To mark National Bike Week 2018, here’s a round-up of Scottish Greens policies to promote cycling and demonstrate the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling. Did you know that 51% of people in Glasgow don’t have access to a car?
With a new Transport Bill presented to the Scottish Parliament for scrutiny, here are six ways we think it could help all of us in our daily lives.
1. Better buses
Three-quarters of all public transport journeys in Scotland are made by bus yet many routes face cuts, local fares are rising and service standards are slipping. Buses are vital transport for many of us to get to school or college, to get to work or hospital and to meet friends. We believe this Transport Bill must reflect the importance of buses to many people’s daily lives.
My Green colleague Patrick Harvie got it spot on when he called out the excessive “fawning over privilege” by some politicians about the birth of William and Kate Windsor’s third child.
In case you missed it, Patrick’s amendment to a Tory motion, that was in awe of the royal couple and their new baby, received quite a bit of media attention. In it, Patrick rightly congratulated the parents of the thousands of children born in the UK on the same day while highlighting that 30% of the babies will be born into poverty.
“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.” This famous quote from Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá in Colombia, is a bumper sticker we should be paying a bit more attention to.
Bus services are one of the biggest issues for hundreds of thousands of people in every corner of this country and it is exactly the kind of issue that MSPs’ constituents expect us to get to grips with.
Coul Links, on the south side of Loch Fleet in East Sutherland, is one of the last areas of undisturbed species rich duneland in Scotland. RSPB Scotland describes it as “a mosaic of different dune habitats, each individually important and all increasingly rare.”
Last weekend at our autumn conference our members overwhelmingly backed an updated transport policy which aims to enable higher levels of walking and cycling - otherwise known as active travel - in Scotland. It means we are leading the change towards tackling the rising costs to the NHS of diseases caused by air pollution and inactivity, while also reducing congestion and making our roads safer.
Rail passengers in Scotland will see another rise in regulated rail fares from January next year, this time by 3.6%. So when I heard that the Scottish Government was to announce a transport policy aimed at reducing fares, I thought great! Only, this wasn’t for public transport, but airline tickets.
"There are some things where Scotland is doing very, very well and there are some things that are absolutely shocking, where Scotland is coming last in the world. We still in Scotland say that it's okay for a parent or carer to assault a child for the purpose of physical punishment. I think it really goes against the basic values that we hold in Scotland in terms of human dignity and respect for children.”
These recent comments by Bruce Adamson, Scotland's new children's commissioner, underline the need to revisit our outdated attitude towards smacking.
I’m sure all of us want Scotland to be among the most progressive, socially just, and equal nations in the world. We all want our children to be happy, healthy and to give them the very best start in life. Yet in 2017, we still afford children less protection from assault than adults.
Scotland cannot be thought of as the best place in the world for children to grow up while our law gives children less protection from assault than everyone else. We know conclusively that permitting the physical punishment of children can be detrimental to children’s long term health and wellbeing.
They say travel broadens the mind. And we could do with some broader thinking at this time. A narrow-minded Tory Prime Minister has called a General Election right in the middle of a vital local election campaign. That tells you all you need to know about how little the Tories value local council services.