Thank you for all your support …. but we’re just getting started
A week after our Autumn Conference, Mark Ruskell MSP takes a look back at some of the facts and figures.
It’s hard to believe that an entire week has already gone by since our packed out autumn conference in Dunfermline, but I wanted to drop you a short note to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part, tuned in and made magic happen.
At our conference we were able to announce a whole host of new policies thanks to the work of our teams at Holyrood and supporters across the country. Policies that put people and planet front and centre of what we are doing.
We unveiled plans for a new cruise ship levy that will support communities up and down the country to cope with pressures on local infrastructure and tackle climate emissions.
We announced that more young people living on our islands will be entitled to free ferry travel to the mainland by extending the National Ferry Travel Scheme to under 22s.
Similarly, one of the biggest cheers of the day was when we revealed that £2m has been set aside to allow for free bus travel for asylum seekers in Scotland, subject to some more work being carried out.
Another example of climate action comes in the form of our announcement about a local carbon land tax to empower Scotland’s council to act.
And we also unveiled targets for Scotland’s growing solar energy industry, inspiring confidence in this important sector with the aim to grow it to 10 times its current capacity by 2030.
I’ll be continuing the work to deliver these policies under my climate, transport and energy brief at Holyrood.
We were able to put independence front and centre of the weekend again, by challenging Labour voters to ditch their party as it lobs its principles overboard.
Our spokesperson on the constitution Ross Greer wrote about the moral obligation we have to make it happen, and co-leader Lorna Slater wrote on how we navigate the coalition against change involving both Labour and the Tories who want to stop us. You can read Lorna Slater’s full speech here, and fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie’s speech here.
Yesterday also saw the launch of the Scottish Government’s latest independence paper, Migration to Scotland.
Our conference was captured by our friend and photographer Christain Gamauf, smashing records for the traffic on our Flickr account. We also experienced a big rise in people visiting our website, which continues to go from strength to strength, experiencing in excess of 33% more visits than during last year’s event. While on social media our Twitter/X account saw a 250% increase.
We continue to call for an urgent and lasting ceasefire in Gaza. The killing of innocent people cannot be allowed to continue and we are grateful to our conference for supporting a motion on our position. In particular, Ross Greer had these strong words for Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer over his refusal to back the ceasefire.
You can follow our latest statements on the crisis here.
Post conference, our work continues, and this week we received positive news on a number of fronts.
First the Court of Session has agreed to recognise trans people within the definition of women if that is their acquired gender. Secondly, judges also ruled against legal action taken over the emergency rent freeze brought in to protect tenants in the cost of living crisis. We also called out Shell over its grotesque oil and gas profits, and reiterated our call for the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland.
We’re in the terrific position now of understanding the expectations for what we achieve in government and at conference. It’s why our venues are getting larger to accommodate more attendees, fringes and media. Our trip to Fife was no different, and I must say a huge thank you to the staff at both EATS Rosyth at the Carnegie Conference Centre for looking after us, and to the local branch and members for being such excellent hosts.
Most of all, thanks to all of you for making the effort to come along, engage with and support us. We couldn’t do it without you.