The Greens are the first political movement born in the age of European political and economic union, and we’ve always seen EU membership as a positive opportunity to make progress on a host of social and environmental objectives. Europe has improved working conditions for millions of people, helped to control the use of toxic chemicals in industry, and put pressure on all member states to live up to basic standards of human rights and equality.

But the EU is also guilty of far too much economic centralisation, and remains dominated by an unsustainable and market-obsessed economic model. Greens want to see strong self-reliant local and regional economies in Europe, instead of pushing for ever greater centralisation. In a more democratic and accountable Europe, power should be placed in the hands of citizens through a stronger Parliament, and greater use of referendums.


We believe that the possession of weapons of mass destruction is wrong at any time. But the idea of committing tens of billions of pounds to replace Trident at a time when there are real threats to the funding of public services is particularly repulsive. Greens campaign against Trident both inside Parliament, where we won the first ever clear vote against it at Holyrood, and by participating alongside others in the peaceful direct action which has kept this issue on the political agenda in Scotland over the years.


The UK has a long history of profiteering from the arms trade, and has utterly failed to give any meaning to the phrase “ethical foreign policy”. Ending government support for arms fairs, banning the export of offensive weapons and regulating private arms brokers and security consultants would take us in the right direction.


By participating the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, the UK made the world a more dangerous place and further undermined the institutions which are supposed to bring nations together. The UN Security Council remains dominated by the planet’s biggest arms dealers, including the UK and US Governments, and must be reformed to ensure fair representation of all the world’s people. The UN itself must have the funding and the authority to mediate in conflicts, which will increasingly occur over access to basic resources as a result of climate change.


Instead of relying ever more deadly weapons, we argue that peace and security can only be achieved through global justice. The world will never be safe while we allow the obscenity of poverty to continue, and while economic exploitation and illegal occupations continue.

The growth of ethical and fair trade has shown that many people want an alternative which places human dignity above profit, and which tackles poverty and injustice. It’s time to make all trade fair trade, by reforming the global rules and reining in the power of the multinationals.