Meeting Our MSPs As A New Member

New Scottish Greens member Ross Craig attended a "meet and greet" day with the Green MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. Here, he shares his thoughts on the day with us.

As a recent new member of the Scottish Greens I was delighted to be invited to a meet and greet with Alison Johnstone and Patrick Harvie at the Scottish Parliament. Arriving early I was welcomed by Scottish Greens staff who warmly welcomed me and other new Greens. We were in time to sit in the gallery and observe a hotly debated motion on the future of Trident in Scotland. The motion was put forward by Patrick and was successfully argued! The chamber was full and it was a pleasure to witness democracy in action especially on such an important issue. Patrick was by far and away the best orator on the subject and he handled the dissenters very well. I was delighted when the parliament carried his motion.

After the debating action we were guided by the staff to a meeting room where we held exclusive audience with Patrick and Alison. Both were very genuine and welcoming. It was only at this point did I see the huge turnout from new Green members. The meeting room was full and there was standing room only! New Greens from all sections of society numbering over 50. It was fantastic to hear all the points from like minded people.

After 30 minutes or so we left the parliament and went to a nearby pub. I got the chance to speak to lots of the new members and to Patrick and Alison too. The enthusiasm for our Green Party is infectious and I left feeling very positive about the upcoming referendum and the annual conference.

It's hard to believe that such a landmark vote is happening in such a short time. A vote where we can really shape our future and take responsibility for ourselves. Like a young person leaving the family home we won't be abandoned by our commonwealth cousins and nor are we to blame for breaking away from years of Union. It's time to go it alone and the Greens are ready to participate in a modern and revitalised Scotland. Ready to abandon the old values and fears behind nuclear capability. Ready to allow local people to make decisions that affect local communities. Ready to look after our environment and society with greater conscience than ever before.

Amongst the absentees from the debating chamber was First Minister Salmond. Remember that September's vote isn't about him or the SNP it's about Scotland looking out for itself. Don't mistake the referendum for a personality contest but as an opportunity that future generations will be grateful for.