Scottish election 2021: Scottish Greens have made real progress – Lorna Slater

After the dust settles on a very odd election, things in the Scottish Parliament seem very similar to where they were.

Each party has gone up or down a little in seats, but remain having the same influence that they did before.

That is, apart from the Scottish Greens. By making significant gains in places like Central Scotland and the North East, we have grown our votes and influence in Scotland at this election.

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Eight MSPs is a record result for us, and we were the only opposition party to make gains. And of course, it is an enormous privilege that the people of Lothian elected me to be a part of this group.

The Scottish Greens have not only grown our group, we have introduced fantastic new women to parliament in Ariane Burgess, Maggie Chapman and Gillian Mackay, Central Scotland’s first-ever Green MSP.

That’s because while other parties focused on short-term tactical voting, the Scottish Greens conducted a positive campaign on a green recovery and tackling the climate crisis.

There are, after all, only nine years left before the deadline set by the Paris Agreement to act on the climate crisis. More Green MSPs strengthen our hand in discussions with other parties. There are simply more of us to bring these important stakes to the table. The next five years will be crucial in how we tackle this existential threat to our survival, and voters have placed more Green voices in our parliament.

Scotland’s future is at stake. It is clear that we need to start working on a new greener future for our country, and part of that must be a vote on how Scotland is governed.

Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie shows how to campaign in an environmentally friendly way (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The election result also means the Scottish Greens are a vital part a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament. Now that voters have delivered a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, it is now incumbent on Boris Johnson to recognise that democratic mandate.

It is simply ridiculous to deny Scotland a debate over our future, to deny a democratic mandate to do so, especially from a UK government that has already treated both the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments with contempt, that decides to invest in planet-destroying energy and transport policies and to increase its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

To pursue these priorities before the climate emergency is downright dangerous, and we would rather see Scotland take a different path.

The journey to a different Scotland begins now.

As before, and with a strengthened voice, the Scottish Greens will continue our constructive role in the Scottish Parliament, holding other parties to account. It is a record which has seen us improve lives in Scotland and protect our environment, from fairer taxes, free public transport and protecting Scotland’s nature.

People growing up in Scotland right now will have free bus travel, free school meals in primary school, equal protection from assault, all delivered by the Scottish Greens.

With a bigger group in Holyrood, I can’t wait to get stuck in to work for even more ways to improve their lives and secure a sustainable future for us all. Our future depends on it.

Lorna Slater is co-leader of the Scottish Greens

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