Green party

Greens are Scotland's only genuine alternative to politics as usual

7 November 2005

The Scottish Green Party today hailed their growing track record andargued that they are emerging as the only genuine alternative tocounter the stale politics of the larger parties, at the opening oftheir conference in Dundee.

Greens pointed to their recent successes, including winningcross-party backing for a tough stance rejecting ID cards, and forcingthe Executive to criticise the Home Office's inhumane treatment ofasylum seekers, as well as securing a climate change inquiry andwinning parliamentary support for greater efforts on energyefficiency, waste reduction and sustainable transport. (1)

They said they are the only party prepared to face up to the toughchoices needed to build a genuinely sustainable and prosperousScotland. A keynote session demanded tough action on climate change,which Greens see as the most important global challenge. Theycriticised Tony Blair for aligning himself increasingly with GeorgeBush on this issue, and rejecting the need for tough targets to reducecarbon dioxide emissions.

Greens will also debate their approach to Coalition politics thisweekend with the potential for holding the balance of power in 2007and looking forward to the first Scottish Green Councillors elected tolocal government.

Shiona Baird, Greens' co-convener and MSP for North East, opening theconference as the host MSP, said: "Greens are emerging as a major newforce in Scottish politics, particularly given that we may well holdthe balance of power come the 2007 elections. We need to bridge thegrowing gulf between politicians and the people they represent andwork for - and that means the new politics that we were promised withthe Scottish Parliament, not the stale politics of the old parties.

"For example, it has become clear that Labour and LibDems do not takeseriously the crucial issues of energy and climate change. Blair hasmade it clear that he won't make the tough choices, and neither willScottish Labour or Scottish LibDems. To build a genuinely prosperousand progressive Scotland, politics needs more Greens than ever - andwe're going to make sure of that.

"Even with our limited numbers in parliament we have been making adifference and injecting a heavy dose of reality into politicaldebate. In the Parliament we are leading fight against climate changeand Scotland's appalling record on pollution. We are campaigninglocally and nationally for more renewable energy, for energyefficiency and to avoid the dead-end of building new nuclear powerstations."

Pointing to the Greens' solid track record in keeping the big issueson the public agenda, Robin Harper MSP, who has led the party in theparliament since 1999, said: "Greens have been working to defend civilliberties - leading Parliament to defeat Labour on their flagship IDcards project and campaigning to stop the inhumane dawn raids onasylum seeking families. It is Greens that are at the forefront ofcampaigning for justice in the planning system, against the shockingfuel poverty that blights elderly people in particular, and for a 21stcentury public transport system for Scotland.

"We are gearing up for more success in 2007 both at Parliament and atlocal authority level - this weekend will see the Party launch a majorfundraising initiative to help us compete with the major Westminsterparties who receive public and big business funding.

"The stronger the Green presence in politics, the more likely Scotlandcan benefit from a change to politics as usual - where we can pressfor real joined up thinking to address the issues facing us all."

ENDS

For further information call the SGP press office 0771 761 8771/07909 933074.

Notes to editors

Since 2003, Greens have also- put forward innovative ideas such as a Citizen's income (now adoptedby other parties), Land Value Taxation and alternative methods ofmeasuring the economy- proposed a number of bills to the Scottish Parliament (includingbills on GM liability, energy efficiency in homes, traffic reduction,reducing climate change emissions, civil partnerships,microrenewables, Land Value Taxation)- campaigned for more effective regulation of supermarkets so thatproducers get a fair deal, highlighting the plight of dairy farmers,and supporting small businesses who suffer from unfair competition- initiated the parliamentary campaign to retain funding for Airborne- campaigned for a zero waste policy for Scotland, attracting crossparty support- promoted a new style of politics emphasising transparency,accountability and consensual ways of working - e.g. bringing togetheropposing wind energy campaigners to broker dialogue between them, onlyScottish party with gender-balanced leadership, produced annualreports detailing how Green MSPs are using public moneyThese are just some of the achievements and activities of the GreenMSPs. For more information and copies of annual reports go towww.scottishgreens.org.uk