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Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

James MacKessack-Leitch

Branch Co-Convenor, Communications Co-ordinator and Moray Sub-Branch Convenor

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR H&I?

Coordinate Communications! I support local groups build good relations with the local media, and offer media training – writing media releases, dealing with journalists, giving interviews etc. I am also ultimately responsible for all material produced by HIGP, such as newsletters, leaflets, posters, cards, and it’s my job to make sure everything is consistent, looks good, and our policies are being expressed clearly.

WHY DID YOU JOIN?

Economics. I graduated in 2009, into a jobs market that had ceased to exist. I’d never been particularly political beforehand, and like most people had muddled along without giving it too much thought. But then the light finally shone, and I realised that while I may have done what I was supposed to do – stay on in school, go to university, get a well paid job with good prospects – that last bit didn’t happen because it was dependent on an economic system didn’t (and still dosen’t) work. That got me thinking, with all the rhetoric about fixing the economy going on, the only people saying we need fundamental change were (and still are) the Greens. With a bit more research I found that actually the Greens reflected my own views better than I previously thought – not just on economics, but the environment, social justice, transport and local government. Joining was an obvious and easy next step, and I’ve not looked back since!

WHAT’S THE SGP POLICY CLOSEST TO YOUR HEART?

Railway re-nationalisation. It’s something that could be transformational – taking the private profit element out of the railways would enable us to create a world leading, fast, efficient, cheap, and environmentally friendly transport network. It’s a policy that’s overwhelmingly popular with the public – not just for improving passenger services, but also for enabling us to clear the roads of dirty, slow, goods vehicles as freight moves back to the rails.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE BRANCH?

That we continue to grow, and start winning elections! Holyrood is looking good for at least one MSP, and we’re working hard for more, and of course we’ve held a Highland Regional seat before so it can be done. I’m also looking forward to the Local Elections in 2017, where I hope to see (and perhaps be one of!) a tide of new Green councillors across the region!

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE THINKING OF JOINING?

Do it! I know all parties say it, but we really are unique, because we truly believe in our ordinary members. Right now our policy is being shaped not by paid experts, consultants, or vested interests, but by our membership in our discussion forum and local meetings – and because it’s open to everyone, any member with a passion to get something done, can!

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS & WHY?

Culbin Forest. I’ve always liked trees and forests, and Culbin is one of the biggest and best in this part of the world, so much so that I’ve not yet explored all of it. It’s also a SSSI so there’s a huge range of species, plus there’s a tower that gives you a view over the tree tops.

Farigaig Forest on Loch Ness comes a close second!

Contact James MacKessack-Leitch