#SGPconf: Alison Johnstone opens Scottish Greens Conference, Dundee
— Darren Jalland ن (@larbertred) March 7, 2015
— Rhys (@rhysfalkirk) March 7, 2015
The Scottish Green Party conference meets today with around 250 party members descending on sunny (ish) Dundee for our second conference ‘post surge’. A room filled by veteran greens and many of our new members, inspired by the positive messages of the Green Yes campaign during the referendum.
The Spring Conference has traditionally been time for party members to meet, learn, and discuss policy and campaigning. We are here looking forward to a day of workshops on issues and organising, and to gear up for the Westminster elections on May 7th, Holyrood in 2016 and local elections the year after that.
We were welcomed by Pauline Hinchion, Westminster candidate for Dundee West, who talked through her own motivations for joining the party shortly after the financial crash of 2008 and the immoral choice to bail out the few at the expense of the many. There is huge applause from the crowd for her condemnation of Trident. We were reminded that the more people hear Green policies, the more they turn to us and reject the cynicism of other parties who fail to recognise the need to protect people and planet.
We then hear from Alison Johnstone MSP who first off introduces our brilliant slate of Westminster candidates, including Bright Green’s own Peter McColl, lead candidate for Edinburgh East.
Alison talks about the disillusionment people feel with politics, and the huge hunger for change. That’s where the Greens come in. It has been a long journey of honing our messages and polishing our policies, but we will never get so polished that we turn into another sterile Westminster party.
We hear a quote from Brazil’s Bishop Helder Camara: “when I give food to the poor they call me a saint; when I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist.”
We have enough food, we have enough fuel. But food, fuel and other forms of poverty still exist. Inequality has flourished under austerity. People are having to rely on benefits because large companies aren’t offered the living wage and are being subsidised by the state.
We need to tackle this through fighting for a living wage, and its brilliant that this is one of the central planks of our Westminster message (cue more applause).
We have an abundance of renewable energy potential in Scotland. Another huge burst of applause for the moratorium on fracking announced by the Government, pushed by our Green MSPs and campaigned for by local greens across Scotland. We need to keep fighting until there is a ban on fracking.
Finally Alison calls, to a final burst of rapturous applause, for another key call of the Westminster campaign: the renationalisation of the railways.
Greens are the alternative, offering empowerment and hope. We can transform Scotland into a just and sustainable country where everyone has the opportunity to flourish.
Now for the workshops….