IT’S ELECTION TIME again, and while this will be a fascinating campaign in many regards, as you might expect the Scottish Greens do things differently!
You will already have noticed there isn’t a Scottish Greens Candidate contesting the constituency seat of Moray, and while it might seem like a strange way for a party to contest an election, for us it makes perfect sense because of the voting system being used.
In many respects the deciding factor on whether to stand in a constituency or not is cash, and without the backing of big business, lottery winners, or vested interests, we simply don’t have the resources to contest constituencies.
Also as a smaller party, for the moment, we also lose out to the tactical voting that goes on in the constituency. We saw it last year during the Westminster campaign, and it’s already started in this campaign, that stuff about two horse racing.
I’m always disappointed, if not surprised, that the tactical voting message is so prominent in campaigning – that voters of Moray are scaremongered into picking the lesser of two evils, rather than judging all candidates on policy and merit. Indeed, as an undecided voter in the constituency vote this sort of thing really is a turn off.
But back to the voting system. In the Holyrood elections you get two votes, one for your local constituency, and one for the regional list.
The constituency vote – with a purple ballot paper – is for the person you want to directly represent you in parliament.
The regional list vote – on a peach coloured paper – is for the party who’s policies best reflect your own views.
Crucially, this list vote is a proportional ballot, seats are won depending on how many votes a party wins AND how many constituencies they win – so a party that wins in the constituencies will struggle to get seats on the regional list, thus making the overall results proportionate!
As the Scottish Greens are not standing in any constituencies in the Highlands and Islands, it means that we are in a strong position to win seats on the regional list.
Recent polling is clear – across the region the SNP and the Lib Dems will almost certainly win in the constituencies. This means the battle for list seats is betweens the Greens, and Labour and the Tories.
So if you want to see a constructive yet challenging opposition, with bold ideas for a better Scotland, then please vote Green and Re-Elect John Finnie.
Just 12% of the vote would guarantee the return of a strong Green voice for the Highlands and Islands and depending on how the vote splits may even be enough to elect our hugely talented second list candidate, Isla O’Reilly.
But why re-elect John Finnie?
John has represented the Highlands and Islands, including Moray, in the Scottish Parliament since 2011. He has achieved a lot in this time, including:
- Successfully campaigning against deploying armed police to routine incidents, work for which he was awarded “Community Politician of the Year 2014”.
- Securing a Scottish Government promise to support young carers through education.
- Improved transparency for public pensions by exposing £3.2 million of MSP pension investments in weapons, tobacco, and fossil fuels.
- Leading the campaign against potentially catastrophic ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth, and exposing the shaky legal foundations of the license application.
But there’s still plenty more to do – Holyrood, Moray, and the Highlands and Islands need his voice.
Remember you will have two votes – vote for the person you want to directly represent you on the purple paper, then vote Scottish Greens on the peach coloured ballot for a bolder, better Scottish Parliament.
Next week we’ll be launching our manifesto, so there’ll be lots of inspiring Green policy to get stuck into – if you want me to highlight anything in particular, please let me know!
All four Moray candidates in the 2016 Parliamentary Election plus the Moray Greens have been invited to submit their views on one day each week until Friday, April 29 – they will then be invited to sum-up their cases on Sunday, May 1 in a final address on insideMoray before the election.