People who have been at the many events at which I have spoken in this campaign will have picked up, if they have a fine-tuned ear, that I was not born in Scotland. I’m originally from southern Africa, where my early attitudes, politics and instincts for justice were forged in the great struggles of that part of the continent these last 50 years.
The ongoing contest for the “anti-austerity” crown in Scottish politics has reached a new intensity this week. Only the Tories aren’t in this game – even if some of the rest have a pretty weak hand to play.
But opposing austerity doesn’t just mean knowing who to blame. It means acting. Whatever view you take of the Scottish Government’s financial record to date, over the coming years it will be increasingly clear that public services will suffer hugely if budgets keep being squeezed.
Scotland is facing a housing crisis. Too many people pay far too much for their homes and the cost of renting keeps going up. Yet wealthy developers are holding on to derelict land that could be used to build thousands of new homes.
Scottish Greens have proposed an amendment to the Land Reform Bill to tax derelict land and incentivise house building. Here’s why…
This week in some places we've seen our call for economic security for the North-east trivialised.
Our plans are for a just transition away from oil and gas to secure future jobs and energy supply. With oil prices dipping below $30 a barrel and 23,000 jobs to be lost in the next 4 years, many in Aberdeen, Scottish Greens have urged the Scottish Parliament to plan properly for the transition away from Scotland’s over-reliance on fossil fuels.
Now the dust has settled on the Paris climate change talks do we feel more secure about our future?
That commitment from 195 countries to work towards limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels was a welcome breakthrough that could drive investment in a carbon free world.
But the clear implication of the Paris deal is that 4/5ths of the world’s fossil fuel reserves are now un-burnable if we are to limit dangerous climate change and protect future generations. That presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
When he sits down at his desk at Police Headquarters for the first time, I doubt Scotland’s new Chief Constable will have communities in the Highlands and Islands or Dumfries and Galloway at the forefront of his thoughts.
Rather, quite appropriately, he will wish to understand the terrorism threat Scotland faces and seek reassurance, from the unsuccessful candidates for the post, that measures are in place to meet the known threats.
The way we generate and use energy has never been more important. We’ve just seen the Paris climate deal struck, with a clear direction of travel signalled. Those who want to keep mining and drilling are dinosaurs, and their attempts to distract from a clean-tech, jobs-rich future must be challenged.
On Wednesday Finance Secretary John Swinney will publish his draft budget for 2016/17. With relentless austerity imposed from Westminster, new powers coming down the track and a Holyrood election around the corner, what should his priorities for investment be?
AS we head towards the festive break many of us will be planning journeys, local and international, either to catch up with family and friends or simply to get away to relax. The closure of the Forth Road Bridge is unlikely to make those journeys easier. That situation underlines the need to invest properly in maintaining the road network we already have, and good public transport.
Some people will be flying over the holidays and it reminds me that there’s a thistle we need to grasp.