OSCAR Wilde said the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. I’ve certainly had the chance to reflect on those words this week! On one hand there are some pro-independence supporters who talk about going Green “after indy”, but think we shouldn’t bother working for a Green breakthrough in the meantime, and should sit out this election altogether.

On the other hand – and much funnier – we have the angry buzzing of Tories and Unionists who are furious that we’re not standing in every seat. Murdo Fraser is so obsessed that he can’t stop talking about us. Well if they want to help, they know where to go and donate!

I’ve been thrilled at the support I’ve had personally since announcing that I’ll be the Green candidate for the Glasgow North constituency at next month’s General Election. We’ve had new volunteers and offers of help, donations to the crowdfunder, and lots of interest.

Loading article content

But of course I know many Green voters are disappointed that we won’t have candidates in their seats, and I regret that, too. After three national elections and two referendums in the last few years, I can’t pretend that we can instantly rustle up the nearly £100,000 we spent on campaigning in 2015.

I’ve also met people who have other questions about the election, about what will happen in the next Parliament, and about why I’ve chosen to stand. Some people have asked why I’d want to go to Westminster at all. I’ve had the honour of serving as Glasgow’s Green MSP for 14 years and I’ve worked hard on the issues our voters care about, from the quality of our air to equality in our society, and from protecting green spaces to reversing cuts to our public services. But in the next session at Westminster a huge number of the social, economic and environmental protections we’ve won in Europe will be in the hands of hard-right Tories, and Scotland’s right to choose its own future will be decided. Green voices are needed, now more than ever. If elected, I’ll give up my Holyrood seat which would pass to our second candidate, the marvellous Zara Kitson. So Glasgow and Scotland will still have strong Green representation in the Scottish Parliament.

This election was called by a Tory Prime Minister taking advantage of a weak Labour Party, showing contempt for the local elections, and seeking to strengthen her own hand despite the increasingly extremist and vindictive agenda she has in Government. Throughout these islands, progressive voters need to challenge the Tories, and where Tory candidates are targeting marginal seats I know that many are thinking about the best-placed candidate to beat them. But in Glasgow North that’s not the choice facing voters.

The constituency largely covers the same communities as Glasgow Kelvin, the seat I contested last year under first past the post, coming second ahead of Labour and well ahead of the Tory and LibDem candidates. It also includes Hillhead ward, where Martha Wardrop, our popular Green councillor, topped the poll in the local election last week. This is the Greenest constituency in Scotland, and anyone who wants to see a Green breakthrough needs to be working to achieve it here.

The debate here in Glasgow North is not between the SNP and the Tories, or between independence and the Union. It’s between competing positive visions of Scotland’s future. And I passionately believe the Green vision needs to be heard. Tory austerity is wrong because it’s destroying people’s lives. But it’s also wrong because it’s a failure to invest in the transition to a truly sustainable economy, one which creates high-quality lasting jobs for the future, which fairly shares the wealth we all generate, and which prepares for the age after oil. That won’t be achieved by advocating subsidies for fossil fuel, or incentives to go drilling for more. I’m sick of the argument about who owns the oil; the real debate is about leaving most of it unburned.

It won’t be achieved by the UK building a new runway at Heathrow or giving tax breaks to the airlines, when our local public transport is expensive and unreliable, and I can’t ask Green voters to back candidates who support that.

This transition can only be achieved by changing the way our economy works, including supporting independently-owned businesses and social enterprises, instead of giant multinationals who have been backed by both Scottish and UK Governments.

Caroline Lucas has shown in Brighton that Greens can win even under the UK’s antique and unfair voting system, but only if we work hard at local level and target areas where people have shown support for Green ideas. That’s what we’ll be working for in Glasgow North, and it’s why I’ll be proud to be the Green candidate.