31 July 2012
Scottish Greens are urging SNP ministers to do much more to tackle supermarkets’ stranglehold of Scotland’s dairy farmers.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, has met with a local independent dairy farmer and milk supplier to hear first-hand the issues the sector is facing.
A number of processors and supermarkets have caved in to recent pressure and postponed this week’s planned cuts to the price they pay suppliers but the Greens believe only fundamental reform will end the crisis.
Alison Johnstone said:
“It’s encouraging to see the planned cuts shelved but I’m afraid these ruthless retail giants will continue to flog staple items such as milk for pennies to lure customers in. While I welcome the efforts being made by the Scottish Government they need to face some home truths about their love of supermarkets.
“By contrast, Bonaly-Fairfield Farm Dairy, which I visited the other day, is a great example of how the price the customer pays can be kept low without penalising the farmer. Owner Donald Laird is producing 40,000 litres of milk a day, selling direct to local shops, hotels and restaurants with no big processors or supermarkets creaming off profits.
“I hope more of us buy local where we can and I will continue to press SNP ministers to properly challenge the dominance of the big retailers and processors. They must be prepared to use legislation if the proposed voluntary code of practice fails; this is about the livelihoods of families whose farming is crucial to our economy and our food chain.”
25 July 2012
Scottish Greens today welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that it will introduce a bill in the Scottish Parliament enabling same-sex couples to get married.
However the Greens also urged the Government not to allow further delay while it lobbies for changes to UK equality law.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“This decision sends the right message about Scotland as a society. Marriage has huge symbolic significance to many people, and should be available to all couples who want to celebrate their love regardless of sexual orientation.
“It is also right that we protect religious freedom by allowing same-sex marriage in religious settings for the first time, something that the UK Government doesn’t seem ready to do. The writing is on the wall for those backward individuals who argue that same-sex relationships should be treated as second class.
“It’s clear that religious freedom can be protected and extended within existing equality law, and I would urge the Scottish Government not to delay progress until the changes they want are made by the UK Government. This issue has been on hold for too long already.”
25 July 2012
Scottish Greens will tonight give their backing to the proposed No To NATO Coalition and are calling on anti-war activists and supporters of nuclear disarmament in all parties and none to reject the Cold War nuclear weapons alliance.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, will attend the first meeting of the coalition, and will discuss how to promote the case against NATO.
Tonight’s No To NATO meeting has been organised by campaign group Trident Ploughshares in light of SNP plans to discuss adopting a pro-Nato policy.
Patrick Harvie said:
“The need to rid Scotland of weapons of mass destruction and participation in NATO’s nuclear alliance are core policies of Scottish Greens, values that many others share.
“By being part of NATO we perpetuate military oppression backed by nuclear missiles when we should be promoting conflict resolution, cracking down on arms sales and improving our ability to help with disaster relief.”
25 July 2012
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament urging the Scottish Government to make the most of “the Wiggins effect” and support efforts to bring the Tour de France to Edinburgh.
Bradley Wiggins is the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and his success, along with the sight of Edinburgh’s Sir Chris Hoy leading the British Olympic team, is expected to inspire more people to get on their bikes.
Alison’s motion, which other MSPs are invited to support, highlights the prospect of the Tour coming to Scotland, the benefits cycling brings to health and the economy and urges ministers to commit serious funding to cycle infrastructure.
“We are witnessing the dawn of a golden age for cycling and we must do all we can to sustain it. Edinburgh’s champion cyclist is leading out Team GB, a Brit has won the Tour de France for the first time, and usage of Scotland’s network of cycle routes is booming.
“No longer can cycling be viewed as a midly-eccentric hobby; it is mainstream and growing. Government should be doing everything it can to make it easy for us to nip to the shops, commute to work and get some exercise.”
As an Edinburgh city councillor Alison backed the idea of bringing the opening stage of the Tour de France to Edinburgh.
Since becoming an MSP last year Alison has set up a Cross Party Group on cycling in the Scottish Parliament, and led a Scottish Green Party debate on the issue at Holyrood, which resulted in all parties backing the Green position.
17 July 2012
Responding to today’s emissions figures, Greens have condemned the Scottish Government for missing the first carbon target under the Scottish Climate Change Act, and pointed to Scottish Ministers’ inaction on homes and a failure of leadership on reducing transport emissions.
The Greens laid out serious plans to insulate every home during budget negotiations in 2008, and yet the Scottish Government only agreed last month to finally launch a National Retrofit Programme for homes.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“The Government can’t get away with expressing shock that Scotland has cold winters some years; this failure of Government policy can’t be pinned on bad weather when they have delayed year after year the national, street-by-street effort we need to insulate Scotland’s leaky homes. Cutting energy bills and carbon emissions at the same time should be a no-brainer.
“Today’s figures highlight our damaging reliance on coal and the need for a plan to phase out fossil fuel use alongside the growth in renewables. We need a clear timetable set for taking fossil fuels out of the system, but the SNP are still intent on extracting every last bit they can find.
“Scotland’s transport emissions remain higher now than before climate change was even accepted by most political parties, and the SNP’s failure to show the slightest interest in making sustainable transport work for people is the biggest single threat to future progress toward the climate targets. It’s clear that a transformation of our transport system is needed but there is a serious lack of leadership at cabinet level. Far too often, the junior minister is dispatched to fend off frustrated bus users and cyclists while the cabinet secretary takes the stage to announce new road spending or support for aviation. The next climate change plan must mark a bold shift in transport thinking or there is little hope of meeting the targets and Scotland’s self-promoted status as a climate leader will unravel within a few years.”
10 July 2012
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, is condemning the slow coach attitude of the authorities responsible for the city’s planned Fastlink transport system.
It has been revealed by The Evening Times the promised completion date of 2014 won’t be met.
The SNP Government has pledged £40m to the scheme, which is being delivered by SPT and Glasgow City Council. Fastlink aims to make buses quicker and more attractive by giving them priority routes between the city centre and the new Southern General Hospital.
Mr Harvie said:
“It’s a dismal reflection of the low priority given to public transport in a city with a substandard bus service where hundreds of millions of pounds has been pumped into improvements for motorists. Half of Glasgow doesn’t have access to a car so schemes like Fastlink should be in the fast lane, not stuck on the hard shoulder.
“Visitors from other European cities will be shocked at the backward and ramshackle public transport Glaswegians have to put up with every day of the week. I recently visited the Southern General to discuss transport issues and it’s abundantly clear decent bus links can’t come soon enough for patients, visitors and staff.”
More on Patrick’s visit to the Southern General.