BETTER COMMUNITIES TO LIVE AND WORK IN
Every society has some values which are shared, as well as a rich diversity between people. Sadly, like most developed countries, the voices of those promoting consumerism and greed in Scottish society are currently dominant.
Greens believe the things that really matter in life are good health, good relationships with other people, a safe community and decent homes and local environments. Yet the current economic models don’t place value in these things, and government policy has continued to promote short term economic gain and consumption instead.
Our economy has grown richer over recent decades, yet governments of all colours have failed to stop the growth of inequality. A chronically unequal society harms all our interests, and the impact on human happiness is now well understood.
We believe that local communities also need to have more control over the decisions which affect them, such as housing and development. Community ownership of housing, including through co-operatives and housing associations, can create a real sense of the common good among people. Small community-led organisations can also bring real creativity to challenges like local energy schemes, crime prevention and public health.
Scotland can be proud of progress that has been made in enhancing equality and protecting diversity. However we still have not succeeded in creating a country where all can participate fully in society regardless of race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. Tackling discrimination in society doesn’t just benefit the individuals concerned, it also benefits our whole society. We believe equality is an important measure of Scotland’s progress.
For many people, politics has never been more of a turn-off. Our democratic institutions have brought themselves into disrepute over the misuse of taxpayers’ money, and though the Scottish Parliament has been quicker to reform itself than Westminster, there are still far too many politicians who refuse to accept any responsibility.
There are many aspects to the problem – governments which can legislate at a whim without a popular majority, political parties which are in hock to millionaire donors, the undermining of Parliament’s authority over Government, and the lack of power many voters feel when presented with three or four brands of the same bland political product.
There are solutions to these problems, like fair voting systems, fixed term parliaments and regulation of party funding. Greens believe in radical democracy, and in devolution down beyond Holyrood as well as greater powers for the Scottish Parliament. The current debate over the constitution boils down to this: the other parties want to see the same old models persist, they just disagree where they should be run from.Railways in Public Hands Renewing Local Democracy Citizens-Income-Briefing-Note.pdf