21 April 2013
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie is welcoming the latest reprimand for controversial property developer Donald Trump.
Mr Harvie was among a number of people who reported the tycoon to the authorities for misleading and offensive full-page adverts that appeared in the Courier and the Press and Journal newspapers in December.
The ads featured a photograph of Alex Salmond and a Californian wind farm, stated “tourism will suffer”, and linked the development of wind farms to the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber.
Mr Trump and anti-wind group CATS had already been reprimanded for misleading adverts last September.
Patrick Harvie said:
“Only a sick mind would link renewables policy with Lockerbie victims and while the ASA says the advert did not breach its code in terms of offence it agrees it was distasteful. It also agrees that both the claim about tourism and the use of an American image were misleading. I believe Mr Trump owes an apology for his crass behaviour.
“He didn’t have a shred of evidence that tourism would suffer when we quizzed him in parliament, and he’d already been censured by the authorities for anti-renewables adverts. The fact he went ahead and placed further adverts demonstrates his ignorance and arrogance yet again. Sadly we’re stuck with this blowhard blot on the landscape thanks to successive governments sucking up to him without considering the consequences.”
18 April 2013
Scottish Greens say today’s Holyrood debate entitled There Is Still Such A Thing As Society demonstrated that the common good remains a core Scottish value.
The Scottish Green-Independent group-led debate was designed to provoke meaningful reflection on Thatcherism.
Patrick Harvie, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:
“The main themes of Thatcherism – selfishness, privatisation of public assets, market fundamentalism – remain a huge influence despite the failure of that economic model. While the Scottish Tories were falling over themselves to put a gloss on Thatcher’s toxic legacy it was reassuring to hear MSPs from other parties agree collective solutions still have their place.”
“Scotland should never again have to suffer the kind of divisive, individualistic politics of the Thatcher governments. Our debate has prompted politicians on both sides of the referendum issue to think carefully about what sort of society Scotland could be.”
18 April 2013
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and Co-convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on cycling, says the best way Scotland can pay tribute to the success of Sir Chris Hoy is by investing in sports facilities such as the threatened Meadowbank Stadium.
Alison has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating Edinburgh’s Olympic champion, who today announced his retirement from competition. The motion highlights Alison’s belief that the east of Scotland has been left behind in the race to create a Commonwealth Games legacy.
“Chris’s outstanding achievements have helped inspire a new generation of sports enthusiasts and have helped renew many people’s love of cycling. It is important we make the most of that enthusiasm by supporting young people in sport and improving our cycling infrastructure.
“As we reflect on an amazing sporting career we must ensure a meaningful legacy from next year’s Commonwealth Games. Ironically it is the east of Scotland that has so far been left behind with the Meadowbank Stadium saga a classic example.
“We must also redouble our efforts to make cycling on our streets the easy option. We might not all dream of being the next Chris Hoy but we should certainly aspire to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation.”
17 April 2013
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and member of Holyrood’s economy committee, today (17 Apr) renewed her call for action on so-called zero-hours contracts.
Today the committee has published the findings of its inquiry into underemployment, with zero-hours contracts a key concern. The issue was raised in committee by Alison Johnstone, who pressed Finance Secretary John Swinney to use the procurement process to prevent firms using such contracts from being awarded public work.
“The rise in zero-hours contracts is a huge worry, as is the fact that they are more likely to be used in the sort of low-pay service sector jobs taken by women. We already know the cuts coming from Westminster are disproportionately hard on women, so it is vital the Scottish Government finds a way to clamp down on inappropriate employment tactics.
“I also remain extremely concerned at the cost of childcare. Parents who want to work should be helped by having access to affordable, flexible childcare, delivered by properly-paid professionals. More research in this area is vital. We need to understand why childcare costs in Scotland are amongst the very highest in Europe, when those working in this field are too often underpaid for the important work they do.”
16 April 2013
The Scottish Green/Independent group at Holyrood is proposing that its debate on society be moved from tomorrow afternoon to Thursday.
It became clear at this morning’s meeting of the parliamentary bureau, attended by business managers from all opposition parties, the government and the presiding officer, that there was widespread support for the move.
Independent MSP John Finnie, the group’s representative on the bureau, said:
“Tomorrow afternoon’s slot had been allocated to us for some time and is a rare opportunity for us to lead a debate. Given the widespread public discussion about the legacy of Thatcherism we felt we couldn’t ignore the need to use our slot to assess the impact on Scottish society and the way forward.
“While we didn’t feel the timing was insensitive it became clear at this morning’s meeting that there was broad support for a swap of business and we were happy to agree to this. By having the debate on Thursday afternoon we can ensure the maximum number of MSPs can take part, and in particular ensure those on the Tory benches answer for the terrible effect on Scotland of thirteen years of policies that promoted selfishness over society.”
Green MSP Patrick Harvie said:
“Wednesday afternoon hours after the funeral takes place would have been a perfectly appropriate time for this debate. However if other MSPs cannot see past the coincidence of timing I wouldn’t want that issue to detract from the debate and undermine this opportunity to challenge the failed consensus of free market ideology which the Thatcher legacy represents.”
14 April 2013
The Scottish Green/Independent group at Holyrood is urging politicians of all viewpoints in parliament to engage in an honest debate on the legacy of Thatcherism.
The group has chosen to make its allocated debate slot this Wednesday – the day of the former prime minister’s funeral – an open debate with no formal motion or voting. The theme of the debate is “There is still such a thing as society”, reflecting Margaret Thatcher’s comments that society is made up of individuals who should look out for themselves first.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“Margaret Thatcher has died, but the tragedy for huge numbers of people is that Thatcherism as an ideology still lives. We aim to encourage honest consideration of the legacy of Thatcherism, the core elements of which – competition and selfishness – continue to affect our society and our economy.
“Despite her efforts to undermine Scotland’s shared values and public services, it is important to assert that our society still exists. Collective solutions to shared problems are all the more important in light of the failure of the Thatcherite economic model.
“By encouraging an open debate I hope we’ll see a bit less of the tribal politics Holyrood has suffered of late and bit more of an effort to acknowledge our shared aspirations for Scottish society. There are those on both sides of the independence divide who oppose the values of Thatcherism; they will need to find ways to work together after the referendum, whatever the result.”