Monday, June 20th, 2016
Greener in by Anne Thomas
As a previous European Parliamentary Candidate for the Greens I am frustrated that people say that the EU is not democratic. The reason we do not have a Green MEP is that the electorate of Scotland voted in favour of the UKIP candidate to fill the final 6th place, but as a proportional system it is actually more representative than other electoral systems. UKIP by its very nature does nothing to represent the people of Scotland in the European Parliament, whereas our top candidate Maggie Chapman would have been a fantastically industrious, eloquent and forceful advocate on our behalf. We now effectively have five MEPs to work for Scotland’s interests and represent our concerns. They vote on the laws often drafted by the European Commission in much the same way that the civil service drafts the detail of laws voted on by Westminster or Holyrood members. We also have the Council of Ministers which consists of elected ministers from all the member states and has quarterly summits.
Quite how Scots think that they are going to have more say by divorcing themselves from the EU and giving more money and power back to Westminster is a mystery to me. Scotland and particularly the Highlands has benefitted greatly from EU funding, because this is given on the basis of need. If we withdraw from the EU, this money will be spent by Westminster governments of whichever complexion on priorities and regions that they perceive important to shore up their vote. If the seat is likely to be either Lib Dem or SNP there is no reason for them to spend the money in that area.
We also benefit greatly from environmental, employment and human rights protection which is much more likely to work if agreed as a group of nations rather than these standards being undercut in a race to the bottom and we cannot tackle climate change, data protection or many other issues on our own. Multinationals are often bigger than nation states so if we are to hold them to account e.g. making sure they pay their taxes we need the support of a group of nations like the EU.
I am not saying that the EU is perfect, but I think the greener, fairer, stronger option is to stay in and change things from within. If you’d like to discuss this further we are holding stalls on Inverness High St this week.
Highlands and Islands Greens Issues Co-ordinator