Campaigns: May 2009 Archives

martinford.jpgFour months after he resigned from the Liberal Democrats, and a bit more than eighteen months after his casting vote saw Donald Trump's daft golf scheme temporarily hit the rough, Martin Ford has joined the Greens.

Here's his statement in full, released today:

"I believe we need a more liberal and democratic society, one where power and wealth are more equally shared.

"Fairer distribution implies a reduction in the use of natural resources and waste generation to sustainable levels, so future generations are not unfairly penalised. We have to recognise that there are absolute limits to the planet's capacity to cope with human activity. Creating a society that respects planetary limits - for example, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions - is the biggest challenge we face.

"I have been involved in politics for most of my adult life. I got involved in order to further the liberal, democratic and environmental ideals I believe in. I have stood for election and been elected to Aberdeenshire Council three times on a commitment to support those ideals on the Council.

"After a period in which I have not been a member of any political party, I am joining the Scottish Green Party to further those same liberal, democratic and environmental principles.

"In decisions ranging from road building to airport expansion, all of the four main parties are still pursuing policies that will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions while promising to reduce them. No wonder there is a serious problem of public trust in politicians.

"I have concluded that only the Green Party can be relied upon to consistently support policies that will prevent climate change emissions reaching dangerous levels. That alone is more than enough reason to join."

A lot of people in Scotland think protecting our natural assets is more important than sucking up to Donald Trump. Plenty of people think gouging the Aberdeen Western Peripheral through rural Aberdeenshire is a crazy idea. 

Even more want real action on climate change, constructive policies to make a real difference, not more hot air. It's more clear than ever that the Tories, Labour, the Nats and the Liberal Demcrats cannot be trusted on these issues. 

I'm personally delighted that Martin's joined us. He's both calm and passionate on the issues that matter. He's an outstanding campaigner, someone who put his clear principles ahead of personal advantage. In short, he's a Green.

The plastic bag queen.

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turtleplasticbag.jpgToday's relatively consensual debate on the Climate Change Bill (Robin's fierce speech will hopefully appear here soon) included the odd sour note. The oddest came from Angela Constance, normally part of the ultra-loyal SNP aspirational backbench group. 

She spoke up against the section of her government's Bill which would (or would not, it's that kind of legislation) reduce plastic bag usage. And she's got form, too. I refer you to a curious exchange from November last year.

If you're too busy to click that last link, here's the summary. AC claims a 90% reduction in plastic bags would lead to a 13,700 tonne increase in our waste levels. The Minister vaguely humours her. AC then claims that a 50% reduction in plastic bags would lead to a mere 4,000 reduction in our waste levels. The Minister makes some sensible comments about towns going plastic bag free.

Can anyone explain the bizarre and contradictory maths in that last question, or give me any idea why she's taken up a crusade Don Quixote would have blanched at? After all, we regularly find out that the consequences of our plastic bag habits are even worse than we thought.
greykennymacaskill.jpgThe Justice Minister used to be a firebrand, a free speaker and a free thinker, intense and unafraid. That was a long time ago, obviously, and even in 2004 he entered the leadership race as "former nationalist firebrand Kenny MacAskill".

You can still see the odd hint of his past passion, like the ruins of a formerly impressive castle. A dull speech written by civil servants occasionally has a bit in the middle where his finger suddenly jabs at the Tory benches, the volume rises, and those civil servants watch between their fingers from the back of the chamber.

When it comes to Strathclyde Police's attempts to infiltrate Plane Stupid, though, the fire is well and truly out. The week before last, one of his minions told the Sunday Herald

"The justice secretary has discussed the matter with Strathclyde Police's assistant chief constable and is satisfied the force has acted proportionately and legitimately."

Patrick grilled him today in the Chamber on this issue. Does the Minister really believe that attempting to bribe and intimidate activists is an appropriate response? Are there not some tactics which are appropriate for attempting to detect serious crimes but which aren't suitable for peaceful protests?

Apparently not. The answer was protracted, circular, vague and bureaucratic. The police, in short, are doing just what they should be doing. They get scrutinised and reviewed. There's a balance. Blah blah blah.

It was all so different when the SNP themselves were being infiltrated by the secret service. According to fellow former firebrand Alex Neil, speaking less than two years ago, these tactics were "dirty tricks", being used "to undermine the democratic wishes of the Scottish people".

Listening to the Minister's answer today, I can hear the ghost of Kenny MacAskill (original edition) raging at the telly, bemoaning the response of a Minister so clearly gone native. Can anyone tell me the precise date when the Pod People arrived and took the original away?

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Campaigns category from May 2009.

Campaigns: April 2009 is the previous archive.

Campaigns: June 2009 is the next archive.