Record attendance due at Scottish Green Party Conference

For immediate release 5 November 2010

The Scottish Green Party's annual conference will start tomorrow at Napier University's Craiglockhart campus. The party will hear from Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and the first Green MP ever elected to Westminster, plus community campaigners, land reform campaigner Andy Wightman, and the party's Councillors and top Holyrood candidates. More than 200 are expected to attend (1) and vote on the party's approach to key Scottish election issues such as taxation, cuts, more powers for Scotland, and the expected Alternative Vote referendum.

Patrick Harvie MSP, party co-convenor and top Holyrood candidate for Glasgow, said:

"The debate over the public finances will continue to dominate politics long after next year's election, but all the other parties at Holyrood have already agreed to accept Westminster's ideologically driven cuts. They would like to limit the debate just to discussing where the axe should fall, forgetting that there is an alternative. All responsible politicians should be looking at boosting progressive taxation as an alternative to targetting the poor and the vulnerable, but only Greens are prepared to look at this option, and we will consider the alternatives at Conference this weekend.

"Cutting spending in this way in a recession isn't just socially irresponsible, it's also economically incompetent. There is undoubtedly waste - multi-billion pound aircraft carriers with no aircraft, or the ongoing motorway-building programme, but this is precisely the point at which governments should be investing in public transport and energy efficiency, and supporting the small businesses who still can't access bank finance.

"We can no longer afford Governments in London or Edinburgh who only look to the short-term. All the other parties failed to build a sustainable economy during the boom years, and they're failing to build a sustainable recovery now. They were happy to dish out the goodies when the money allowed, but now they have no idea how to cope with the crash. Only the Greens are ready to provide a responsible alternative to the Conservatives' misguided austerity regime."

Eleanor Scott, party co-convenor and top Holyrood candidate for Highlands and Islands, said:

"Conference this weekend marks the start of our campaign to return the largest number of Green MSPs ever to Holyrood, and I'm delighted to know so many members are coming from the four corners of Scotland. Membership is up ten percent just this year, we've had more interest than ever from external organisations in coming to Conference, and this will be both a busy and a rewarding weekend.

"During this year, every other serious contender for Government has been in office either at Holyrood or at Westminster. From the wars and failure to regulate the banks to the expenses scandal and endless broken pledges, faith in the traditional parties of government has been shaken like never before. It's clear we're now the only alternative to their failures in office, and only the Greens will be able to make a pitch to the Scottish people that is both constructive and positive."

Party membership is now just below 1200, up almost 10% in the last twelve months.