I suppose I should start by saying that up till the referendum, I was never really engaged in politics. I suppose I always considered myself left wing but really that was all about it. I had only voted once prior to the referendum, in the European Parliament Election. I remember on the day really struggling to decide which party I should vote for. I did decide to vote Green but I won’t lie, it was only on the basis of a quickly done online survey to see which party I should vote (thankfully however, as I will elaborate further on, I’ve come to realise that the party I voted for actually does represent my interests very well so I guess it all worked out)!
During the referendum I would flip from Yes to No from time to time. I decided to vote Yes because I found myself attracted to the positivity and grass roots activism of the Yes campaign. This felt like something I could finally get behind politically – not a certain party with certain policies, but a general movement that wanted everyone to have a better life and to switch to a more left wing form of politics than the right wing politics that Britain has generally embraced with open arms. Like many people that had been re-engaged in politics by the Yes campaign I was absolutely devastated when Scotland voted No to independence. It led to quite a few gloom days afterwards, most filled with a rather pessimistic view of what the future of Scotland would be like. Whilst this did subside after a wee while, I felt it was still important to take a positive step to keep myself engaged in politics.
I nearly signed up to all three political parties that supported independence at one point or another (SNP, SSP, Scottish Greens). I can’t say exactly what it was that made me not join the other parties, other than a lack of commitment to one set of policies over another. After looking at social media, with various people giving various reasons as to why they supported one party over another, I decided to leave it for a while and consult my choices again after I gave it some thought. It was only once I did this that I came to the conclusion that the Scottish Greens were the party for me.
Why did I decide to join the Scottish Greens? Well, the fact I voted for them at the European elections probably helped somewhat. Mainly, I believe it was because of the policies which backed equality, protecting the environment and social justice. Policies such as re-nationalising the railways, a living wage and a more reasonable approach to drugs. I also really liked the party’s commitments to ensuring personal freedoms aren’t violated by the state but at the same time ensuring that the state does it’s best to provide for people. I believe that this is very important as I am a socialist but at the same time believe people should be entitled to their own privacy. I’m not totally against things like CCTV as I do believe they do help keep people safe and deter crime. I just feel that if this gets too excessive then it can become a big problem down the road (although there’s a fair argument to be made that there’s too much surveillance as is)!
This is why I’m glad people within the Greens such as Patrick Harvie have spoken out against increased surveillance equipment in Glasgow City Centre but at the same time realise that it’s important to have as a way of keeping people safe and deterring crime. Patrick was also another reason why I joined. I thought the speeches and appearances he made during the referendum were fantastic and proved him to be a passionate politician that believed in making society better and cared more about people than he did exploiting the system to his own gain. However, the party is much more than Patrick himself (something I’m sure he would agree with). There are many other people within it that are clearly interested in achieving better politics and have only confirmed that my joining the Greens was the right move for me, such as: John Finnie, Ross Greer, Zara Kitson and countless other activists within the green party (of course, not forgetting the lovely people of the East Renfrewshire Greens).
This is ultimately, in a nut shell, overall, by and large, why I decided to join the Greens. Because I believe in the politics of hope and positivity, not the politics of, “well let’s hope we can marginally improve things a wee bit if we’re all really lucky and don’t tread on too many bankers toes”. I’m looking forward to my future as a member and hope that the party not only achieves it’s high aims, but surpasses them. Anyway, thanks for reading this so far and for putting up with my rambling. I’d like to finish by saying I look forward to working with everyone within the branch, party and with others that believe in similar politics or even cross party support on similar issues. I also look forward to achieving a better form of politics and to improve upon my own politics/views. Thanks, and hopefully see you later!