Lothian Green MSPs’ report – September 2019

Alison Johnstone MSP & Andy Wightman MSP

This is a report to you, our Party colleagues, focusing on our work as MSPs in recent weeks.

To keep up with our work from day-to-day, you can follow us via our social media pages, and the Party website:

Twitter: @alisonjohnstone and @andywightman
Facebook: @Alison.Johnstone.Green and @AndyWightmanMSP
SGP website greens.scot: Alison’s page and Andy’s page.

New data also emerged showing that Scotland’s mountain hare population has declined by 90% on some grouse moors, with management of land for bloodsports playing a major role. Alison described it as “an absolute disgrace due to years of inaction by the Scottish Government and its nature conservation agency”.

Consultation for Alison’s Proposed Protection and Conservation of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill closed on Sunday 15th September, having received almost 10,000 responses.

  • Alison welcomed the announcement that a Young Carer Grant will be introduced in Scotland, going some way towards offering young people with caring responsibilities the same opportunities as their peers. This was proposed in the Greens’ 2016 manifesto, and subsequently backed by the First Minister.
  • Alison responded to the publication of the ‘Yellowhammer documents, revealing that, among the disastrous impacts of a No Deal Brexit, low income groups would be disproportionately affected, and the supply of medicines placed at risk.
  • Andy’s previous involvement in the successful legal case to establish that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 was highlighted in media coverage of legal challenges to Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament.
  • Alison wrote for the Evening News about the impact that Brexit would likely have on our health and care services, not least given the pressures already faced by the sector. Alison had previously responded to a new Audit Scotland report on the challenges facing general practice, which confirmed issues highlighted during a recent Holyrood debate called by the Scottish Greens.
  • Andy spoke to the Ferret for their article about calls for new rules to improve the management of common good funds.
  • Alison was among the women who took part in the Scottish Women Stand event in Holyrood, discussing experiences of being a candidate or elected official, and aiming to inspire those so far underrepresented at every level of politics in Scotland to put themselves forward for upcoming elections.
  • Alison wrote about the fires raging through the Amazon, calling these “an international crime on a massive scale by a far-right ­government and its cronies in big business”.
  • Andy spoke to the Herald about young families being frozen out of owning a home in rural areas, and the overall lack of affordable housing to meet the needs of rural communities.
  • In FMQs, Alison highlighted the lack of ambition in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, noting that reforesting Scotland is a critical component of our Scottish Green New Deal.
  • Andy’s most recent attempts to give communities a stronger role in the planning process get a mention in this article from Councillor Ashley Graczyk.
  • Andy highlighted the scale of the problem of empty homes in Scotland, with over 100,000 empty and under-used second homes across the country, and a desperate lack of affordable homes for those in need. Another Scotsman article also looked at Andy’s work in this area.
  • Alison’s comments that Scottish Government efforts to tackle drug-related deaths “completely fails to recognise the scale of the crisis Scotland faces and the urgency of the response required” were reported by the Daily Record. Alison then added her name in support of the Record’s campaign calling for drug deaths to be recognised as a national emergency, in need of greater funding to help harm reduction and recovery services.
  • Alison responded to East Lothian Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, while its own pension fund invests millions of pounds in some of Scotland’s biggest polluters.
  • Alison spoke on Good Morning Scotland on the Scottish Government’s transport policy, and how it is failing us all. You can listen here from 1:14:29.
  • Ruth Wishart wrote about land ownership in Scotland, highlighting Andy’s work over the years to expose the scale of inequality.
  • Alison spoke at the South of Scotland Greens regional conference, to discuss her Member’s Bill proposals, and other rural land issues alongside Donald McPhillimy of Greener Melrose and Rewilding Scotland.