Scottish Greens win major budget concessions from SNP

Patrick Harvie
Creative Commons: Ric Lander

After protracted negotiations, the Scottish Government agreed a budget this week with the support of the Greens. The Greens successfully won concessions from the SNP, including radical reform of local taxation:

Speaking on the budget agreement, co-convener of the Scottish Green said:

Scottish Greens will always be firm but constructive in these situations. Scrapping the Tories’ council tax and giving councils more powers is a historic victory. All parties now have an opportunity to help bring about a fairer system of funding essential local services.

On top of recent reforms to income tax, today’s deal shows yet again Scottish Greens are leading the change, making Scotland the fairer country we know we can be.

The latest budget agreement follows the Greens’ previous successful negotiations with the Scottish government – such as in 2017, when they pushed for increased local government funding.

As a minority government, the SNP requires the backing of other parties to pass budgets and legislation through the Scottish Parliament.

Clare Bailey pledges cross-party support for the Northern Ireland backstop

Clare Bailey
YouTube screen grab

The ongoing farce that is Theresa May’s handling of Brexit continued this week. And she has come under pressure from many sides. Hard-right Tory Brexiteers, alongside the DUP have been pushing hard for the scrapping of the Northern Ireland backstop. But a cross-party group of parties in Northern Ireland have come out in support of it.

This included the Green Party in Northern Ireland. Clare Bailey, the party’s leader joined the leaders of the SDLP, the Alliance Party and Sinn Fein in calling for the backstop to be kept within any Brexit agreement. In a statement, they said:

With only eight weeks until the UK exits the EU, the four pro-Remain Assembly parties – Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and Greens – are united in our support for the backstop negotiated by both the European Union and the British Government.

We continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit, and any opportunity to reconsider Brexit should be taken.

We believe that while the Withdrawal Agreement is imperfect, it will mitigate against a bad Brexit which is being imposed against the democratic will of a majority of citizens here who decisively voted to Remain within the European Union.

They continued:

We believe that the ‘backstop’ contained within the Withdrawal Agreement is a vital insurance policy which avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland.

While it may never need to be deployed, the backstop is the guarantee in all circumstances that no hard border will be re-established on this island.

Ross Greer MSP goes head to head with Piers Morgan over Churchill’s legacy

Ross Greer on Good Monday Britain
YouTube Screengrab

One of the six Green Party Members of the Scottish Parliament, Ross Greer courted controversy this week. After a tweet in which Greer described Winston Churchill as “white supremacist mass murder”, he appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss Churchill’s legacy with Piers Morgan.

In the head to head clash, Greer highlighted Churchill’s views on race, actions during the Bengal famine and his support for concentration camps during the Boer war as evidence for his position. The initial tweet has attracted significant debate – with over 9,000 comments at the time of publication. You can watch the full exchange between Greer and Morgan here:

Young Greens of England and Wales launch ambitious plans for 2019 local elections

Young Greens Logo
Young Greens

The Young Greens have launched their plans for the 2019 local elections. According to their facebook event, they are: “the most ambitious local election plan(s) ever”. This will see the Young Greens coordinate 20 action days across England. And it will see them pull activists to Brighton, Norwich, Spalding, Colchester, Reading, Bath among other locations.

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