Scottish Greens Manifesto 2016

Greens are first to publish their manifesto for the elections to the Scottish parliament next month.
https://greens.scot/sites/default/files/Scottish%20Greens%20Manifesto_Online.pdf
Seems full of good ideas, here’s some highlights

– “Hold letting agencies to account. We will promote better regulation to tackle poor service and ensure information is available about good letting agencies and landlords.” nice but alas no mention of support for the poor neighbours of useless landlords
– “We will propose a not-for-profit service to manage major repairs including to tenements. This could be done by existing housing associations or a network” sounds interesting given my frustrations at having 10 neighbours taking zero interest in a leaking roof
– “Widen digital rights. To unlock power in Scotland access to technology must be improved
and digital media must not be vulnerable to control by vested corporate interests. We will
advocate for an independent public Technology and Society Forum to protect digital rights
and improve digital access across Scotland. The Forum would engage the public to help in
drawing up recommendations for government and industry. The internet itself offers tools
to make such a forum open, inclusive and participative.” sounds interesting although a bit vauge
– “Who owns Scotland? Green MSPs will campaign to make all landownership fully transparent and to end the ownership of land in offshore tax havens.” something the SNP backed off from for unknown reasons
– “Oppose more testing. Greens will resist plans for a return to standardised national testing
in schools. More testing contradicts the basis of Curriculum for Excellence.” This is one of the more curious policies of the SNP which I’ve never seen a good reason for
– “Opposing Fracking” hardly a surprise from the Greens, this seems necessary to help prevent/slow climate change.  In one of the leaders’ debates Nicola Sturgeon said she’d ban fracking if it was shown to be bad for the environment which seems like silly fence sitting, it releases CO2 and there is known to be bad for the environment.
– tax gets its own manifesto https://greens.scot/sites/default/files/Policy/Fair%20Funding%20For%20Public%20Services%202016.pdf with a sensible proposal to replace council tax with value tax, to tax unbuilt on land and jiggle income tax bands in sensible ways.  I don’t have much of an opinion on 60% rate they propose.
– “Our key policies are: Funding for active travel. We will work to increase the proportion of the transport budget spent on active travel to 10%.” very sensible, although sadly no mention of canoeing in active travel as usual
– Community sport “Green MSPs support the expansion of Scotland’s sports clubs through support for volunteering, accessible facilities and funding to enable more women, LGBTI+ people, minority ethnic communities and disabled people to participate.” well yes but every party says that, they also say they want more funding for “support of high-performance sport” which seems to get plenty funding already to the detrement of community sport.
– “We need to curb the arms industry. Green MSPs would support measures to curtail the global arms trade by cutting Scottish Enterprise or Scottish Development International support to enterprises involved in arms sales to human rights abusers. We would encourage pension funds to divest away from these enterprises and we would push for a Just Transition Fund to help defence sector workers retrain for careers in other areas such as renewables or transportation.” excellent

Lots of good stuff.  Nothing about open source or open digital standards (where the Scottish Government is far behind the UK government), Patrick Harvie has spoken at conferences I’ve run before but alas that interest doesn’t make it into the public conciousness  Nothing about independence interestingly.  A bit light and fluffy in some areas.  They’re not standing in my constituency but I’m very tempted to vote for them in the list vote especially as I’m a fan of local lady Alison Jonston and land reform guru Andy Wightman.

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