During the Independence Referendum, we told our friends and neighbours that a better Scotland was possible. Our Green Yes campaign worked hand-in-hand with Yes Scotland to promote a radical vision for Scotland's future: a nation with a global voice, where we would have a real social safety net and equality for all.
That wasn't enough. The majority could not imagine the country we would build, and so chose the status quo.
It's time for a new approach.
The Scottish Greens remain committed to independence. Talking about how our country could be better won't persuade everyone: we must show how Scotland can be better. We believe this is the key to winning a second referendum, and that is why we must make Scotland a better place, here and now.
We know that as the country we want takes shape, the independence that once seemed impossible will become inevitable. So let us show you. Here are five things Scotland can do to win independence:
1. Scotland can create over 200,000 new jobs
Economic uncertainty makes people timid. By building an economy that offers security, jobs and a decent livelihood for all, we will give people the confidence that Scotland has more to rely on than oil.
To do this we must begin the transition to a sustainable green economy, one that prioritises fair pay and investment in low-carbon industry, and which breaks from the economics of austerity. Our "Jobs in Scotland's New Economy" report, published in 2015, demonstrates how we can create over 200,000 new jobs and secure Scotland's economic future. (Read more)
2. Scotland can care for all our people
People struggling to survive today do not have time to imagine tomorrow. Two decades of welfare reform has eroded our social security system, making it unfair and undermining hope for the future. Now that key welfare benefits have been devolved for the first time, the Scottish Greens believe this is the time to radically re-found the benefits system in Scotland.
A key part of this is how the benefits system should tackle inequality, since the concentration of wealth lies at the heart of deprivation in Scotland. We all play a part in creating that wealth, and only by distributing it more fairly can we hope to end the need for food banks in Scotland once and for all. (Read more)
3. Scotland can provide good homes for all
Scotland must be a good home to everyone. Our vision for housing is simple: we need homes for everyone, homes that are of a decent standard and are affordable. We will propose measures to make affordable housing available for all, raise standards in private housing, and end fuel poverty.
The Scottish Greens will push to increase the number of socially rented houses by at least 12,000 a year, control rents and improve security of tenure. By tackling this issue collectively, we can put housing at the heart of a socially just Scotland and give people the space they need to picture an independent future. (Read more)
4. Scotland can unlock the power in our communities
The people who can best build an independent Scotland are the people of Scotland. We need reform of decision-making bodies at national and local level so that ordinary people have more say in their community's futures. National bodies should always have to justify why their functions are not being exercised at a local level, and local government should have a 'right to challenge' to take on tasks currently administered by national bodies.
Going further, we will propose a Local Democracy Act to enshrine a clear duty to promote community participation in all local decisions about taxation, spending and services. (Read more)
5. Scotland can guarantee a future for our young people
Young people will decide Scotland's future, and so they must have a hopeful future to decide. From early years to university, the Scottish Greens believe education is a right. By employing 4000 new teachers and opposing any and all fees for students pursuing their education, we will ensure that money does not come before learning at any point. And to help the next generation get started in society, we will campaign for a Scotland Guarantee of a job, training or education for every school-leaver. (Read more)
So now you know the kind of independence the Scottish Greens want, and how we will work to achieve it in the next session of the Scottish Parliament. It's not that an independent Scotland will become better, but that a better Scotland will become independent.
With a bolder parliament we can start building that better Scotland today.