The European elections offer voters a unique opportunity to signal the kind of Scotland they want.
That’s the message from the Scottish Greens today, launching their manifesto for the 22 May poll, with the party giving top billing to protecting public services and investment; welcoming newcomers to the country; and promoting Scotland’s role in ending conflict through peace-keeping.
The Greens, who secured over 7 per cent of the vote in 2009, are seeking backing for one of Scotland’s six MEP seats, with the Lib Dems widely predicted to lose out. The Green campaign themes also highlight the starkest possible contrast with UKIP in the race for that sixth and final Scottish seat.
Councillor Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ lead MEP candidate, said:
“I passionately believe that the movement of people between countries is good for our society and economy. As Scotland’s Green MEP I would stand up for a Scotland which welcomes people, and challenge those who peddle damaging anti-immigrant rhetoric.
“Scotland also needs a voice in Europe to say no to the Cold War relic that is NATO, and no to illegal wars and military aggression. And a campaigner who comes with a track record of fighting to keep public services in public hands.”
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, added:
“People in Scotland already know who they can trust on climate change, on facing down the fracking industry and in making sure local people get a say over local decisions.
“But it has always been fundamental to the green message that the challenges facing Scotland come from a broken economic system.
“We are one of the richest countries on earth, yet so many people feel discarded. As a new Scottish Green MEP, Maggie would challenge deeply-damaging public budget cuts and put economic justice at the heart of policy.
“It’s pretty certain that there’s a Scottish MEP seat up for grabs. With a proportional system in play, around one in ten votes will see a Green MEP elected. So we’re confident of building on our 2009 result. Our hard work in the Scottish Parliament since 1999, the work of 45 Green MEP colleagues elsewhere in Europe, and our positive contributions to the independence debate show we have big ideas and a forward-looking vision for Scotland.”
Patrick also argued that voting Green is the best way to signal Scotland’s rejection of UKIP, saying:
“UKIP is well off the radar in Scotland. But there’s a real risk that blanket coverage of Farage and co. in England will give it a boost here that it does not merit. While I’m confident that people in Scotland will continue to reject UKIP at the polls, the most potent way to do that is to back the Scottish Greens as the party which stands in greatest contrast to UKIP.”
1. More about Maggie Chapman:
Maggie is the Scottish Green Party co-convener and the party’s lead candidate for the 2014 European Elections. She is a Councillor for Leith Walk ward in Edinburgh, having been elected in May 2007. Maggie is passionate about democracy and believes that Scotland needs to reinvigorate its politics by opening up to communities. She spear-headed the community participatory democracy project, Leith Decides, and wants to see local people given more power over the decisions that affect their lives.
Maggie is also an active anti-cuts campaigner and peace activist, and was the first politician in Scotland to support the living wage. She teaches geography and environmental ethics at Edinburgh Napier University, where she is a member of the EIS Union Executive. She comes from southern Africa, and has lived in Scotland for 16 years.