The UK’s first Green Parliamentarian today hailed his party’s successes and promised a determined and distinctive election campaign in his last address to party conference as an MSP. Robin Harper – who spearheaded the Scottish Greens’ growth from the mid-1980s to become a permanent and potent force in Scottish politics – will stand down from Parliament in 2011.
Today he shared a platform with Councillor Alison Johnstone, the Greens’ top Lothians candidate and a seasoned community campaigner, and stressed the need for concerted and continued action to secure an economically, socially and environmentally successful Scotland. His wife, Jenny Carter, joined him on the platform stage for the first time during a standing ovation following his speech.
Robin Harper MSP said:
“Greens have never been complacent, but always consistent; never been apologetic, always grounded in the concerns of communities up and down the country. The challenge has never been greater, and the stakes have never been higher. In recent years, Greens across the globe have been growing in influence from Australia to Germany and even in Westminster – and the Scottish Greens are ready to make a serious bid for influence next year.
“In 2007, our breakthrough at council level in Glasgow and Edinburgh gave us the chance to deliver at the local level. Greens in both cities have made a real difference, introducing policies like the reform of parking charges so the most climate-change-causing vehicles pay more to park or enabling derelict sites to be transformed into green spaces for public use and community benefit.
“This session Robin and Patrick have held the balance of power, ensuring an end to tuition fees in Scotland, support for marine renewables and community environmental projects, and tackling hate crimes. We have proved ourselves as a party. In the face of the irresponsible cuts being driven from Westminster, Scotland needs a strong and clear Green voice at Holyrood. It will take an extraordinary effort on the doorstep and across the country, but we must do it, we must make it happen.”