As much as I’m a member of the Scottish Green Party, I’m still a relatively new member (not yet 20 months in) and the reasons that I joined the party in the first place are the same reason I’ll be giving them my regional list vote tomorrow.
I’m not telling anyone how to vote, I’m just saying why I’m voting the way I am. Make of this what you will.
I’m voting for the Scottish Green Party because…
… I believe in combatting austerity and inequality.
The Scottish Green Party are the only party with a realistic chance of being elected who have proposed to fully utilize the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to offset Conservative austerity and make Scotland a more equal, fairer place.
They have a full suite of policies which include replacing the unfair council tax with a fairer alternative, changing income tax to raise funds for public services while protecting the lowest earners, proposing rent controls to make renting fair and land reforms which will unlock the wealth in Scotland’s land.
The Greens are the only party with a pragmatic and realistic program designed to make Scotland a fairer, more functional society and the SNP & Labours proposals look petty and managerial in comparison.
… I believe that Scotland needs to prepare for the end of the fossil fuel industry now.
I’m from the North East and I have many relative and friends who are employed in the oil industry and as much as I believe that we need to make drastic changes to combat climate change, I don’t want to see them made unemployed in the process.
The Scottish Green Party are the only party facing up to these issues – the need to stop burning fossil fuels for the sake of all of our futures and the need for a just transition so that the Scottish economy and millions of livelihoods aren’t destroyed when the wells run dry.
The Scottish Green Party proposes that the skills and infrastructure already in place for the fossil fuel industry be transitioned to the purpose of renewable energy. Skills like laying pipeline and electricity cables, geophysics and the large scale building and maintenance needs of rigs can be used for hydro-electric, geothermal, wind, wave and solar energy projects. This can also help to salaveg the Scottish steel industry as wind & wave turbines are manufactured and maintained in Scotland.
The social and economic destruction visited on Scotland by the slow demise of the shipyards and the coal & steel industry cannot be allowed to be replicated as fossil fuels become uneconomical to extract.
We can be a more sustainable, greener nation AND safeguard our jobs and industry into the future.
…I believe Scotland (and the cause of independence) needs more diverse, progressive voices in parliament.
One of the best things about the Yes campaign during the independence referendum was the plurality of voices coming out in favour of an independent Scotland. Of course, the SNP were the loudest voice but the Greens, SSP (now RISE, I guess) and even dissidents in the ranks of Labour & the Liberal democrats as well as non-partisan activists made their voices heard.
Similarly, the Scottish Parliament is at its strongest when it shows the diversity of Scotland’s political landscape. The Westminster parties all remain distinctly right of centre and pro-union (although Labour seem to be wavering a bit on both counts) while the SNP are a populist party of the centre, balancing socialist rhetoric, social democratic gestures with a deep conservatism, especially in economic policy.
The Scottish Green Party were a big part of yes by promoting a distinct, progressive image of Scotland’s future and they have been shown to drag the policies of SNP governments to the left while opposing the right wing, pro-union policies of the other parties.
A large group of Green MSPs will balance out the neoliberal tendencies of the westminster parties and back the SNP when they make bold, progressive decisions which benefit all the people of Scotland, while holding the SNP to account when their corporate tendencies come to the fore, in ways that the Tories and Labour wouldn’t.
Furthermore, half of the SGP lead candidates are women, many of them are young, at least one is an immigrant and electing them would lead to a parliament which is more diverse and representative of Scotland’s population in gender, age and demographic terms.
The Scottish Green Party is also committed to breaking down the barriers which affect women, LGBTI+ people and disabled people, both in terms of access to politics and in equal opportunities in everyday life.
… I believe in an independent Scotland which is fairer, more sustainable and more democratic nation.
The Scottish Green Party voted roughly 4:1 in favour of campaigning for independence and as a direct result of the Green Yes campaign, the party grew it’s membership fivefold. That means that SGP members are something like 20:1 in favour of independence and the party combines an unshakeable pro-independence stance with the ability to be critical as to why, how and when that should happen.
The Green Yes campaign inspired me to join the party because it proposed a realistic vision of how Scotland could be a better nation – not just the same as now but with a shiny new passport.
Green ideas like our own currency (rather than sharing the pound) , more local influence in governance, a nation which is geared to give everyone a fair chance, a nation which has a sustainable economy, a nation which is a cultural leader and is an equal partner on the world stage really inspired me. They still do.
By contrast, the SNP’s vision of an independent Scotland, with a centralised government, corporate influence at the highest level of power, still wedded to the UK’s monetary structure, still with the Queen as head of state… seems like a hollow offer.
I don’t need a Scottish passport to validate my distinct cultural identity, but I will campaign for a truly fairer nation for my kids to grow up in.
… it will make a difference.
Let’s be honest, the Scottish Green Party will not win a majority tomorrow but whether they end up supporting a minority SNP government or the SNP retain or extend their majority (as seems likely) a significant block of Green MSPs can have a powerful influence on the policies of that SNP government and the tone of parliament as a whole.
With only two MSPs, the Greens have pushed the agenda on land reform, fracking, equal marriage, the right to die, rent controls and many other issues. Imagine how a larger group could help pull the parliament to the left and make Scotland a more progressive place.
That larger group of Green MSPs is more than possible, with polls indicating anything between six and twelve Green MSPs being returned to parliament on Thursday. Many of those potential MSPs are fighting for the seventh and final slot in their region. The difference between another Tory or a Labour MSP and the Green only a handful of votes.
Every Green MSP will make a positive impact in parliament, pushing Scotland towards a fairer, more sustainable future and every vote for the Scottish Green Party is a huge step towards another MSP.
That’s why I’m voting Green and I hope you will too.
There are dozens more policies I could have talked about here, from the Green plans to nationalise public transport, connect Scotland’s rural communities, make the cultural sector more inclusive and so on and if you’re interested, you can find them all here.