MSPs John Finnie, Alison Johnstone and Patrick Harvie with party Co-Convenor Maggie Chapman at the 2014 SGP conference.

MSPs John Finnie, Alison Johnstone and Patrick Harvie with party Co-Convenor Maggie Chapman at the 2014 SGP conference. Image: Scottish Green Party/Callum MacLellan

Scottish Greens have been doing pretty well in the Holyrood polls of late. So when nominations closed yesterday for the Holyrood lists, there was some interest in who is standing to be the Green candidate where.

For the uninitiated, the system goes like this: there are eight regions, each of which elects, as well as constituency MSPs, a list of regional MSPs through the proportional system. At the moment, Greens have two MSPs – one in the Lothians (which includes Edinburgh) and one in Glasgow.

Greens also have a system of gender balance, which means that half of the candidates in winnable seats have to be women*. The party hasn’t officially announced who’s standing yet, but some of the candidates have declared themselves on Facebook. Here are some of the runners and riders:

*note – see additions to this list at the bottom of the page*

Lothians

Historically the best seat for the Greens, there’s a genuine chance of winning two seats. One of those would have to be a woman – most likely the top one (assuming Patrick Harvie’s selected in Glasgow – see below). The contest seems to be as follows:

Women:

  • Maggie Chapman, Party co-convener, a prominent local councillor since 2007 and Green candidate in the European elections.
  • Alison Johnstone, the incumbent MSP.

Of course, both women ran for the nomination back in 2011, so in a sense, this is a re-run of that.

Non-women:

  • Peter McColl, rector of Edinburgh University & target Green candidate for Westminster.
  • Andy Wightman, land reform campaigner.

Glasgow

This will almost certainly be Patrick Harvie again. He’s co-convener of the party, has been an MSP for Glasgow since 2003 and no one seems to be seriously challenging him. So the real question is who will be second on the list, which would have to be a woman, as Pats isn’t. The most prominent name so far is Zara Kitson. Zara’s well kent face on the National Collective and Young Greens circuits, and it seems like she’s got a good chance.

The political weather in Scotland at the moment is very much like the real weather – changeable. So it’s not implausible that a second person could be elected, not that I’d predict it.

Central

Women:

  • Kirsten Robb has been the candidate twice before here. She’s not yet announced if she’s standing this time. If not, it may well be that there’s space for one of the party’s many new members to get a prominent slot here.

Non-women:

  • John Wilson?: Late last year, this formerly SNP MSP for Central Scotland joined the Green Party. It’s not clear yet whether he’s re-standing, but it seems likely.
  • Gary Dunion: Gary is head of comms for the party, and works for Jean Urquhart and John Finney, the other two former SNP, now independent MSPs who left over NATO. He was a Green candidate in Central Scotland in 2007, and has thrown his hat in the ring again.

Highlands

John Finney: one of the original “Highland Two”, who left the SNP when they switched to being pro-NATO, John still sits as an independent MSP but joined the Greens after the referendum. I believe he’s standing to be the official Green candidate this time, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get it (though that, of course, is up to the membership).

North East

  • Maggie Chapman: The party co-convener is also Rector of Aberdeen University and has thrown her hat into this ring too.
  • Debra Storr: Debra was once upon a time a Lib Dem councillor in Aberdeenshire, and is running perhaps the most visible selection campaign so far.
  • Pauline Hincheon: Pauline’s convener of the Dundee branch.

Mid-Scotland and Fife

The only candidate I know of here is the former MSP and current Stirling councillor Mark Ruskell, so I’d be surprised if he isn’t selected – though, of course, let’s wait and see…

South

Women:

  • Sarah Beattie Smith: a regular fixture on evening telly’s before and after the referendum as a co-editor of this blog, Sarah grew up in the Scottish borders and is hoping to represent it in Parliament.

Non-women:

  • Jason Rose. Jason is head of media for the Green MSPs.

West

The only candidate I know of in West is Ross Greer. Ross worked for Yes Scotland and is now a staffer for the Scottish Greens and is famous for being much younger than his experience would let on.

I haven’t included on this list people who have announced they are running, but aren’t aiming for positions from which they have a descent chance of being elected – and I have only included those I know about, so I’m sure to have missed some people. If so, get in touch and we’ll happily add you.

All in all, I think this shows that there is at least one strong candidate for pretty much every position which might be seen as winnable, and in many cases, more than one. For those candidates, this competition may be worrying. But for the party as a whole, it’s healthy and positive. So long as the debates are sensible and mature, they will be an excellent chance to discuss the future direction of the party as it rolls about on the stormy seas of Scottish politics.

*I think that’s the rule, rather than ‘50% not men’. FWIW, I think ‘not men’ would make more sense.

**Update**

OK, I’ve now been told about a bunch more candidates:

Glasgow:

  • Anni Pues is standing; Anni is an academic at the University of Glasgow and campaigner on a whole number of things.

Lothians:

  • Alys Mumford, until recently the Director of debt justice organisation Jubilee Scotland.
  • Phyl Meyer, disability rights activist and longterm Green member.

Highlands and Islands:

  • Elaine Morrison is a well kent face in Scotland’s fuel poverty world. She was lead candidate in the Euro election campaign in 2009, has stood for Holyrood a couple of times before, and was founder of the Argyll Greens.

Central:

  • Laura Eaton-Lewis is standing in Central Scotland with the strapline “Making politics work for people like us. Social justice, not unconventional gas.”

South:

  • Janet Moxley
  • Steve Dickson
  • Jody Jamieson
  • Francis Scott

North East:

  • David Officer
  • Martin Ford

West:

  • YV McLellan
  • Elaine Morrison

Note: Previously this article stated that the SNP “switched to being pro-trident”, this has been corrected to “pro-NATO”.

Adam Ramsay

About Adam Ramsay

Adam is Co-Editor of Open Democracy UK and a green activist based in Edinburgh. He co-founded Bright Green in 2010.