John Knight's September 2021 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express

8 September 2021

Last month saw the Greens enter the Scottish government, in cooperation with the SNP. The arrangement - which will see leading Greens take up ministerial positions in the new government - has been confirmed following a vote by Scottish Green and SNP members.

This is a historic development - the first time Greens have taken a role in government anywhere in any of the UK nations. Just at a time when we urgently need more Greens in power.

With Greens taking on ministerial roles, green priorities and policies on social and economic justice will be at the heart of the new Scottish government. They will be empowered to deliver bold plans on decarbonising transport, homes and buildings, restoring the natural environment, creating a fair deal for tenants, and focusing on equipping people with the green skills they need for jobs in a green economy.

Cooperative arrangements of this nature are common in countries with a fair and proportional electoral system. Although the SNP won in most constituencies, the Additional Member System means that, without a majority of votes cast across the country, they did not get a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament. The Greens, with 8.1% of the vote, won eight seats; between them, the two parties represent half of Scottish voters.

Compare this with the UK parliament, where the unjust and unrepresentative first-past-the-post (FPTP) system has delivered a huge majority to a Conservative Party that received less than 44% of the vote.

Alarmingly, this same government now wants to make elections in England even less fair. Voter ID could see millions turned away from polling stations and trade unions and civil society groups will be effectively discouraged from political campaigning, while mayoral elections may become FPTP.

With so little public trust in politics, we need more democracy, not less.

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