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3 years ago

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Editor’s Letter

Editor’s Letter Countdown to decision time By Patrick Harvie MSP So far, 2014 has been a good year to be a Scottish Green. Campaigns that we played a part in from the outset have proved successful, while the exposure afforded to us by the independence debate offers an ongoing opportunity to engage with vast numbers of new people – something usually beyond the reach of a Party not flush with millionaires’ cash. The Scottish Parliament voting in favour of equality of marriage led to an outpouring of joy, relief and satisfaction that made our political culture feel genuinely progressive. And the Scottish Government announcing plans to banish the bedroom tax – that Greens have consistently opposed and worked to mitigate the effects of, finally signalled the end of a cruel victimisation of the disempowered. Now we can move forward with our vision for what Scotland can be, with increasing confidence that Green messages are striking a chord, that ever more people in Scotland are coming to realise they share our ambition, and that hard work really does pay off. This is important to remember in a year that holds further challenges. The previously mentioned European elections see the Greens working to prevent a right-wing rise in Scotland, while issues such as Margo MacDonald’s campaign for recognition of the right to a ‘good death’ are set to dominate discussion across the country, as Scots debate how we should define the country we choose to live in. Richard Doherty Contents Mun cuairt na dùthcha | Around the nation P3 Countdown to decision time Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie MSP brings us the latest news from the Yes campaign. P4 Green Yes outside our comfort zone Jason Rose gets out and about to spread the message in areas others have been reluctant to go. P6 Renewing local democracy Fabio Villani, convenor of our Highlands & Islands branch, discusses our ambition to empower. P7 Putting the fans first Alison Johnstone MSP gives an introduction to the Greens’ campaign to put people in charge of community assets. Am Fòram | The Forum P8 Women’s voices in the independence debate Sarah Beattie-Smith discusses the alienating effects of traditional gender bias in politics and media. P9 Inverness: no place for fear Dave Jardine gives a Green perspective on the discussion at Jim Sillars’ recent Inverness appearance. Beachd | Viewpoint P10 Prostitution policy: where to from here Emily St.Denny considers the possible models that Scotland could adopt as its policy changes. P11 Challenging the banking monoliths Iain Thom shines a spotlight on the possibilities and necessity of overhauling the financial system. Buidheann-beachdachaidh | Think Tank P12 Investing for wealth creation Jim Osborne and Tim MacDonald follow-up their earlier article on Scotland’s future for pensions. Bunaitean agus Freumhan | Roots and Branches P13 Saving Posties Park Rose Harvie celebrates a victory for common sense in preserving a council-run park the way its users want it. P14 Falkirk fight the ‘Dash for Gas’ Máire McCormack on how Scottish communities are gearing up for a definitive battle against global corporate influence. Now that we’ve passed the six month mark in the run-up to Scotland’s referendum, undecided voters will be starting to make their final decisions. Polls suggest they are still a big proportion of the electorate; people who won’t decide on the basis of flags or national identity, and who are yet to hear a clinching argument from either side. Many people are still put off by the tone of the debate. The spectacle of Yes and No advocates shouting at each other across a TV studio is a pretty depressing one, and can only leave some viewers wondering whether there’s any voice in this debate they can trust. Greens have tried to be different. We know that independence would be neither utopia nor disaster, and we acknowledge the opportunities and the risks. As a party with a clear majority of support for independence, we’re unique in being happy to embrace the minority view as well. I think that gives us the opportunity – and the responsibility – to demonstrate that this is a debate which can be constructive, and which can be held in a spirit of friendship. Whatever the people of Scotland decide, that’s the spirit in which we’ll need to move ahead and implement the will of the voters. The Green Yes campaign has sought to put distinctive issues onto the agenda – including some which the SNP won’t touch. From opposition to the NATO nuclear alliance, to a commitment to ensure that the wealthiest people and corporations pay their fair share of tax; from empowering communities with truly local democracy, to the urgent task of ending our energy – and economic – reliance on fossil fuels. Over the coming months we’ll add even more to the debate – issues like Citizens’ Income, immigration and employment rights all need to be explored in this debate. We’ll remain committed to a transformational approach. Scotland would be making a huge mistake if we took the bold step of becoming independent, only to repeat the same mistakes we’ve seen from government after government at Westminster. But we’d regret the missed opportunity a No vote represents too. Few generations have the chance to answer a defining question like this, and to set out a vision of the kind of country they want to build. This generation has that chance, and can set a course toward a more peaceful, more democratic, more equal and more sustainable Scotland. In proposing their rather ambiguous alternative of further devolution, Scottish Labour described the UK as a “sharing union” in which risks and rewards are collectively pooled. That could hardly be further from the truth. With tax avoidance by the wealthy few, and an assault on welfare, it’s clear that the UK is failing to share wealth fairly. As they prepare a new EU/US trade deal to hand even more power from elected governments to corporate interests, it’s clear the UK is failing the democratic test. And as for the “greenest government ever”… that pledge rang hollow as soon as it was uttered. We can’t fix this by tinkering at the edges of a broken system. Voting Yes won’t give us a guarantee, but it will open up new possibilities which remain closed to us today. It could be the first step in the most exciting journey Scotland has ever taken. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Green Yes, email: campaigns@scottishgreens.org.uk Your Party magazine needs your help! With so many talented writers, editors, photographers and designers in the Scottish Green Party, we are always keen to find people to develop Greenprint. To find out what opportunities there are to get involved, please email: greenprint@scottishgreens.org.uk Photo by Stewart Attwood 2 Mun cuairt na dùthcha | Around the natiON 3

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