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Green Party policies that having nothing to do with recycling (or riding a bike)

Leafleting during the UK elections. 

The Scottish Green party are a bunch of vegan middle-class hippies whose policies are all about recycling. 

If you thought the above was true, well, you're forgiven. The Scottish Green Party does have an image problem in that it's all middle-class hippies who are all about the ethics but have no diversity within their party ranks. It's why we sometimes get called "Tories on bikes".

But with the upcoming Scottish elections, I thought it was maybe time I got the soapbox out again. The Scottish Green Party have policies covering everything from national defence, to education, to animal rights and trade unions, and I do want voters to go to the polls knowing what they're voting for. In fact, if you considered yourself to be on the left and care deeply about equality then the Scottish Green Party might be your best option at the voting booth.

To prove it, I've rounded up several policies the Scottish Green Party have which are nothing to do with recycling (or riding a bike, or eating organic food). 

1. The decriminalisation of sex work, but still taking measures to ensure safety

If you know me and know my feminist issues you'll know that where a political party stands on the issue of sex work is an important one. The stance of the Scottish Green party is that sex work -such as brothels and pornography - should be legalised and de-stigmatised, and what goes on between consenting adults is no one else's business. However, policies are still included to recognise that some individuals are coerced into sex work and preventative measures will need to be in place to ensure the safety of the profession.  

2. Free lifelong education

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to fund a Masters degree or PhD. Some of us are lucky enough that we worked out what we wanted to do while at school and never changed our mind before retirement. Many people aren't that lucky. If you want to do a Masters or a PhD the Greens believe you should be entitled to do it for free. The Greens also believe that career changes shouldn't be restricted to people who can afford to.

3. Introduce detailed national food labelling

From the Green policy document: "The SGP will legislate to ensure that all foodstuffs are clearly labelled so as to indicate the manner and place of production, estimated food miles and to any subsequent processes to which they have been subjected. We will also introduce a statutory scheme to introduce labelling for suitability for the following, and other, dietary requirements: vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, Halal, gluten and nut free. The national standard labelling system will also guarantee minimum standards of animal welfare for all sold products produced in Scotland."

Y'all know I can get behind that!

4. Support the right to join a trade union

Because it's much easier to stand up to your boss when there's a group of you, rather when it's just yourself trying not to let your bottom lip tremble. Trade unions are in place for a reason and it's to make sure employers don't take advantage of employees who are scared they will be fired if they have the audacity to leave work on time. 

5. Support the UN but also call for reforms

I'll put my hands up in the air and admit that the UN isn't my political strong-point (yes, I know my degree is in International Management so I should know more than I do, but shhh). So if the UN is a strong point for yourself you should make yourself familiar with this policy. 

6. Devolving more power to local communities

If having lived in three different cities within the same country has taught me anything, it's that one policy doesn't work across all communities. What works for people in the Central Belt and what works for people in the Scottish Islands differs immensely. And I'm sick to the death of the central belt getting loads of investment while my home city gets forgotten about. Handing over responsibility to the people who live in the local area is something this Aberdonian who lives/works in Glasgow but has a degree from a Dundee university feels strongly about.

7. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to health

The Scottish Greens strongly oppose any privatisation of the NHS. But the Scottish Greens also believe in preventative measures to improve the nation's health as a whole from free sporting facilities, to community food projects, to mental health support groups.

8. Addressing the causes of crime

Prison is essential for keeping dangerous people off the street. But there are many people who turn to crime due to poverty, mental health problems, toxic masculinity, or lack of good sex education (consent, y'all!). That is something the Scottish Greens believe needs dealt with. They also believe that CCTV surveillance has gotten out of hand, and does not fix the underlying root causes of criminal behaviour.

9. Radical democracy

Power goes to people's heads, which is why there needs to be more 'checks and balances' in the Scottish Parliament. A fairer voting system, fixed-term parliaments and regulation of party funding are three ideas that the Scottish Greens have in their policy document.

10. Scrapping Trident

Because we're peace-loving hippies.
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