Will you vote for Our Common Future?

As the Scottish Green Party publish ‘Our Common Future’, our manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election, Lothian lead candidate Kate Nevens shares her vision of an independent, fairer, greener Scotland and urges all of us to vote like our future depends on it.

The upcoming election is likely the most crucial in Scotland’s history.

The decisions being made will have an impact, beyond the five years of the next Scottish Parliament, for years to come. This will be the Parliament that will decide how we rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic and the values that will underpin our recovery. This will be the Parliament that has the last chance to address the climate emergency.

The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequality that was already so prevalent in Scotland. Women, disabled people, people of colour, and people with low incomes and insecure accommodation, are among those that have been worst affected by the consequences of COVID-19.

Having long worked on rights and equality issues here in Scotland, as well as peace and conflict issues internationally in the Middle East, I am standing as a lead candidate for the Scottish Green Party in Lothian because I want to help build a Scotland which is inclusive, fair and which not only protects but progresses our human rights.

My vision is of a Scotland where everyone has access to safe and warm housing, access to meaningful, well paid work, and access to nature and green and rewilded spaces. I want to help create a society that is open and welcoming to everyone who chooses to make their home here.

I am proud to be a member of a party that pushed through refugees’ rights to vote in the Scottish Parliament elections, and I want to see this right extended to all asylum seekers. I want to see moves made towards giving refugees a right to work, and access to safe and secure housing which is not provided through private contractors. I want to see an end to immigration detention and the establishment of safe legal routes to the UK and Scotland for refugees, including for them to be reunited with their family members.

I am Green because I want to help build a Scotland where abortion is decriminalised, and we no longer live under a two child benefit cap with the horrendous rape clause. My vision is of a Scotland where our police and criminal justice system examine and address the structural racism they perpetuate and where trans and non-binary people have the right to self identify, as well as have timely access to quality healthcare.

The Scotland I envisage will send solidarity around the world, rather than selling weapons to authoritarian and human rights abusing regimes.

It is a nuclear free Scotland, an independent Scotland inside Europe but outside of NATO and most importantly a Scotland that has transformed jobs in weapons manufacturing into jobs in renewable energy.

In my work I’ve spent time with communities in places like South Sudan where the climate crisis is already having a devastating impact – affecting people’s livelihoods, displacing people from their homes and even driving conflict. Having seen first hand the greatest effects of the climate emergency, I’m campaigning for a Scotland where tackling climate change is a number one priority. In the greener, fairer, independent Scotland of the future we will work collaboratively with our green allies around the world to tackle the climate emergency. We will learn from the communities that have been hardest hit, and work collaboratively alongside them.

And we will act like all of our futures depend on it. Because they do.

Polls suggest that Scotland could be on the verge of electing a record number of Green MSPs elected. Already this year Greens have lead on actions that are making a real difference to people’s lives. Actions like bringing in free school meals for all primary school pupils, COVID relief payments for 500,000 families and a ban on winter evictions throughout the pandemic.

This will be the Parliament that will sit for more than half of the nine years that we have left to stop climate breakdown. We must sure that we do not simply return to business as usual. And we must do it now.

With your vote we can return more Green MSPs to Parliament and we can deliver the changes that will build this vision of a fairer, greener, independent Scotland, before time runs out.

So please vote like your future depends on it – vote Scottish Green.