“Our vision of a fairer, greener and better Scotland”

Monday June 27th 2022


Lorna Slater, Scottish Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lothian MSP and Scottish Greens co-leader writes her monthly column for Midlothian View.

This month saw the launch of the first in a series of papers that will lay out the Scottish Government’s plans for a referendum on Scottish independence, and our vision of a fairer, greener and better Scotland.

This paper looked at how Scotland’s potential has been held back when compared to independent countries of a similar size and with similar resources. It considered factors like average wages, social mobility and wealth equality and found that Scotland is lagging behind many of our neighbours.

The problems have been made far worse by a catalogue of failures and bad decisions made in Westminster. Boris Johnson and his colleagues are delivering a terrible Brexit deal that Scotland voted against while presiding over soaring inflation, a punishing cost of living crisis and cuts that are plunging millions of people further into poverty.

Independence is not just about mitigating the disastrous actions of Boris Johnson and his government. It is about democracy and allowing us to shape our own future.

Independence would allow us to take our own path and make our own choices. It would ensure that all the decisions that impact Scotland are made in Scotland.

With Greens in government, we are showing how those choices could look. The Scottish Parliament may have limited resources and powers, but we are using them to do things differently.

Downing Street has cut Universal Credit by over £1000 a year, hitting many of the most vulnerable. In contrast, we have doubled the Scottish Child Payment for every eligible child and offset the cruel benefit cap. The Tories are giving licences for new oil and gas exploration, but we are investing record amounts in renewable energy, recycling, active travel and wildlife.

Similarly we have delivered free bus travel for everyone under 22. We are hugely expanding free school meal provisions. We are introducing a new deal for tenants, including rent controls. These are vitally important changes that will have important consequences for people who are struggling. They are just some of the areas in which we hugely diverge from the chaos and economic vandalism Boris Johnson or his colleagues.

It is a record that I am very proud of. One of the main reasons why I support independence is because it would allow us to do even more. Scotland has a vast abundance of resources and potential, including 25% of Europe’s total offshore renewable potential. By using that potential we can transform our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.

Independence would not solve all of our problems. But, having seen and worked through the constraints of devolution, I believe that it would give us the best possible platform to build a future that works for people and the planet.

I know that a lot of people reading this will not support independence. I respect that there are many who don’t. You may have voted No in 2014, or you may be undecided. There’s nothing wrong with that. We hope to convince you, but we will also listen to you and will never take your vote for granted.

Over the coming months we will be publishing further papers that will focus on different issues and aspects of independence. They will lay out our vision for how independence could look. I would encourage you to read the papers and engage with the issues. 2014 was a vibrant national conversation, and this must be too. It is a chance for us all to discuss, debate and think about the kind of country we want to be.

Regardless of where you stand on the constitution, my colleagues and I want to hear from you. We want to hear your hopes for Scotland, but we also want to hear about any concerns you may have. Scotland’s future belongs to all of us and it is vital that we all have our say.

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