Patrick Harvie: PfG: Nicola Sturgeon once again fails to be bold

Patrick Harvie says Nicola Sturgeon's Programme for Government is 'all very tame' (Picture: Lindsay Addison)
Patrick Harvie says Nicola Sturgeon's Programme for Government is 'all very tame' (Picture: Lindsay Addison)
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The Green group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament has been working hard over recent years to push the Government beyond its comfort zone, leading the change that Scotland needs.

However, it’s clear there remain many parts of the Programme for Government where we’ll need to step up that pressure for change.

While it’s welcome to see action on issues that Greens have been calling for – such as giving people the right to vote based on residence, including refugees and asylum seekers, and on the Young Carers Grant – we urgently need action on a number of areas.

For example, there’s still no acknowledgement that in our education system it is recruitment and resources, not structural reforms, that should be the priority.

Just as in recent years, it’s not what was in the First Minister’s statement that truly concerns me; it’s what was blatantly missing.

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The programme fails to fast-track the public sector bid for ScotRail as Greens have argued for, and it says nothing about reform of local government finance – an issue Greens have warned could prevent discussions about the next budget.

I’ve made it very clear to the First Minster that a strong partnership between central and local government is meaningless if she continues to reject ideas like Cosla’s call for new powers to implement a transient visitor levy.

Meanwhile, the latest Household Survey shows more Scots than ever think climate change is an “immediate and urgent” problem, so the Government must embrace the transition to the post-oil age, and rethink its climate bill that currently represents a slowdown on reducing emissions.

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Once again, this was all very tame from a Government that is failing to be bold in its priorities.

Scots who were anticipating new teachers, local tax reform and improved public transport are unlikely to be inspired.
Patrick Harvie is the co-convener of the Scottish Green Party and an MSP for Glasgow