What’s at stake in the European Elections
Tomorrow is polling day; the 2014 European Elections are upon us.
The Scottish Greens are standing unapologetically for a just economy; one that serves everyone, not just the wealthy. We want a welcoming and hospitable Scotland; one that treats everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of race, background, ability, sexual orientation, or any other social category. And we want Scotland to build peace throughout Europe, and beyond. These elections could very well see the first Green MEP for Scotland elected.
Scotland will elect 6 MEPs, using a proportional system (the d’Hondt system). Voters will vote for the party of their choice, each party having already chosen and ranked a list of candidates. For the last 5 years, Scotland has been represented by 2 SNP members, 2 from Labour, 1 Conservative and 1 Liberal Democrat.
These elections have seen very substantial prominence in the media given to UKIP, whose only significant messages seem to be to withdraw from the EU, and restrict immigration to wealthy English speakers (but they aren’t racist, apparently). Their candidates across the UK have made the headlines for saying that ‘gays should be shot’, ‘pro-EU people should be hanged for treason’, and, one of my favourites, ‘Romanians are criminals’. I do not believe that such hateful, bigoted views are welcome on our streets, never mind in our elected representatives.
And the real danger with UKIP’s rise to fame is perhaps the space that is opening up on the far right as their views become normalised. Scotland has seen several Scottish Defence League demonstrations in recent years, and Britain First, a neo-fascist party, is on the ballot paper for the first time tomorrow.
We must do everything we can to stop these parties; they represent fear of the other, hatred of difference, and division in our communities. They seek to destroy the lives of the poor and most vulnerable in society by raising tax levels to 31%, privatising the NHS, cutting social security even more than the Tories, and doing away with progressive legislation such as equal marriage, disability rights and gun control.
Scottish Greens stand for the very opposite of UKIP and the other far right parties. We want to further protect workers rights and conditions, enshrine equality for all across Europe, and support everyone’s right to a decent life through a citizens’ income.
This election gives us the chance to embrace the politics of hope. A politics that can create a better world and better lives for us all. I hope that you will trust me and the Green Party to work for that better Scotland in a better world.
Maggie Chapman is the lead candidate for the Scottish Greens in the European Elections. She is a councillor for the Leith Walk Ward, lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, and Trade Union activist within the EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland). Maggie is passionate about social justice and participation in democracy. She was the first politician to call for a Living Wage in Scotland, and has fought privatisation of Council services, including care support for the most vulnerable in society. If elected to serve the people of Scotland in Europe, she will fight austerity and privatisation, stand up for equal rights for all, and work to build peace across Europe.
For more information, please see www.votegreen2014.org, or follow Maggie on twitter @Maggie4Scotland.