We are building a fairer, greener, better country - Lorna Slater

It has been two years since my fellow Scottish Green co-leader, Patrick Harvie, and I joined Nicola Sturgeon to publish the cooperation agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government.
Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater after the SNP and the Scottish Greens agreed a new power sharing partnership at the Scottish ParliamentScottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater after the SNP and the Scottish Greens agreed a new power sharing partnership at the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater after the SNP and the Scottish Greens agreed a new power sharing partnership at the Scottish Parliament

It followed months of negotiations, and offered a bold vision that would see our parties working together to take Greens into government for the first time anywhere in the UK.

It was a turning point for our party and our movement, but also for Scotland. It was a recognition of the urgent need to focus on the climate crisis and an acknowledgment of how much more we can achieve through collaboration.

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It was, and remains, a positive vision based on a constructive and grown up approach and a sharp contrast from the childish and broken Westminster system and the dog-eat-dog politics it represents.

There were a sea of cameras at Bute House that day. And, over the days ahead, I received so many emails, Tweets and messages from people who were inspired by what they had heard. It wasn’t just news here in Scotland, it was being reported all over the world.

A lot has happened since then, with lots of proud moments and milestones.

Announcing a ban on permission for new incinerators, banning single use plastics, the publication of the Circular Economy Bill that will transform our relationship with waste, investing tens of millions into vital nature restoration projects and improving recycling services across the country and launching the new process to decide Scotland’s next national park. These are just some of the big changes I’m delighted to have led on.

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In many ways the whole experience has made me more hopeful and optimistic about our politics and what we can achieve.

I have the privilege of working with dedicated Ministers and civil servants who are genuinely motivated by a desire to make Scotland a fairer, greener and better country. I also work directly with people and businesses all over our country who are doing great things while investing in their communities and cutting their climate emissions.

But I’ve also come up against the worst of Westminster, and vested interests who can see the change we are delivering and will do anything to stop it.

They don’t want to see rent controls and support for tenants or a just transition from oil and gas to renewables. They would much rather stick to a broken and unsustainable status quo that has served them well.

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With a new parliamentary year ahead, I am proud to be working with the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to prioritise our environment and to build a recovery that works for our planet and for the millions of people that have been left behind by an uncaring Tory government.

Climate justice, social justice and cooperation are the tenets that brought us together two years ago, and they are the values that will continue to underpin everything we do as we enter our third year in Government.

Lorna Slater is Co-leader of the Scottish Greens