The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:05 am on 29th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green 10:05 am, 29th March 2007

Addressing climate change must be the top priority policy driver for a sustainable Scotland. As the last generation that can act in time to prevent runaway climate change, we have an international obligation to our fellow human beings to play our part. Indeed, as small countries can act faster than large countries, we have an even greater duty in that respect than our larger neighbours.

We look forward to our Scottish Parliament and Scotland's local government assuming increasing relevance to Scotland, and we will work constructively to create a greener, fairer country wherever we are elected, with whatever powers are at our disposal and with whomever we can work. Our challenge to the other parties in the forthcoming election is that they match their green rhetoric with the actions that will be needed on the ground.

A great deal more needs to be done on renewables and energy efficiency. We need to start talking not about a few million pounds here and there but about significant investments of tens and hundreds of millions of pounds to ensure that energy efficiency and commercial-scale developments deliver the green jobs and the fuel security that our country so badly needs.

No matter who is in power, the Greens will seek to give real meaning to the commitments made in "A Curriculum for Excellence" and to give every child in Scotland the opportunity to fulfil all their potential as human beings and creative people.

We will seek to grow a strong economy with a backbone of small and medium-sized enterprises and social enterprises, and will use public procurement to strengthen the kind of green mixed economy that Scotland needs. We will oppose any attempt to privatise public services such as water or the national health service. In our vision for a future Scotland, everyone will enjoy a good quality of life based on their fair share of the world's resources and our society will be committed to the principles of justice, equality and non-violence.

On 3 May, people will be able to share that vision by voting Green first. The case for more powers for the Scottish Parliament or for full independence should be decided in a referendum—of course people should have that choice—but I put it on record that our thinking is not based on narrow nationalism. Indeed, we share our European friends' suspicions of nationalism per se. Instead, we support democracy that is as close as possible to the people, and on that basis and that basis alone, we feel that it is time for the people of Scotland to be given the choice of the status quo, more powers for the Scottish Parliament or independence. That is our democratic right.

Whatever happens on 3 May, we need a Government that is prepared to tackle Scotland's real needs and to do so with a programme that will not only address climate change—which, after all, is the biggest issue that has ever faced the world, let alone Scotland—but give all our people, especially the very young, the very old and the most vulnerable, the best possible future that we can afford.