Scottish Election 2016: Why I’m voting Green

James Office pic Scottish Election 2016 Green

James Smyth tells Source why Green will be getting his vote on 5 May.

I’m voting Green because my future is at stake. Rents are rising, our education is being devalued and quality jobs with decent pay are hard to come-by. There is a danger of our generation being the first ever to be worse-off than our parents, unless we do something about it. And we can.

Greens believe that homes are for living in, not for generating profits. Noticed your rent creeping up every time you sign a new contract? This has to be stopped. We won’t let cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh become like London where people like you and me are priced out of the place. We should be able to feel secure in our homes. With the right kind of ambition, we can create a system where rent prices are controlled, heating bills are reduced and bad landlords are held to account, so that none of us have to freeze our arses off in sub-standard accommodation any longer.

We need a Scotland where young people have the opportunity to aim high, rather than spend years stuck in part-time, minimum wage jobs. Scotland can create 204,000 jobs – jobs in the green energy industry, providing opportunities in engineering, design and research; jobs in the creative and digital industries, supporting Scotland’s status as a cultural superpower and world leader in game design; jobs in social enterprises and co-operatives – 60% of which are lead by women. All of this is backed up by a commitment to making businesses pay the Living Wage – currently set at £7.85 an hour.

We’ll also introduce an ‘intermittent work scheme’. This will give a small amount of money to working artists and musicians who don’t have wealthy parents to fund them, enabling people from modest backgrounds who aspire to work in the creative industry to keep at it until their profession pays for itself.

We are constantly told by the government that we need to wait for independence to make real change in this country, and while we agree with the SNP on independence, we disagree with the idea that we can’t improve things right now. Actually, we can’t afford to wait around in creating a better society, and all the ideas we’re setting out during this campaign are things that can be done now, with the powers that Scotland already has. Scotland can be a just nation. Scotland can care for all of its people. Scotland can unlock the power in its communities, its environment and its young people. Raise your expectations, vote Green.

Find out more about the Green party in Scotland and what they’re doing ahead of the Scottish Election at

James Smyth is the co-ordinator of Students For Patrick, the Glasgow-wide student and young people’s campaign to elect Patrick Harvie and Zara Kitson and achieve the Greens’ biggest ever result in the city. The rest of the time he’s a musician and was once an extra in a Crocs advert.

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