamentary elections according to Ross Greer, a key internal figure in the campaign for Scottish independence. Exit polls have indicated a victory for pro-independence forces in Catalonia.
Greer, the party’s spokesperson on Europe and top candidate for the West of Scotland at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections congratulated the winners Together for Yes (Junts pel Sí) and also applauded the role of the Scottish Greens’ sister party, Initiative for Catalonia Greens, for their successful partnership with Podemos.
Ross Greer said:
“It’s clear that the pro-independence Together for Yes list have won the Catalonian Parliament election. Their victory, combined with the success of other pro-independence forces on a record high turnout, means a clear majority for Catalan independence.
“The Spanish Government must respect the outcome of this election, and the UK and other EU countries should do everything they can to ensure the Catalan people’s right to self-determination is upheld. Their repeated denial of a referendum has been an unacceptable barrier to democracy.
“The Scottish Greens campaigned for independence in the Scottish referendum in 2014, and we believe the Catalan people too have a right to determine the course of their own future. We offer our congratulations to Catalonia Yes we Can and we also applaud the effort of Initiative for Catalonia Greens and Podemos for working so successfully together. It is evidence of what progressive, anti-austerity movements can achieve in Europe when they find common cause.”
Sunday, September 27th, 2015
Scottish Greens meeting at their biggest ever party conference on 10 and 11 October will debate setting up their own pro-EU campaign ahead of the referendum, including a pledge not to join any official campaign that includes the Conservative party.
A motion from the party’s international committee to conference, which takes place at the SECC in Glasgow, calls for a positively focused, distinct Scottish Green campaign that argues that Europe can be reformed to protect workers’ rights, social justice, and lead the fight against climate change.
The Scottish Greens, whose membership now numbers over 9,000, are polling strongly for next year’s Holyrood election with Green MSPs set to be elected from across Scotland’s 8 regions.
Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP candidate for West of Scotland in 2016 and the party’s spokesperson on Europe, said:
“Being part of the EU supports jobs, education and free movement of people, and this motion from our international committee ensures our conference debates one of the biggest issues of the moment. By campaigning to stay in we can campaign to help improve the EU by arguing against austerity and promoting a fairer economy.
“Scottish Greens believe that a more democratic and progressive Europe is possible and are determined to fight for this. We must counter the right-wing voices attempting to define this issue. Whether it’s the Tories or Ukip arguing for in or out, their motives are all about strengthening the grip of big business and undermining our social and environmental protections.
“While we will seek opportunities to work constructively with others to promote a positive vision for the EU, we don’t believe it would be right to join any official campaign likely to be dominated by the Conservative party. We will not allow arguments around Europe to continue to be shaped by right wing voices, who believe in cruel austerity and job-threatening trade deals such as TTIP.”
Keynote speakers at conference include Green MP Caroline Lucas, food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe and Scotland’s former chief medical officer Harry Burns.
Monday, September 21st, 2015
Alison Johnstone has today commented on a new report commissioned by Cluff Natural Resources PLC, which outlines potential economic benefits of underground coal gasification.
Johnstone urged the Scottish Government to not be tempted by the short-sighted proposals fracking companies are putting forward, but to focus instead on proper investment in a controlled transition to a sustainable economy.
“We must not be tempted by the short-sighted and damaging proposals that fossil fuel companies are putting forward on underground coal gasification. We know that these companies will make big profits from driving climate change and exploiting the land under our communities. But we need to be clear – their plans are not in the interest of Scottish people, but in the interest of private stakeholders.
“We’ve heard countless stories of fracking causing irreversible environmental damage elsewhere. There is simply not enough evidence to prove that underground coal gasification would not have the same, detrimental impacts it’s had in countries like Australia and the US. We will never get long-term energy security or sustainable jobs and growth out of the fossil fuel industry. Instead of scraping the bottom of the fossil fuels barrel with this short-term distraction, let’s direct the vast engineering expertise we have into decommissioning and into building a truly sustainable low carbon economy that has a future.
“In our recent report on the future of Scotland’s economy, the Scottish Greens showed that with proper investment, we could create 200,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector, in decommissioning, in green chemistry and in energy efficiency. This far outweighs the jobs that would be created if we allowed companies like Cluff Resources to forge ahead with fracking. The Scottish Government has to wake up and recognise that for us to lead the way in a controlled transition to a safe, sustainable, prosperous economy, we must stop pandering to the whims of big fossil fuel corporations and focus on the long-term welfare of Scotland and its people.”
Friday, September 18th, 2015
Marking the first anniversary of the independence referendum, the Scottish Greens have today (18 September) released a statement confirming their position on a future referendum and an independent Scotland. The party which has been polling strongly for next year’s Holyrood election has agreed that there should, in time, be a second referendum.
The Greens have pledged to focus during the next session of parliament on using Holyrood’s powers to make a difference to the people of Scotland, but also to bring forward a radical package of ideas to demonstrate how much better an independent Scotland could be. That work begins with the development of a detailed research paper on an independent currency. Regarding the timing of a future referendum, the party says it will respect citizen-led initiatives such as a call for a referendum signed by up to 1 million people on the electoral register.
The Scottish Greens, whose membership has surged from 1,700 to over 9,000 in the past year, are launching a crowdfund appeal to develop detailed research into what would be required to set up a new currency to ensure an independent Scotland had maximum economic independence. The paper will be written by Ronald MacDonald, Research Professor in Macroeconomics and International Finance at Glasgow University, and is supported by former Labour MP and Yes Scotland chair Dennis Canavan.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Greens Co-convener, said:
“Scottish Greens are proud of the role we played in the independence debate. We engaged constructively as we saw huge opportunities to create a more equal and democratic society, and a sustainable economy.
“Our membership surge has strengthened our position and will help us build our arguments ahead of the next referendum, whenever that may be. The key issue of currency must be fully explored.
“Given the economic, social and environmental challenges that Scotland faces, the need for a strong Green voice at Holyrood has never been greater. As we develop long-term ideas for the next referendum, we also commit to holding the Scottish Government to account on its use of the existing range of powers.”
Dennis Canavan, former Labour MP and Chair of Yes Scotland, said:
“Currency was a key issue during the last referendum campaign and many voters were understandably confused on that issue. Currency is also likely to be a key issue during the next referendum campaign and it is therefore important for all of us who support independence to get our act together.
“That is why I welcome this research initiative which I trust will promote further study of the various options in the hope of presenting a coherent policy in readiness for the next referendum campaign.”
Download a copy of the Scottish Greens’ independence statement:
The text is as follows:
1. The Scottish Green Party, which is committed to making popular democracy a reality at the national, regional and local level, believes that there should in time be a second referendum on Scottish independence.
2. In that referendum the Scottish Greens will campaign for independence to secure the powers needed for a socially just and sustainable Scotland.
3. The timing of the referendum should be determined by public appetite: Scotland should decide, when Scotland wants to decide.
4. In assessing public appetite for a second referendum we will respect new kinds of citizen-led initiatives – for example, a call for a referendum signed by up to 1 million people on the electoral register.
5. For the next term of the Scottish Parliament Green MSPs will focus on using existing and forthcoming powers to deliver the changes that will make a difference to the people of Scotland – on fuel poverty, land reform, funding public services and many other challenges which need to be tackled right now.
6. We will continue to call for further powers being devolved to the Scottish Parliament until independence is achieved, for example the ability to raise the minimum wage, as supported by the Scottish Trades Union Congress.
7. We will also bring forward a radical package of ideas which demonstrates just how different and better an independent Scotland could be – on currency, welfare, foreign policy, climate change, a post-oil economy and revitalising our democracy.
Scotland can be a beacon, within these islands and beyond, for a socially just and sustainable society. Whilst there are many priorities which will require independence, there is also much that can and must be done now by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.
Thursday, September 17th, 2015
Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens’ economy and energy spokesperson, today used First Minister’s Questions to challenge Scottish Ministers over their failure to answer basic questions about the threat hanging over communities from fracking and coal gasification.
Mr Harvie pointed out that several parliamentary questions have gone unanswered for seven months. The First Minister today said that a timetable for a process of evidence-gathering and consultation will be outlined before mid-October. Earlier this week Mr Harvie lodged a further series of questions for ministers on the issue.
Scottish Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone have been campaigning against unconventional gas extraction since the 2011 election. Alison led Holyrood’s first debate on the issue in May 2014, proposing a ban. All other parties voted against it.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“Of course there’s a place for consultation, but the facts are clear in Scotland and across the world – we have far more fossil fuel than we can afford to burn if we’re serious about climate change. Communities across Scotland have a right to know, well before next year’s election, what policy the SNP will pursue if they are re-elected.
“Unconventional gas extraction, whether it’s fracking or underground coal gasification, isn’t wanted and isn’t needed. Such developments would suck investment and talent away from jobs in the low-carbon, long-lasting industries of the future. Scottish Greens have led the way on this issue and we will continue to push the Scottish Government in the right direction.”
Questions lodged by Patrick Harvie this week:
-To ask the Scottish Government when it will provide a substantive answer to question S4W-26767, which received a holding answer on 17 August 2015, and what the reason is for the delay in providing such an answer.
-To ask the Scottish Government what (a) individuals and (b) organisations it has approached for evidence on the appropriateness of unconventional oil and gas extraction.
-To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to gather evidence to inform its (a) public health impact assessment, (b) work to strengthen planning guidance and (c) tightening of environmental regulation as noted in its news release of 28 January 2015, Moratorium called on fracking.
-To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to start its consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction.
-To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to gather evidence to inform its position on unconventional coal gasification.
Monday, September 14th, 2015
Scottish Greens are welcoming the latest Holyrood polls suggesting the party is on course to secure a much bigger group of MSPs in the 2016 election and that the public trusts the party to hold the Scottish Government to account.
A Survation poll for the Daily Mail has the Scottish Greens on 11 per cent on the regional vote, which suggests 12 MSPs.
A YouGov poll for the Times shows that a total of 16 per cent of people believe the Scottish Greens – who currently have 2 MSPs – are effective at holding the Scottish Government to account, the same percentage given for Labour who have 38 MSPs. The percentage of people who felt each party was ineffective was larger for Labour.
Consistent polling suggests Green MSPs will be elected across each of the 8 parliamentary regions.
The party, whose membership now numbers 9,000, has already selected their lead candidates for all 8 regions, including MSPs Patrick Harvie (Glasgow), Alison Johnstone (Lothian) and John Finnie (Highlands and Islands). In addition, Patrick Harvie will contest the Glasgow Kelvin constituency and Alison Johnstone will contest Edinburgh Central.
Research also shows Scottish Greens Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP has the highest approval rating of the Holyrood opposition leaders, and that most people think the Scottish Greens have the best policies for Scotland’s environment.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
“Patrick Harvie and I have worked hard to challenge the Scottish Government on key issues but have also sought to be constructive to take Scotland forward. We pushed for a ban on fracking, which led to the SNP’s moratorium; we called for energy efficient housing to become a national infrastructure priority, which the finance minister then agreed to do; and we proposed the right to buy your club for football fans, which the government then put into legislation.
“With a bigger Green team at Holyrood we can build on these successes. We must create more and better jobs in our economy, and support Scotland’s small businesses. We must prioritise our neglected colleges and relieve pressures on our NHS. And we must challenge the failure to meet climate change targets, and the uncertainty facing communities being targeted for fracking and coal gasification.”
Saturday, September 12th, 2015
Patrick Harvie has today congratulated Jeremy Corbyn on his victory in the Labour leadership contest in the face of attacks from the party’s right wing. However, Harvie remains doubtful of Labour’s ability to win back votes in Scotland, as the Scottish Greens prepare for a campaign to represent the left voice in the Holyrood election in 2016.
Patrick Harvie, MSP for Glasgow and Co-convenor of the Scottish Greens said:
“Jeremy Corbyn is due huge congratulations for winning this election in the face of relentless attacks from Labour’s right wing. The debate, enthusiasm and ideas his campaign has invigorated have been missing from the Labour Party for far too long. Many of those ideas have long been held by the Greens, from sharing society’s wealth more fairly and ending vicious austerity, to more investment in sustainable jobs and the return of public services to public hands.
“However, all the signs suggest that those who hold power behind the scenes within Labour will do anything to stop the party from from returning to its roots, even with a capable, principled leader in place. It remains to be seen whether Corbyn can revive his party’s democracy before his position is undermined by those who have lost the democratic debate.
“For all his merits, Jeremy Corbyn has had little to say about how he would support a stronger voice for Scotland, and Labour north of the border is struggling to reconnect with the voters it lost during its cynical campaign against independece. That seems unlikely to change in eight months before the Holyrood election, and the Scottish Greens will be campaigning with our new membership to build a strong left opposition in the next Scottish Parliament.”