26 October 2012
Tomorrow (Saturday 27th) is Make a Difference Day, and to mark this I paid a visit to the Barnardo’s Donation Centre in Knightswood. Few stores have the capacity for all the clothes, books and bric-a-brac they receive, so much of it passes through centres like these. They open until 6pm, offer parking, and have a small store out front, making it easier for people to pop in around their working day.
The scale of the centre is impressive, with van loads of clothes coming into the centre daily. Clearly Glaswegians are still being generous with their un-needed items, despite the temptations of eBay.
The centre relies on volunteers, and that’s what Make a Difference Day is all about. The Con-Dem government’s attempts to claim the work of volunteers as their own under the Big Society label should not distract us from the genuinely fantastic contribution that volunteers make to society.
If you are interested in volunteering with Barnardo’s, enquire through their website.
25 October 2012
As the Scottish Government confirms that the first carbon target has been missed we’re criticising ministers for failing to provide the leadership needed to meet the ambitions of the Scottish Climate Act.
The statement from the Minister for Climate Change came shortly after the Transport Minister answered questions on the Aberdeen bypass, a road that is projected to increase carbon emissions by 8-10,000 tonnes of carbon a year.
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the coalition of organisations that campaigned for the Climate Act, today held a mass lobby of MSPs under the banner ‘Get Your Act Together!’ Alison and Patrick used the opportunity to discuss the issue with constituents from Lothian and Glasgow, and speak to interested parties from across Scotland.
Climate Lobby: Patrick hears from constituents
“It’s ironic to see other MSPs applauding a massive new road project for Aberdeenshire in the same hour as they sit solemnly to hear that a climate target has been missed. Passing the Climate Act didn’t make the problem go away – that requires really bold action on housing and transport that we’re just not seeing from the Scottish Government despite the potential to provide a great deal of employment in construction.
Alison speaks to Richard Dixon of WWF Scotland
“Ministers have missed this crucial first target, which makes it harder to stay on track in future years, but failed to announce a single new policy in response. There is a feeling of complacency on the climate at Holyrood that must be challenged or Scotland’s self-promoted status as a climate leader will unravel within a few years.”
25 October 2012
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, is expressing concern that a “reckless gamble” with taxpayers’ money has been given the go-ahead.
The Scottish Government has given approval to Glasgow council to use the controversial TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) scheme to fund an expansion of luxury shopping in the city centre.
Under the scheme the council will borrow £80million, which it hopes to pay back over the next 25 years from business rates generated by the shops.
Mr Harvie said:
“Using taxpayers’ money to back a profit-driven private development, based on the absurd prediction of everlasting retail growth, is a reckless gamble. It smacks of desperation that the Scottish Government and the city council are putting so much faith in this risky scheme at a time when retailers aren’t investing and consumers aren’t spending.
“There is a serious danger that this scheme falls apart and the council has to bail it out, diverting resources from schools, social work and public transport. The real priorities in Glasgow are being put at risk by the lure of the shiny bauble that is high-end shopping.”
15 October 2012
Following today’s agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments on an independence referendum, Patrick said:
“This deal signals the start of the real debate, and a Yes vote in October 2014 would signal the start of a new Scotland. The public appetite for more powers is plain to see and it is essential that both sides put forward a clear vision for Scotland’s future.
“The Greens will set out a radical agenda for Scotland to take real control of our economy, supporting clean energy and meaningful jobs; to build welfare and taxation systems which address the root causes of poverty and inequality; and to develop a modern constitution reflecting the priorities of the 21st century.
“We’re two years away from a vote and already many people are tired of the claims that independence will be either a utopia or a disaster. This once-in-a-generation choice needs more honesty than that, from both sides.”
3 October 2012
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming the decision by Glasgow City Council to commission a detailed study into the city’s bus services.
Half of Glasgow doesn’t have access to a car yet the city’s bus services are unregulated, with private operators able to increase fares and change or withdraw services without consulting passengers.
In recent months Mr Harvie has been gathering passengers’ opinions through his Better Buses campaign website, with poor reliability and high costs proving to be the main concerns.
“At long last the city council are taking steps to address the shockingly poor quality of Glasgow’s bus services – services that so many people rely on. I sincerely hope the Scottish Government fully co-operates with this effort to examine different franchise arrangements rather than continuing with the current free-market failure.
“To date SNP ministers have fobbed off bus users by rejecting the idea of a passenger survey like they have in England and by claiming that regulation would cost too much. We’re already paying for our buses; it’s time we demanded a basic level of service from the operators who make profits on the back of our money.”
3 October 2012
Scottish Greens are urging the Scottish Government to come to a swift decision on the proposed Aberdeen Bay project, now that objections from a range of organisations have been resolved.
The 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre has the potential to make Scotland a world-leader in new technologies, attracting millions of pounds of investment, new jobs and speeding up the transition to a low carbon economy.
RSPB Scotland, the Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Traffic Services and the Ministry of Defence have lifted their objections following discussions with the developers.
Billionaire US developer Donald Trump remains opposed, claiming the project will spoil the view from the £13m golf course he built on the unique and internationally-important sand dunes of Menie.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“The Aberdeen Bay project is crucial to Scotland’s low carbon future, and the resolution of these organisations’ concerns means the way is now clear for a swift decision by the Scottish Government. The project has the potential to transform our reliance on fossil fuels and generate millions of pounds for our economy.
“Mr Trump is entirely isolated on this development and sounds increasingly eccentric on the whole issue. I urge the Scottish Government to do all it can to prevent such an important project from being delayed by the deep pockets of someone so ill-informed, self-interested and litigious.”