Think global act local

Monday April 18th 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.

In the Green movement we have a well-used phrase, think global act local. That is what I am asking the people of Midlothian to do on May 5th.

Local council elections do not get the same attention as elections to the Scottish Parliament or Westminster, but they are no less important. Especially now, when we are facing a cost-of-living crisis and a climate emergency, local government will play a vital role in shaping the direction of our recovery.

This week I was proud to join my co-leader colleague Patrick Harvie, and activists from across the country, to launch the Scottish Greens manifesto. It presents a positive and ambitious vision for local government, one that would prioritise local solutions to the global challenges we face and put climate and social justice at the heart of planning decisions and local services.

We are standing a record 238 candidates across the country, including six in Midlothian. Every one of them is committed to building a fairer, greener and more sustainable future for their communities.

The candidates we are standing in Midlothian were recently profiled on this website, and I’m sure you’ll agree that they would bring a wealth of commitment and experience to the Council.

Even a small number of Green councillors can start to change the conversation and make a big difference. They will advocate for local people and community groups and will push for bold and creative solutions to the problems we face.

That has been the case in Orkney, where Steve Sankey, our only Green councillor on the island, managed to secure £5.5 million worth of funding for local ferries, while protecting recycling services and ensuring more ethical investment policies with public money.

Likewise, in the Highland region, the sole Green councillor, Pippa Hadley, was instrumental in the Council declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency and the aim to be carbon neutral by 2025. Since then, the Council has really ramped up its carbon reduction and cut its emissions by 42%.

In 2012 we secured a Green councillor in Bonnyrigg, Ian Baxter, who was unlucky to lose his seat while the Tories gained in 2017. This time we are hoping to win in Bonnyrigg and across the region.

With Greens in government in Holyrood we have shown the difference we can make. We have introduced policies that work for people and the planet: with free bus travel for everyone under 22, record investment in wildlife and nature and the biggest increase in teacher recruitment funding for a generation.

All these vital improvements may have been brought by Green MSPs, but they will be delivered by Greens in councils. We are changing Scotland for the better. Let us do the same in your community. That means better recycling services, rights for tenants and action on local transport.

The election uses a preferential voting system, so you can rank candidates from your favourite to your least favourite. It is first preference votes that are most crucial. The only way to get Green policies and green solutions is to give your first preference vote to the Scottish Greens.

So, if you are 16 or above, think global, act local and vote for the Scottish Greens on May 5th.

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