#SGPConf: Patrick Harvie says Scottish Greens are ‘leading the change’ to a fairer future

#SGPConf 2017 

THE Scottish Greens are ‘leading the change’ across the country, co-convenor Patrick Harvie will tell delegates at the party’s annual conference in Edinburgh today.

He will accuse other parties of ‘playing catch-up’ in proposing policies for a ‘fairer and greener country’.

It comes as the Scottish Green Party, who are heading close to a full-house at their event at Edinburgh Napier University, are buoyed by recent successes around their involvement in frack and smacking bans.

Harvie will say progress made by Greens in opposition at Holyrood includes John Finnie’s proposed equal protection bill, Mark Ruskell’s proposed 20mph bill and the reversal of £160m in cuts to local councils successfully negotiated at last year’s Scottish Budget.

He’ll highlight how Greens are also leading the change across Europe by welcoming Swedish deputy minister for finance Per Bolund MP, and Green MLA Clare Bailey who has been leading the campaign to change Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws.

Harvie will claim that Greens can be proud in giving people in Scotland “a vision of what’s possible”.

Mr Harvie MSP will say: “The list of Green achievements at Holyrood is long and getting longer.

“We’re leading the change on issues from air pollution to rent control, and from the fracking ban to the announcement of a publicly owned energy company and it’s clear that the positive Green agenda we’ve been pushing for years is making real progress.

“With support growing for Green campaigns like our bills to protect children from violence and to make 20mph speed limits the norm, and for core Green ideas like universal basic income and Land Value Tax, it’s clear that we have much more progress ahead.

“But leading the change is what Greens have always done.

“From our earliest days, long before devolution and fairer voting systems, we have pushed at the edges of what’s politically possible and forced others to respond.

“We were the first to call for meaningful action on issues like climate change, radical land reform and equal marriage, and these are now mainstream – though it often takes the rest of the political landscape a decade to catch up.

“Now, with critical challenges ahead like the chronic inequality in our society, the continuing environmental crisis and the recklessly destructive Brexit power-grab, we must respond with practical ideas, but also inspire people with a vision of what’s possible.”

The Glasgow MSP will then tell members that the party is ready to rise to new and emerging challenges such as Brexit and the forthcoming Scottish Budget.

In a rallying call to action, he will add: “We must never stop pushing at the boundaries; we must never become the kind of party that tries to win by offering a safe, unchallenging middle-ground agenda.

“We’ll keep leading the change in Scottish politics, advocating investment in the post-oil economy that lies ahead, finding new ways of sharing our wealth more fairly and living within environmental limits.

“Other parties will no doubt still take their time to catch up, but the radical Green agenda will keep moving the political agenda in the right direction.”

He is expected to make his speech around 11.45am.

Want to learn more? Read: Scottish Greens conference agenda

Image credits: cc GeraltAnita Starzycka

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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