Lothian Green MSPs’ report – April 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.


 

  • Alison and Andy welcomed thousands of protestors taking action at the Scottish Parliament as part of the global wave of youth strikes for the climate. Information and photos here and here (facebook), and Andy’s motion congratulating those who took part is here.
  • Andy wrote about the protest in the Evening News, suggesting that the Greens are the only political party to have grasped the urgency and extent of the challenge we face in addressing this global crisis.
  • The Green MSPs led debates on Revoking Article 50 – which secured Holyrood’s support for cancelling Brexit if it is not possible to hold a People’s Vote to determine the way forward (read report here), and Declaring a Climate Emergency – in which every MSP other than the Greens voted against our motion calling for ambitious action to cut emissions (read the report here).
  • The Green MSPs also led debates – and won the Parliament’s support – calling for a Green New Deal for Scotland (Andy’s speech reported here), and for improved resources to tackle the GP retention and recruitment crisis (Alison’s speeches here and here).
  • Alison spoke in a debate on Healthcare in Scotland, highlighting the workforce pressures that are severely impacting on the wellbeing of health and social care staff. Watch the video here.
  • Andy wrote for The National about progress made so far on land reform, and how we must go further than tinkering at the edges. See also a short video from Andy on the topic here.
  • Alison was the first Green to appear on the BBC Debate Night panel, discussing a range of topics that included the campaign for people to have autonomy over their end of life choices (video clip here), as well as the question of who would make the best Prime Minister, the ongoing Brexit chaos, and the need for a Peoples Vote (video clip here).
  • In First Minister’s Questions, Alison asked about support for low income families, highlighting that the number of children living in relative poverty in Scotland is steadily rising. Video clips here and here.
  • Andy spoke in the debate on creating a fairer Scotland for disabled people – the report here.
  • Alison asked what input disabled people, disabled persons’ organisations and other stakeholders will have into the design of the assessment descriptors for disability assistance for working-age people – watch the video here.
  • Alison asked for information about how the Scottish Government will ensure engagement with those most directly affected by any changes during the review of mental health and incapacity legislation watch the video here.
  • The Guardian featured Andy’s reaction to the Scottish Land Commission’s report calling for reform of unhealthy land ownership in Scotland, to resolve “the central problem of Scottish land ownership, namely the centuries-long persistence of hegemonic landed power.”
  • Alison’s questions to the Scottish Government revealed that in 2018, nearly 3,000 licenses were issued for killing protected wildlife by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), at a cost of £450,000 to the taxpayer. This was covered in many outlets, including The Times and The Ferret.
  • Andy was quoted in The Ferret’s article about heather-burning by landowners and gamekeepers for grouse moor management, calling it “an outdated and environmentally destructive activity that has little justification”. Read the Ferret’s article here.
  • The Herald published a blog by Alison, originally written for Women 50:50, about the Scottish Parliament’s training for MSPs and staff, aimed at tackling sexual harassment and changing the political culture.
  • Andy commented on the case of an Old Town tenement landlord being ordered to remove short-term let key boxes – read it here.
  • Alison wrote for the National on why the EU elections are a chance to reject the hateful ideology of the far right, and why it is vital that Scotland continues to be a welcoming country.
  • European Green MEP, Terry Reintke, joined Alison and Ross Greer at West Lothian College, discussing the many benefits to young people across Europe of the Erasmus+ programme, and how it could be under threat if freedom of movement is not protected. Watch the video here.
  • Common Space have previewed the upcoming Social Justice, Community Land, Forestry and Energyseminar, that will see Andy and other Scottish advocates of land reform discuss options to reform what is one of the most unequal distributions of land ownership in Western Europe.
  • Alison spoke in a debate on the women against state pension inequality (WASPI) campaign, discussing the injustices that women born in the 1950s face from pension reforms. Watch here.
  • Alison was interviewed by the Scotland on Sunday, discussing how some parties are undermining the maturity of the Scottish Parliament, and how the Greens are now in a position of unprecedented influence.
  • Andy joined Scottish Youth Parliament reps for a workshop on greenspace as part of the Local Government Committee’s consideration of the topic. See on Twitter here.
  • Alison spoke in the debate on the Prevalence of Crohn’s and Colitis in Scotland. Watch here.
  • Andy spoke in the debate to mark the centenary of the death of Sir Hugh Munro, founder member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, and the first person to publish a list of all of the mountains in Scotland with a height exceeding 3,000 feet in the club’s journal in 1891, which are now known as Munros. Read here.
  • Alison visited Oxgangs Broadway Convenience Store, where she had a look at their deposit return machine – one of three pilot schemes in Scotland. Read more on facebook.
  • Andy hosted students from the School of Geosciences at Edinburgh University and Scotland’s Rural College, for a discussion on the future of low carbon heat.
  • Alison showed her support for the campaign by trade association SELECT, for “Protection of Title” for the profession of electrician, to ensure that anyone calling themselves an electrician must hold appropriate qualifications. Read more here.