Out and About in Central Scotland (Campaign Diary #2)
Highlights – It's getting difficult to choose with so many good things happening for lots of different reasons.
OK, make me choose then: my visit with Patrick Harvie to a living wage employer, Damada, and my North Lanarkshire mini-tour with Claire, Kevin and John.
Lowlights – not finding many lowlights to be honest, quite cold doing the Falkirk stall last Saturday but we are getting a warm welcome on the streets and the snow falling through the twinkly lights outside Cafe on the Wooer (http://www.coffeeonwooer.co.uk/) looked very pretty.
But before you get stuck into the juicy details of this week's blog, I need to mention these two important things:
1. MUST DO EVENT: Come learn the Scottish Green Party's views on jobs and the economy. Hear short speeches from Scottish Green Party Co-convenor Patrick Harvie and candidates for Central Scotland Kirsten Robb and John Wilson MSP, then ask them questions on the topics that matter to you. We hope to see you there!
If you're a party member you can come and have free Pizza with the Party before this event between 6 and 7pm. A good chance to chat, meet fellow members and see what's happening as part of the campaign. You need to reserve your pizza though though the code given to all members through our bulletins.
2. CROWDFUNDER: We are 60% of the way there on our crowdfunder to elect Central Scotland's first Green MSPs. Can you help us smash that target?
Mega Monday had three events scheduled, starting with the first blast out on the airwaves of our 6 key campaign messages at our Oran Mor campaign launch. You can watch the launch here (https://youtu.be/UoJhlpGzujk) and read more about our powerful messages here – on housing, fracking, jobs, caring, community power and young people at our new website
Later that day, Patrick and I visited Living Wage employer, Damada Group http://www.damada.co.uk/, that handles asbestos surveyance and clean-up. Managing Director, Colin McCartney, plays an active role in the Lanarkshire Living Wage Campaign and told us that not only is it the right thing to do, but giving your staff a decent wage can give you a competitive edge when going for public sector contracts. Did you know that people used to actually wear asbestos suits in industry? Crazy. Colin also told us that although the national talk is about small companies getting more of the public sector procurement pie, the reality is often different with bigger companies scooping up contracts. Greens would like that money to be kept in local economies instead so we'll be working hard to ensure more small businesses (and therefore more local people) benefit from public sector procurement.
That same night we went along to a Radical Independence East Kilbride event on explaining the voting system for the coming elections. Raymond Burke has been crunching the numbers and members at the meeting were invited to plug in different scenarios on the vote and see the results. You can see from these snapshots that on current polling the SNP would not get another MSP on the regional vote. Maybe worth then having a look at some of the great policies of the Greens to give us your vote on the regional list? Don't pin all your hopes on one party, diversity is strength...
Falkirk stall was cold, but lovely as usual, with stall stalwart Doug Sheehan. As the gazebo tried to fight back tipping rain and snow on to the streets, we still got a good reception, great connections made and a follow up visit on disabilities planned. I really love Falkirk. It still has unique shops and it's historic streetscape is getting welcome investment to help rejuvenate the town centre – find out more and have your say here: http://falkirkthi.com/
After another busy week, it was great to get out a wander with the wee one to an oasis on our urban doorstep. Good quality greenspaces are so vital to health and well being yet too few people have access to them, this has got to change. See page 5 summary of http://greenspacescotland.org.uk/SharedFiles/Download.aspx?pageid=133&mid=129&fileid=482
The week was topped off with a whistle-stop tour of part of North Lanarkshire with NL Greens. Great to revisit some of the places we campaigned in previous years and chat with Claire, Kevin and John about current issues we can make a difference on. Brilliant to have a branch (and a very active one at that) in NL now. If you are not yet involved, get in touch with the branch at:
Finally, I read this great report by the Scottish Federation of Small Businesses on what a 'revolution in links between small businesses and schools' could deliver. Good stuff and certainly something the Greens can back with our commitment to moving investment to local businesses and social enterprises.
Have a great week out there and see you on the trail!