The Greens had their conference this weekend, I thought no controversy there, a rant-free few days ahead.
I like the Greens, I really do. I voted for them in the past and may vote for them in the future. I am a natural Green, brought up to recycle & compost, buy organic when possible, think about food miles, Fair Trade, no-GMOs, no car, crochet my own lentils etc.
Moving to Scotland and seeing Green MSPs in Holyrood was fantastic. Pre Sept 18th I talked about joining the Greens in an iScotland, I wanted to push for a more radical republican country, but that didn’t happen.
However, I came home from work today and read this interview with Maggie Chapman in the Herald. Lets say I had mixed feelings. I’m hoping it was badly worded, I hope she doesn’t believe that because I believe that a Labour administration would have been no opposition at all. Let’s face it they sent money back to Westminster, and the financial outgoings which are crippling so many Scottish local authorities are the repayments on PFI contracts now totaling £500 million a year.
I don’t feel this is the way to go, it feels shoddy and I expect better from the Greens. In what way could the Scottish Government do more with the powers it has? The Council Tax issue is a farce and has been batted back and forth for years. It’s a political minefield and has been since the bloody poll tax was implemented. Rather than regurgitate badly I’ll link you to this WOS post which I feel goes through it clearly step by step.
All these articles do is alienate SNP supporters, the very people they want to vote for them. The SNP may “only” have 2% of the voting population as members, but 50% voted for them at the last General Election, and a sizable chunk look likely to do so again at Holyrood. The public don’t feel they are doing a bad job and you can’t talk a party down against public experience, for example Labour trying to talk down Scottish NHS when it is outperforming both England and Wales. Yes, there are issues, there will always be room for improvement but getting English news every night shows that Scotland isn’t performing badly. (Yes I went there, English news not UK)
It’s the run up to Holyrood elections and I get that the Greens – as with other smaller parties who only stand on the list – need people to divert from their constituency candidate’s party. I believe this year that the Greens could do well and if people are pro-Indy but not keen on the SNP that they are an appealing choice.
I have gritted my teeth over the “SNP need opposing, so we’d like you SNP supporters to vote Green on the list.” It’s not as bad as some of the “you’re an idiot if you vote for the SNP, vote for us” things I’ve seen on Twitter – there are people supporting the full range of parties who I have no intention of un-muting before May. I appreciate that while the Greens only stand on the list, the odds are that Green voters will support their local SNP candidate and that getting a few back seems only fair.
But please don’t go down the unionist route of negativity, it’s lazy and BORING – win people with policies and don’t promise the moon, suggest something achievable and reasonable. There’s no point promising something that sounds Utopian, it just makes people think “but what the chances of it being implemented?” Change comes with small steps, the majority don’t want revolution – it interferes too much with their routine.
The Greens are on the left so why not target disaffected Labour voters? Plus, let’s face it the SNP are a broad church with some right-wing candidates of whom many will vote for through gritted teeth – if they vote at all. Why not stand a candidate against them? It is the next step, be bold for Scotland. (Same goes for RISE)
I also understand that fracking is seen as a weakness in the SNP armour. The majority of the “new” SNP membership appears to have come from the left and I am fairly confident that the majority of them loathe the idea of fracking coming to Scotland (or anywhere else) it would be political suicide for the leadership to support it. I for one would be sending my card back in very tiny pieces.
See how quickly the LibDems changed – their conference vote was on the 26th February to end the moratorium, by the afternoon the story was that the delegates didn’t understand the amendment and by 5th March they announced that they wanted it banning. 8 days – more a handbreak turn than a u-turn.
I’ve blogged about it previously here, and there is a very informative Q&A session on the legalities of a moratorium and practicalities of a ban on the excellent #TalkingMince blog. The Greens can keep saying “planning laws” as much as they like, but people want details not sound bites.
There’s an informed electorate that now asks questions and demands complete answers. I think it’s a good thing.