The local elections are drawing closer. So far we've had two election leaflets through the door:
The first one promises:
Push for the whole ward to be designated as a Rent Pressure Zone, which would cap rent rises.
Fight for local groups to temporarily take over the growing number of empty retail spaces, providing free space for community purposes.
Work to make the area more accessible for everyone, seeking improvements to our streets, parks and public spaces.
In the more narrative part of the leaflet his candidate also : speaks out on child poverty, supports community enterprise and promises action on cleaner, safer streets (including more recycling facilities and more frequent emptying of the rubbish bins).
The second candidate promises to:
work hard to reduce anti-social behaviour
continue the flight against domestic violence and hate crime
work hard to keep our streets safe and clean
continue to work to improve waste collection times
continue to promote recycling and work to reduce fly tipping
prioritise efforts to protect our parks and green spaces.
So the question is, which is the Scottish Green Party candidate? You may think it's the 2nd, who includes three obviously environmental priorities in his list, but no, the 2nd candidate is the Scottish National Party candidate. The Scottish Green Party is represented by the first candidate! Now I totally support the three things that he has chosen to highlight as his main aims and in a broad sense two of them are environmentally aware - better use of retain spaces reduces the need to build new retail spaces on green land and he does mention parks plus the more in depth part of the leaflet becomes more obviously concerned with the environment.
But if the SNP is going to highlight some of the obvious green ideas (promote recycling! protect our green spaces!) in their key manifesto pledges then why should we vote for the Green Party? Both parties support Scottish Independence too, so that isn't a defining feature either.It's good that the SNP are taking on board the environmental message, but that gives the Greens even more room to become more overtly environmental.
We need a Green Party that not only genuinely stands up for nature and the environment but that puts those issues and concerns right at the forefront of their campaigns. Most people don't read the party manifesto, most probably don't even read part the three priority statements on the front of the party leaflet. So the party needs to make its eco-friendly stance obvious and bold. The overtly environmental statements should come first, with the other ideals following on with an explanation of how they support the environment in a broad sense.
We need a political party that will wholeheartedly stand up for nature and the environment, but is the Scottish Green Party as yet this party? Or are they just a green tinged left wing party? (Not that that is a bad thing in itself, but it doesn't go far enough for me or a lot of other environmentalists).
(Disclaimer I used to be a member of the Scottish Green Party and left for various reasons and have never been tempted back).