27 August 2012
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, is praising the fledging charity organisation Musselburgh Transition Toun for its efforts to help the community become more sustainable.
Alison has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament that other MSPs are invited to support, highlighting the benefits of local trade, local food production, and sustainable transport such as cycling.
Musselburgh Transition Toun recently gave the Green MSP a tour of a community vegetable garden it has created using a spare corner of council-owned land by the Rennie Bridge which carries the main road across the River Esk.
“The Transition movement is proving successful in other parts of Britain where communities are taking control of their future, reducing their dependency on dwindling and expensive fossil fuels and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The vegetable garden is a little haven right next to a busy road and could easily be the start of bigger things.
“This is a great example of a project that helps people stay fit and gets conversations going. I was delighted to hear the group is looking at ways to improve cycling in Musselburgh as there is so much potential to capitalise on passing trade on two wheels as well as making streets safer for locals.”
14 August 2012
Picture credit: Climate Rush
Responding to the announcement of above-inflation price hikes for train users, a Glasgow MSP has called for the creation of off-peak season tickets to cut costs and reduce overcrowding on Scotland’s trains.
Research by the Scottish Greens has found that the current cost of a 12-month season ticket between Edinburgh and Glasgow (£3380) is more than the cost of a 12-month ticket that gives you unlimited travel across the whole of Germany’s 21,000 mile network (£3252/€3990). (1) After today’s announcement, the cost of this season ticket is expected to rise by £142 in January.
The Greens want the season ticket system to be made more flexible for part-time and flexible workers, cutting costs for those who don’t need to travel at peak times and providing an incentive to reduce overcrowding. The current season ticket structure does not differentiate between peak and off-peak travel and yet UK figures show that 43% of journeys (600m a year) are made using season tickets. (2)
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“You can hop on any train in the whole of Germany for a year for less than a season ticket between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Train fares in the UK seem designed to enrage rather than encourage passengers on public transport, and every year passengers get another kick in the teeth with unfair above-inflation price rises.
“I’m calling for an off-peak season ticket to be made available for those workers who don’t need to travel at peak times but who currently pay just as much. If we can make the ticket system far clearer for passengers then we can reduce costs and overcrowding on Scotland’s trains.”
9 August 2012
Scottish Greens are praising the “No To Nato” campaigners who peacefully demonstrated outside the SNP’s HQ this morning.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“As the Nationalists wrestle with this issue, Greens remain committed to ending Scotland’s participation in an outdated nuclear alliance. Remaining part of NATO would perpetuate military oppression when instead Scotland could be a world leader in humanitarian work.”
5 August 2012
Scottish Greens are urging ministers to extend the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act so that it applies to private firms and arms-length bodies delivering public contracts.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, is backing FoI campaigners who are calling on the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee’s inquiry to investigate the issue.
To highlight the issue Alison has lodged an amendment in parliament to a motion by SNP MSP Bill Kidd about the privatisation of MoD contracts on the Clyde. Her amendment points out freedom of information rules will not apply to the private contractors, removing an important public accountability safeguard.
Alison Johnstone said:
“The SNP’s proposed changes to the FoI Act fail to include private firms and arms-length bodies receiving serious amounts of public cash in return for delivering public contracts and services, suggesting the Scottish Government is too close to big business. During a previous consultation private companies who would have been subject to scrutiny unsurprisingly said they’d rather not be covered by FoI and SNP ministers kowtowed.
“I’d like to see MSPs from all parties properly tackle this issue, as our constituents’ ability to know what is done in their name is slowly being eroded. I’m hopeful that when the Finance Committee looks into the proposed bill it will realise extending FoI is a positive step and a perfectly reasonable one.”
3 August 2012
Alison has lodged a motion in parliament on the desperate situation in Syria. MSPs from all parties are invited to support the motion, which you can read in full here.
The Green MSPs also recommend this report by Amnesty International which documents the extreme brutality by the Syrian state against dissidents and peaceful demonstrators.
The motion in Alison’s name calls for the UK Government to support international efforts to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court and urges the Scottish Government to pledge its support for organisations and individuals from Scotland that are carrying out humanitarian work in Syria.