It was manifesto launch a couple of days ago and a big media turn-out: it appears that the prospect of Greens making gains and being serious potential players in government has awakened interest.
A couple of commentators have commented on the social policy and taxation content of the manifesto: “red as well as green” is the phrase in vogue, it seems.
To be honest, there is not much departure there. Every Green manifesto I can recall has been full of wide-ranging policy proposals on education, on fiscal policy, on equalities, on housing and regeneration and on health. To name only a few. It is just that the way our policy platform has been reported, it is within a straitjacket of pre-conceived notions of what the Greens stand for.
The only difference now is the timidity of the other parties in the face of Westminster cuts. Greens won’t play that game so we have set out how Scotland can stand up for itself and pay for the public and community services that we treasure. And, by the way, a Yougov poll shows that this stance is backed by the majority of the public.
But has that been at the expense of our more indentifiably “green” policies? Not a bit of it! The manifesto has dozens of ideas that set new horizons for policy on sustainability, energy, climate change, waste, animal welfare and protecting eco-systems. Our commitment to these policy areas as well as protecting and developing public services is precisely why we have given voters a real choice as regards how that investment is raised. Any parties that pretend you can have it both ways are treating the public with contempt.
But don’t just take my word for it. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of every major green organisation in Scotland, has published its manifesto comparison of the five main parties. In this, the Greens are almost embarassingly way out in front in addressing climate change, the most significant and serious environmental challenge we face.
You see – greener and fairer.