AN INDEPENDENT MSP representing the Highlands and Islands and Moray will be a leading speaker behind a new political movement in Scotland.
Jean Urquhart will speak at the launch of RISE, a left-wing movement that is hoping to see a wider spectrum of ideas and issues being introduced to Scottish politics.
Ms Urquhart has pointed to the “Rainbow Parliament” of 2003 when Socialists, Greens and Independents were well represented – now she wishes to make the case that a diversity of left and pro-independence representation will mean a more “creative, effective and democratic Scottish Parliament”.
Speaking ahead of the launch of RISE at Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel on Saturday, Ms Urquhart said: “RISE is an opportunity to widen the debate in Scotland, to recognise that the more diverse the members are in the Scottish Parliament, the better it reflects Scottish life.
“The Scottish Parliament elected in 2003, with a good number of Greens, Socialists and independents, arguably delivered a better spectrum of ideas and issues, and more importantly, different thinking about solutions. Let’s get back to that Rainbow Parliament.
“It would be a tragedy if Holyrood merely imitated the unrepresentative Punch and Judy show produced by Westminster’s method of election.
“With the fairer, proportional voting system we have in Scotland, we have the opportunity to represent the full diversity of our communities and our nation.”
The former SNP MSP added that the Greens have shown how a small party can bring ideas to the table, adding that they are predicted to gain seats at the elections in May next year.
Pointing to the way the Independence Referendum inspired many people into a new interest in Scottish politics, she added: “The spontaneous, self-organised campaigns that assembled during the referendum contributed hugely to the debate, and to the unexpectedly high 45% Yes vote.
“It would be a terrible loss if they were to dissipate, or lie dormant until the next referendum. The birth of a new party out of that surge of energy and creativity is really exciting, so I am delighted to be supporting RISE and speaking at its launch on Saturday.
“Preliminary meetings in every part of the country over the past weeks have been welcomed enthusiastically, so although the launch is in Glasgow I know we will be well represented with folk from the Highlands and Islands. I’m looking forward to a day of ideas, passion and hope.”