Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

This week in INBS

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

It’s been a busy time on the campaign trail this week.

Monday saw the start of the official campaign period and the Scottish Greens were first out of the blocks, launching their manifesto in Edinburgh at 10am.

SGP RailwaysYou can read the full manifesto here.  The top three issues are:

  • Equality not poverty: £10 minimum wage by 2020
  • Public services in public hands: public ownership of our railways
  • Power to communities: more powers for Scotland and local communities

I was honoured to be asked to sit on the panel for the launch alongside Patrick Harvie (co-convenor), Maggie Chapman (co-convenor) and Peter McColl (Edinburgh East candidate).  We were asked to give a quick speech and this is what I said:

isla in the metro“I travelled down on the bus from Inverness yesterday and I’ll be heading back up the road today.  I can tell you that Inverness is a long way from Edinburgh and even further from Westminster.  It’s easy to see why people can feel so far removed from the political system.  That’s why its so important for them to send down someone who is going to represent the people and area and not have vested interests.

For me politics is all about principles and priorities.  When I’m out on the streets speaking to people or chapping doors, I tell them that the principles of the Scottish greens are easy to explain.  We will always put people, planet and peace at the forefront of our decisions.  The response to this is overwhelmingly positive.

Folks are ready for a change.  They see that the common sense approach of the Greens will truly empower and strengthen our local communities.

That by giving communities more access to and control over their own resources such as local land, food and energy we can empower them to build in real economic and social resilience.

We have seen the massive Green surge in the North as much as everywhere else.  I believe people are turning to us because they realise that we have the best way of integrating the social and ecological issues instead of playing them off against each other.   And they see that we can have a strong and stable economy that sees the benefits for the many and not the private gain of just an individual few.

People are ready to put their faith in us.  Ready to make their vote count for something instead of wasting it by voting tactically.  They are ready to start building that  compassionate society and the healthy environment that we all really want.  They are ready to be brave.  They are ready to vote Green.”

On Wednesday we saw a National day of action about the railways.  To find out more read James’s blog.

In the evening on Wednesday I attended a hustings organised by the Inverness Chamber of Commerce at the College.  There was a good crowd of around 90 people.  All the candidates attended and there was some excellent questions.  Here is my opening speech:

” We are facing two crises not only in the UK but in the world. An economic crisis and an environmental crisis.  These two go hand in hand. We cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy society and a healthy environment.  We need to ask ourselves who does the economy work for? And who do we want it to work for?

We are currently experiencing severe austerity. We were told that the crash happened because of excessive public spending and that it must be cut back. In reality it was irresponsible banking sector.  And we are all now paying the price. isla chamber husting

The greens are not anti profit. Everyone needs to make a profit.  We do want a strong and stable economy but one that works for the benefit of many and not just a few.

We heard on the news yesterday that GDP is up. Yay!

But lets dig a little deeper.  UK workers now receive only 50.5% GDP. Was 65.1% in 1976.  This rate of decline is unmatched by any other industrialised economy!

Even this figure is misleading though as it includes executives.  Executive wage ratios have increased over the past 10 years from 47 to 128.  So the actual share of GDP for the majority of ordinary people is probably much lower.

Systematic erosion of our society and human economic activity is putting life on earth at risk. Economic growth does not have to come at such a high cost.

Climate change presents us with an opportunity to evolve. To create jobs and industries that do not trash the planet.

Climate change is not the big problem. It is purely a symptom.

Right wing neoliberalism capitalism ideologies are the problem. We’ve had 5 years of it, do you really want another 5?

We want to make a change. We’re ready for a new type of politics. And we hope you are too.”


There is another hustings on Friday 3rd in Aviemore hosted by the Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation group.

On Saturday we will be out on the Inverness High Street with a stall as usual.

If you would like to register as a volunteer helper for delivering leaflets etc please fill out this form so we can get in touch.