Wed 13 Jul, 2016

I’m new to blogging and quite new to social media but thought it may be helpful to share my experience of being a new member of the Scottish Greens, first impressions of the Falkirk Greens Branch and future hopes and aspirations. It’s a pretty long story to describe political awareness and awakening for someone who considers themselves to be, well, ordinary: the kind of 50 year old women that you pass in the Supermarket most days of the week. I won’t bore you with the details but just to say I’ve experienced my fair share of poverty, disadvantage, strife and a belly-full of gender discrimination. My father was a trade unionist which is a mixed blessing in the sense that I was encouraged to question and challenge but only within the realms of 70’s male dominated Unions and Labour Party. The hypocrisy of those who ascribed to fairness and justice yet perpetuated inequality left me confused for many years and I distanced myself from a lot of political rhetoric. However, we were also encouraged to be hopeful, aspirational, to look beyond our current existence and fight for the rights of ourselves and others.

I found myself at Edinburgh University deep in books and learning; on the fringes of the radical left, bemused by some of the similarities with my previous political experiences. Following this, most of my adulthood has been as an observer of politics. Like thousands of others it was only with the Independence Referendum that this changed. It was tempting to be aligned with SNP but, for me, there was a strange discomfort that gradually made me think that, despite their radical proposals in relation to Independence, their core values, aims, objectives and way they go about things is traditional. In time, I think they will become much like other political parties and be too distant from day-to-day reality to be truly representative.

What else? The Scottish Greens and Patrick Harvie:

“This is the most exciting time to join the Scottish Green Party. Scotland is changing and will continue to change in dramatic ways. Hope and ambition are flourishing and so many people are imagining a new Scotland. A Scotland where we create dignity in welfare; where we protect and harness our precious natural resources for community benefit and future generations; where we cherish public services.

We need a bolder Holyrood.
  Join us and help make it happen.”

An AGM and a couple of Branch meetings later what have I found? Definitely welcoming, human and humorous; discussions that are open, informed and informative. The most striking thing as that everyone is an individual, motivated to be there and with something to contribute. Members are living and breathing the core values of the Scottish Greens “radical and inclusive democracy” and are consistent with Policy: ecology, equality, peace and non-violence committed to forming a fair and sustainable society.

But it’s more than just talk; we are focused on making a difference and working as hard as we can to secure a meaningful Scottish Green presence locally and nationally and building links with Europe and others. Practically this means making and seeing through plans to influence; to secure funds and spread the word and increase membership, increase votes and political representation. It’s also not at all dull and is about building relationships; supporting each other in our efforts and reaching out to secure a better future for everyone. If you are a member and haven’t come to a branch meeting yet, I’d really recommend it. If you are thinking about joining the Scottish Greens I wouldn’t hesitate; it is an exciting time and change is needed and needed now.

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