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.
Given the pace of events this summer, you could easily forget just how slow political change can be. More than a decade and a half after devolution in Scotland, and with the Conservatives never having been even close to power at Holyrood, you’d have thought that the legacy of Margaret Thatcher would have been long buried, at least when it comes to issues within the control of Scotland’s own Parliament, such as social housing.
At this point in the Holyrood calendar MSPs are normally looking forward to a quieter time over the summer recess, while the committee clerks and government officials are preparing for the budget process which begins when Holyrood returns in September.
As you may have noticed, this is no ordinary year.
The petitions which appear on change.org cover a wide range from deeply serious campaigns to eccentric ‘hobby horse’ issues. Perhaps the best I’ve seen appeared yesterday. Expressing the exhaustion many people feel with the current state of politics, a petitioner proposed: “Can we all agree that there will be no news on Friday. None. Nothing will happen. At all.”
It is fantastic to see how many of you have made their way here today to support 'Scotland in Europe.' I am speaking to you as a migrant and as a Scottish Green.
"The Scottish Green Party totally condemns the actions and attitudes of racism and xenophobia that have come to light in recent days in Scotland and across the UK. In a modern, welcoming and diverse Scotland, it is entirely unacceptable to behave in this manner, and we remain committed to challenging these toxic attitudes at every turn.
In light of these events we offer our continued, unwavering support and solidarity with EU citizens, migrants and all affected by this surge of racism. Know that you will always be welcome, and that Greens will always stand with you."
By Ross Greer
It’s hard to appreciate just what an achievement seventy years of peace in Europe actually is, particularly when you’re separated by at least three generations from the last time our continent was devastated by war.
For many of us born after the fall of the Berlin Wall the idea that we should stay in the European Union to keep the peace doesn’t usually come across as being that credible.
It’s a threat to public services, our environment, health and safety, consumer protection, workers’ rights and democracy. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) represents many of our worst fears about the European Union. Yet our best chance of defeating it is to vote Remain on Thursday. As part of a Europe-wide movement, we can end TTIP.
To build a better future, we must listen to the voiceless.
I took part in a debate in Govan last night, making the case for remaining in the European Union. The events of the past couple of weeks - Orlando attacks, then Jo Cox's death - have shaken me to the core, and re-affirmed that we must move beyond a politics of hate and 'othering', to a politics of inclusion, understanding and respect.
As the vote on June 23rd draws near I have a sense of referendum deja vu, except this time my anticipation of positive, people-driven change has been replaced with a deep worry that we’re about to be dragged into an illogical mess against our will.
It’s therefore vital that progressive voices here in Scotland speak up, and persuade undecided voters – and the many who just feel unmotivated – that the challenges we face as a society are best tackled by remaining within the EU.