Many people have suggested that the Westminster election in 2005 was the Green’s electoral highpoint, because in an economic downturn with rising fuel costs, people would no longer vote Green. Sian Berry’s address at our Conference in September 2008 highlighted that actually, this is exactly the time for Greens. Only Greens appreciate that we need to deal with the real cause of high fuel costs. Only Greens are truly committed to energy efficiency and renewables. Only Greens will deal with the causes of fuel poverty.
Scotland’s people would have better lives with Greens in power. As co-convener, I want to help build our vote throughout the country, and especially in target areas. We are not just a conscience vote. We can deliver tangible change.
The other parties want to paint us as a party of fear.
The truth is that we are the party of hope. The challenges of poverty, climate change and social inequalities are challenges to all parties. Yet ours is the only party with real solutions. These solutions are my hope for the future.
The other parties want to paint us as a party of abstract concepts.
The truth is that we are the party based in real communities. Our policies address the problems facing people today. We are the party for those who want a better life in a better world.
The other parties think that change is impossible.
The truth is that change is the only constant in history. They think we cannot avert disaster. It’s our job to help deliver the change we need. It’s our job to deliver that hope.
The credit crunch, rocketing fuel prices and climate change are starting to strike. We can’t just talk these problems in the abstract. We must deliver change on the ground. We need policies which will help people weather the current economic crisis, and re-build a Green economy fit for the 21st century and beyond.
Across the UK there have been calls for a Green New Deal. This would raise a windfall tax on profiteering energy companies. It would split up the mega-banks that gamble away people’s futures. It would ensure people are employed through the credit crunch building the Green economy we need – with insulation, public transport, renewable energy – supporting social enterprises and community businesses.
But, we have to deliver this Green New Deal on the ground. As a councillor, I know people are struggling now. As co-convener, I will work with the party, with our MSPs, councillors, and target candidates, to build greener communities.
I will push for:
– Free insulation for all. This has already been delivered by Green councillors in Kirklees, and will save both money and valuable resources
– Free training for those who want green jobs, ensuring that community economies gain and retain the skills they need to be sustainable
– A living wage for all public sector employees that affords workers a decent standard of living free from the stresses of poverty
– Extending the community right to buy to urban areas so communities can buy up derelict buildings and land to build and retain ownership of the facilities they need
– Decent funding for education – school closures and university funding cuts are not acceptable and do not promote improved well being in our societies
To be successful, all of these need a strong foundation of activists, and as co-convener, that is what I want to help develop throughout Scotland.
We’ve been in Parliament for nearly a decade. We have fundamentally changed the political landscape. The debate is no longer about whether or not we are a serious party. Now we need to fundamentally change Scotland for good. We must present the Scottish people with real, practical alternatives. We are the future of Scotland, and I will work for you all to help that future come about.