John Expresses Delight at Jobs Boost for Home Area

 

The announcement of plans to create up to 600 jobs, and invest £120m at the site of the UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter yard at Fort William has been warmly welcomed by Highlands and Islands Green MSP John.

This latest news follows on from the £330m deal announced last month involving Liberty House and Simec to take over the Rio Tinto site in the town.

Speaking following the announcement, John said:

“As a Lochaber man I know the significance the smelter has not just for Fort-William but the entire area.

“When the plant’s future was most recently in doubt, I contacted senior Rio Tinto Executives. We met in the Parliament and I left them in no doubt that they bore a significant social responsibility to the area.

“I was delighted at the collaborative working involving Rio Tinto, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Scottish Government to give the plant and its valuable hydro schemes a future.

“So, on top of securing the existing 170 jobs, further news of an aluminium wheel manufacturing facility, creating 300 jobs and another 300 in the supply chain is tremendous.

“Credit is due to all those involved and I wish the new owners and their staff every success.

“I sincerely hope the role HIE have played in this will be recognised by the Scottish Government by maintaining the board and their present structure.”

John Slams Tories’ Heads in the Clouds on Air Passenger Duty

The Tory proposals to scrap Air Passenger Duty have been slammed by the  Scottish Greens who say it’s not the “genuine investment” in transport that people in Scotland are looking for.

The Scottish Greens have also highlighted that the Conservative plan is to abolish APD for all flights, not just long-haul flights as has been reported.

John, the Scottish Greens’ transport spokesperson, said:

“The Tories continue to have their heads in the clouds, dreaming up new ways to give tax cuts to the richest and to big businesses. Rather than subsidising the airline industry we should be making a genuine investment in transport, by ensuring that vital bus routes don’t get cut and that train services run on time, with ticket prices that are more affordable to the public. The Tories and the SNP must remember that if we are to meet our climate change objectives, as made clear in the Paris Agreement, it’s inconceivable we can do that while scrapping APD.”

Clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas- John’s Speech on Fisheries

Yesterday, 07/12/16  the Parliament debated the future of Scotland’s fisheries. You can read John’s speech in the debate below.

John Finnie MSP:

“Our national marine plan outlines a vision for

“Clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas; managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people.”

I hope that we all support that position.

My colleague Gail Ross highlighted the use of the term “expendable”, which I too wanted to mention. Our “proud fishing industry”—as the cabinet secretary referred to it—was never, and should never be, expendable. It was not right previously and it is not right for the future.

I have gained the impression from the discussion, not in the chamber today but in the press and elsewhere, that some people will view it as payback time if Scotland leaves the EU. The leave campaign talked about escaping the “disastrous” CFP to “claim back our fish”, which is a highly simplistic approach. Devising any new management regime will be much more complicated than that, for a number of reasons that have already been highlighted, such as the mobility of the commercial species that are fished, which travel through the waters of several countries during their lifetime. It is crucial that, in everything that we do, we determine the actual distribution and abundance of fish stocks from independent research, not just from landings. That would include research on the key spawning and nursery areas and migration pathways.

The North Sea, which has been mentioned frequently in the debate, is bounded by seven countries, so the EU, the UK, Scotland and our coastal communities have a shared responsibility to manage stocks. The Scottish Green Party wants to protect those vital stocks, and we would seek to have the CFP extend powers to regional management bodies that would help stakeholders to work together to prevent unsustainable exploitation of fish stocks and to actively recover the habitats that make up our marine environment. We support the prioritisation of high-value, low-impact fishing methods that support coastal communities. It is important that we mention communities, as fishing is not some abstract industry but one that supports land-based communities.

Although it is not hugely relevant to today’s debate, we want a moratorium on new—

John Scott MSP:

“Will the member take an intervention?”

John Finnie:

“Certainly.”

John Scott MSP

“Without wishing to reincarnate Jamie McGrigor, I am concerned that no one has yet mentioned the depletion of stocks in the west coast fisheries, which seems to be an abiding problem on which the minister touched. Do the Greens have any answers to that problem? It appears to have been intractable for as long as I can remember, and no one has yet managed to resolve it. Does John Finnie have any ideas for how the depletion of stocks might be reversed in the west coast fisheries and the Firth of Clyde?”

John Finnie MSP:

“I do not personally, but I commend to Mr Scott and to all members the approach that says that everything should have a scientific basis rather than being based simply on commercial exploitation. The cabinet secretary spoke about the need to respect scientific evidence, which is very important. The role that Scotland’s marine protected areas play involves planning that is based on scientific evidence, and it is important that communities are engaged in that work so that protected areas are implemented with those communities rather than—as is often perceived—being something that is done to them.

I know that there are conflicts between groups. The Scottish Green Party supports sustainable fishing, and if there is no fishing industry where there historically was one, that fishery has clearly not been sustainable.

We are very concerned about the destructive method of dredging, which damages the environment, and we also refute the nonsense about ploughing the sea bed to restore it. Anyone can see the damage that has been done. There is ample video evidence out there about how marine areas can recover, as has happened in some of the restricted areas around Wester Ross. We want our maritime resources to be viewed as an entire community resource.

On representative bodies, there have been many references to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, but of course it does not speak for the whole industry. I commend the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation and the various other fishermen’s federations. I am sure that the cabinet secretary will engage with all bodies and not just that single one.

Over the weekend, we have had talk of efforts to evade the scrutiny that is absolutely vital to ensure that our marine stocks are maintained. Marine monitoring is vital, which is why the Green Party will support the Labour Party amendment. Marine monitoring staff play an important role in preserving our fishing stocks. As has been said, there should be no loss of remuneration for those important public employees—they are public servants who work in very hazardous circumstances.

Some positives come out of the common fisheries policy. I know that many have derided it, but there have undoubtedly been some benefits—not everything can be transferred into pounds, shillings and pence on the quayside. The situation with discards is often referred to. The discard ban will benefit a sustainable fishery and has the potential to increase overall fishing revenue and resilience. It is about selectivity. Much has been made of the innovations that have been put in place with gear, which we certainly support. There are clear economic arguments for that.

I commend the briefings that we have received from WWF and the RSPB, which others have mentioned.

Catch limits are in accordance with scientific advice. We may all wish to see maximised catches but, as John Scott alluded to, where historically there has been a fishery and there is no longer one, that shows that the method used did not work. Certainly, some of the tactics that were employed in the 1970s and 1980s contributed to such situations. The issue is important, because we need to retain a reputation as a supplier of high-quality and sustainable food.”

You can also watch John’s speech using the link below.

http://www.scottishparliament.tv/20161207_debate?in=01:03:20&out=01:10:08

 

 

Reflections on the Proposed Third Runway at Heathrow

The recent announcement of Scottish Government’s support for a third runway at Heathrow drew warm support from Scotland’s other political parties, but not the Scottish Greens.

The Scottish Government appeared to be seduced by promises of an astonishing “16,000 new jobs,” forgetting to say that estimate was by 2050; one hundred jobs for Prestwick and, casting aside any suggestion of an open, transparent and fair procurement policy, an assurance of Scotland winning £200m construction-related spend during planning and construction of the third runway.

Cabinet Secretary, for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP was enthused about the ‘£10 off’ deal for passengers landing at Heathrow from Scotland giving confusing and conflicting messages about the number of ‘short haul’ flights and their implications.

There was little public talk of the “£10million route development fund to help support new (my emphasis) domestic routes.” So more flights, possibly from more destinations in Scotland.

Mr Brown volunteered that increasing the number of long-haul flights to Scotland could reduce the number of “damaging” short-haul connections to Heathrow. However, Mr Brown blew that line by adding that many people flying directly to Scotland would want onward journeys to Heathrow.

Friends of the Earth say a third runway at Heathrow would increase passenger traffic by 70% by 2030; adding that if the UK and Scottish governments are genuinely committed to achieving internationally agreed climate change targets then aviation cannot be allowed to grow much more.

Here’s what we know:

  • Aviation is the fastest source of greenhouse gases with airlines gross polluters
  • Expanding aviation is a disaster for the climate and communities
  • Whilst air links from Inverness to London make sense those from central Scotland don’t
  • Improved rail services, in public ownership, would provide wider benefit

Of course with the building of the third runway at Heathrow is estimated at billions of pounds, the Scottish Government is thinking of the lucrative Barnett consequentials – assuming they exist when construction takes place – rather than its hitherto proclaimed priority of addressing climate change.

This whole episode is a last century idea indicative of an unhelpful cosiness between the Scottish Government and big business.

Securing Scotland’s Rural Economy Following The European Union Referendum

Yesterday, 27th September 2016, John spoke in the Scottish Government’s debate, ‘Securing the interests of Scotland’s rural economy following the European Union referendum’. The motion debated was

Motion S5M-01669: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/09/2016
Securing the Interests of Scotland’s Rural Economy Following the EU Referendum
That the Parliament agrees that the best way to protect rural interests is by protecting Scotland’s place in Europe, maintaining membership of the single market, and access to the free movement of labour; welcomes that the Scottish Ministers will pass on in full the EU funding guaranteed by the UK Government so far; notes that membership of the EU delivers significant economic and social benefits to Scotland’s rural economy, worth billions between 2014 and 2020; resolves to do all it can to secure the jobs, incomes, businesses, investment and development dependent on these benefits, and, therefore, calls on the UK Government to guarantee all EU funding due to Scotland and to ensure that Scotland has a role in decision-making, as well as full involvement in all UK negotiations, including those on fisheries management.

You can read John’s speech below:

 

“The Scottish Green Party will support the Scottish Government’s motion at decision time. I never thought that I would commence a speech by agreeing with David Mundell, but the cabinet secretary quoted David Mundell saying that

“the risks … are … too great”,

and Mr Crawford outlined what Mr Mundell said about the severity of the implications. Those implications are not simply economic; social benefits will also be affected. My Highlands and Islands colleague Rhoda Grant talked about the infrastructure benefits that have come to the Highlands as a result of membership of the EU, which are apparent to everyone.

The big question is what our countryside should look like. The Scottish Green Party’s view is that our rural and coastal communities should be vibrant places where lots of small communities own, respect and benefit from natural resources. There should be adequate housing, local schooling and access to a range of public services. For that reason, we will support the Labour amendment, which reminds us of the importance of broadband.

On our rural economy, 98 per cent of Scotland’s landmass is rural, and 18 per cent of its population, 16 per cent of its employment, 30 per cent of its enterprises and 40 per cent of its small and medium-sized enterprises are rural. Rural communities are vibrant but fragile places. Their hallmarks are multiple job holding; underemployment; seasonal employment, which is often linked to housing availability; and sectors that depend on migrant labour, as more than one member has outlined. Therefore, we cannot deal with the uncertainty that Brexit has visited on us.

The motion mentions

“membership of the single market”.

It is about not access but membership. That is important.

The motion also mentions freedom of movement. The Scottish Green Party certainly takes the view that the Prime Minister should spell out her intention to safeguard the free movement of people, however likely that is, and she should allow for a separate membership deal for Scotland if that is necessary. That would better reflect how we voted.

The economic benefit to the UK of EU migrants is well documented. I will give a figure from research from 2014. During the period from 2001 to 2011, the economic benefit from them was £22 billion. More recently, an HM Revenue and Customs report said that EU migrants made a positive contribution to the UK public finances in 2013-14 of more than £2.5 billion, which is a significant figure. That positive contribution is keenly felt in rural areas, with their agriculture, hospitality businesses and social care services, which are important for a growing and ageing population.

There is an opportunity to review our policies regardless of what happens with the EU. We clearly want to stay in it, but people have acknowledged that it is not without its flaws. I will give another example. The virulently anti-EU newspaper owner Mr Paul Dacre, who is a resident of the Highlands and Islands, landed more than £250,000 in EU subsidies for his sporting estate in Wester Ross and another €13,000 in direct farm payments.

The previous Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment opposed payments to sporting estates. I understand that he made representations to the EU but that the proposals were said to be too loosely defined. I hope that the Scottish Government continues to hold that position and that it will pursue the matter.

I am grateful to the various organisations that have provided briefings. The Scottish Wildlife Trust talks about four significant issues that will need to be addressed to achieve the best possible outcome for Scotland’s natural environment. It talks about the future of environmental legislation. We know that the EU has been responsible for a considerable volume of quality legislation that has made the world a better place. It talks about funding to support sustainable land management, which is an important issue. Obviously, I welcome the land fund. It also talks about how Scotland achieves healthy seas. That is about sustainable fisheries management and local fisheries management. It is about acknowledging that fish do not recognise international boundaries and that international co-operation will be required. The trust’s final point is about ensuring that Scotland remains a centre of excellence for science and knowledge exchange.

There has been cross-party consensus—it is perhaps rare—on post-study work visas, which the situation will have an impact on. It is unfortunate for Scotland that the UK Government did not pick up on that.

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of our rural communities, and natural capital is a key priority of its economic strategy. The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity talked about the potential loss of 40 million trees, which arises with a well-known dip coming in our timber production.

The Greens see a different emphasis. We like smaller units of agriculture rather than the large agricultural businesses. Only £350 million supports the agri-environment schemes. That is paid through the SRDP in pillar 2 payments.

It is not just us who think that there are flaws; the recent Audit Scotland report on the current CAP programme confirms that view. That is understandable, given the failures of the current scheme. Obvious benefits are associated with the direct payments to support food production, but Scots throw away 600,000 tonnes of food and drink every year, which costs £1 billion. Agriculture and related land use contribute to 20 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. In the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee meeting last week, we heard that steps are being taken on that. Intensive farming makes a significant contribution to pollution.

We draw a contrast with the relatively small amount of money that is spent under agri-environment schemes through pillar 2, which incentivises land managers to deliver public benefits by improving, promoting and providing public access, creating new habitats, removing non-native species, expanding native species, planting native woodland, supporting conservation grazing and restoring peatlands.

One of the briefings that I read was from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which said that

“establishing new frameworks for all of the areas currently covered by EU legislation”

was “a major task” and questioned the resilience of Government staff to do that. We very much rely on the staff in the various Government directorates and, if we leave the EU, that will be a huge challenge.

It is vital for the Scottish Government to be fully involved in negotiations. Unless other parties wish to say otherwise, I understand that the Scottish Government is charged with representing and protecting Scotland’s interests in the negotiations. The Scottish Green Party certainly wishes to see that continue and appreciates the Government’s efforts thus far.

It is clear that the impacts of Brexit are far reaching and that there will be challenges for Scotland’s natural capital. It is vital that we have vibrant and viable coastal and rural communities. It is important that we determine how best taxpayers’ money is spent to maximise the benefits and achieve sustainable land management. We want that to take place within the EU; we want that within the single market. We want freedom of movement, which is a red-line issue for us. If we fail to get that, we will chart our own destiny.”

You can watch John’s speech here: https://youtu.be/fk582FFC_Ao?t=4445

John’s Speech in the Domestic Abuse Law Debate

On Thursday (15th September 2016) the Scottish Parliament debated the Scottish Government’s proposal for a Domestic Abuse law. You can read John’s speech from the debate below.

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Green):

“The Scottish Green Party welcomes the proposed bill. Tackling domestic abuse is, rightly, a priority for the criminal justice system, for society and for those who are affected by such abuse—the victims, who are overwhelmingly female, and their children. If we get the legislation right, we will go some way towards addressing gender-based violence and a little way towards addressing gender-based inequality.

It is not my gender that is suffering that inequality. For too long in our male-dominated society, the issue was not discussed, and I welcome the fact that we are now having discussions out in the open, particularly about the complex area of psychological abuse and coercive control.

Societal action is required, too. Action can bring many challenges and confrontations with certain groups in society, and it can also bring geographic challenges. I would say nothing that would identify an individual case, but I dealt with a victim of appalling psychological abuse and coercive control whose male partner was regarded as a highly respected member of their rural community and, very alarmingly, was someone to whom victims might turn. There are particular challenges for rural communities that we need to be conscious of.

It is important that we move the discussion forward on an informed basis, and it is important to say that the behaviour that we are discussing is not restricted to one socioeconomic group but is present across society.

I am grateful for the various briefings that we have received, such as the one from Scottish Women’s Aid. A number of members have talked about the pivotal role that that organisation has played in progressing the agenda and the informed background that it can bring to our discussion.

Mention has been made of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016, which my colleague Margaret Mitchell and I, among others, were responsible for scrutinising in the previous parliamentary session. During that scrutiny, we took evidence in private from a woman who lived in a state of fear and alarm—essentially, a state of psychological siege—in her own home. It was an appalling situation. That woman was extremely grateful to the police for their diligent investigations, their support and their thorough work. Her partner continually breached bail. He was banned from her home but often, when she returned home from being out, he would be in the vicinity. The system failed her and her children.

If we are going to get this right, we need good law. The Law Society has talked about the need for certainty in law—Gordon Lindhurst made an extremely helpful contribution in that regard—and Margaret Mitchell talked about the complexity that exists. We are seeking to deal with a much more complex set of circumstances.

The perpetrators of such behaviour are highly manipulative, which is why there is no role for mediation, although there can be a role for advocacy for the victims. Scottish Women’s Aid talks about understanding the dynamics and the impact, and about the important role of training for decision makers throughout the system.

In respect of getting it right for every child, many members have talked about the children who are involved in domestic abuse cases, and the cabinet secretary talked about recognising the impact on children. It is vital that children’s needs are met. I know that there have been preliminary discussions about the Nordic model of noting statements from child victims in an agreed manner, which means that there might be no need for them to be at court, and certainly no need for them to be cross-examined. There is potential in that model, and I hope that it can be followed up. Indeed, with new personnel in place, it might be possible that the only things challenged in court will be the facts under dispute.

Members have talked about domestic abuse courts. The Green Party will support Claire Baker’s amendment, which mentions their role. Along with Ross-shire Women’s Aid, I have been involved for a while in discussions with the sheriff principal about such courts. Kate Forbes suggested some sort of roving role for domestic abuse courts. The public may think that that is about new buildings, but it is about case management and the opportunity to bring professionals together. That is important, because it would build up judicial expertise. Furthermore, a sufficient cohort of cases would make that a very practical approach.

Members have talked about the vital issue of funding. I acknowledge the £20 million that the Scottish Government put in, but if we are really committed to dealing with the issue, we cannot have all the various groups lobbying us because they have no certainty about their future. It is important to consider that that might mean a different source of funding or a different way of looking at funding.

Legal support is an important issue. In the case that I alluded to, because of the geography and a number of other reasons, the appropriate legal support was hard to get. We need to look at that.

Although it is unpalatable to some, we must look at the statutory defence and the legal burden on the accused. The Law Society reminds us of the presumption of innocence and the obligation on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused, and proposes an amendment to the statutory defence. According to my information, a number of proposed amendments have come in. Ross-shire Women’s Aid, for instance, suggests that the statutory defence is open to manipulation by perpetrators and that there will be frailties around it in connection with women with disabilities where the abuser is a carer. Furthermore, it does not fully cover behaviour that is directed at children, pets or property. There is also a clear view that the penalties are not sufficient. Once again, there is talk of non-harassment orders. The link between the criminal and the civil is very important.

This is about gender violence and inequality. As a member of the Justice Committee, I look forward to thoroughly scrutinising the bill to ensure that we get good law in place.”

 

The motion debated was as below:
Motion S5M-01434: Michael Matheson, Falkirk West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/09/2016
Domestic Abuse Law
That the Parliament welcomes the announcement by the First Minister when delivering the 2016-17 Programme for Government that the Scottish Government will introduce legislation to create a specific criminal offence of domestic abuse; recognises that, in Scotland, there are approximately 60,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported each year, with the 2014-15 figures showing that 79% of such incidents having a male perpetrator and a female victim; recognises that, while physical abuse can be prosecuted under existing laws, it is challenging to prosecute psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour under these; agrees that a new offence will both help the criminal justice system to deal more effectively with domestic abusers and, alongside access to appropriate advocacy services, allow better access to justice for victims, and notes that the Scottish Government is continuing to consider the exact terms of such an offence in the light of feedback to the recent consultation on a draft offence with the aim of ensuring that it appropriately and effectively criminalises the type of pernicious coercive and controlling behaviour that can constitute domestic abuse and that such an offence will have a significant impact on how society views domestic abuse by ensuring that there is clarity that psychological, as well as physical abuse, of a partner or ex-partner is a criminal offence.

We can’t trust energy workers’ futures to Big Oil

An abridged version of this article appeared in the Press & Journal on Saturday 6 August 2016.

The port at Nigg, where work on the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm is creating 100 green jobs. Photo: Sea Cromarty Sparkle by Rhonda Surman. CC-BY-2.0.
The port at Nigg, where work on the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm is creating 100 green jobs.
Photo: Sea Cromarty Sparkle by Rhonda Surman. CC-BY-2.0.
I want to start this column by offering my support and solidarity to the 400 workers at the multination oil services company Wood Group, who are continuing with the first offshore strike in almost three decades.

These workers already do a tough and sometimes risky job, have already been moved to a three-week working pattern meaning longer periods offshore away from their families, and are now being asked to accept pay cuts.

While workers’ pay is cut, the Chief Executive of the Wood Group has been given a 28% pay rise, taking his salary to £600,000 a year, and the company is handing out a generous 10% dividend to its shareholders.

This attitude exemplifies an economy that treats workers in the same way as it treats the oil and gas they drill – as a commodity to be exploited until it is no longer profitable; never mind the harm caused or the damage left behind when corporations move on to juicier profits elsewhere.

So it’s small wonder that the disregard shown for these workers’ immediate future is matched by the disinterest most oil and gas firms show in securing them a long-term working future. When the oil is done, Big Oil reasons, they will simply up sticks and never look back on the unemployment they’d leave behind.

It’s a story all too familiar to the former steel towns of the Central Belt, and it could well be played out again in the North if we go on without a plan for what comes next.

The good news is that what comes next could be an energy revolution to outshine the fossil fuel age; creating more than enough jobs to secure the future of our world-class skilled workforce and renewing the economy not only of Aberdeen, but also of town and country right across the North and the Islands.

Scotland has a quarter of the European Union’s entire offshore wind and marine energy potential, and perhaps the greatest offshore engineering tradition in the world.

As well as Aberdeen’s undisputed position as a global centre for offshore engineering, we have innovative and expert workforces in communities across the country, such as at Nigg, Orkney, Shetland and Campbeltown. Not to mention the huge injection of skills, facilities and money that could be brought to bear if Faslane was converted for socially useful, peaceful work.

By applying our unique skills to our vast renewable resources, we could put Scotland at the forefront of a global industry. We should be not only Europe’s biggest producer of clean energy, but also the place the world comes for renewable technology, engineering and services.

Workers in the oil and gas industry know that it cannot last forever, and that it may not even last until the end of their careers. They know that they may be the last generation of Scottish oil and gas workers, and wonder what the future holds for their children and their communities. Meanwhile, multinational oil firms attempt to exploit this vulnerability, gouging workers who they believe have no alternative.

Cover of the Green MSPs' report Jobs in Scotland's New Economy.
The Green MSPs’ report Jobs in Scotland’s Green Economy (PDF) shows how we could create more than 200,000 green jobs in the next 20 years.
Energy workers deserve so much better than that. They deserve a secure future for themselves and their families. They deserve to be valued for their skills, not squeezed to prop up bonuses and dividends when the declining oil age fail to satisfy corporate greed. They have the ability to build a new energy industry that will underpin Scottish prosperity for generations to come and help save the world into the bargain, and they deserve the chance to fulfil that potential.

The first glimmers of that industry are plain to see. Renewables now supply more than half of Scotland’s electricity demand, and just this week Vattenfall announced a £300m investment to build the 11-turbine, 92.4MW European Offshore Wind Development Centre in Aberdeen Bay.

But without a concerted, ambitious plan to transition from the fossil era to the clean energy age we could easily fall short of our potential. Currently-planned projects aren’t yet enough to hit the Scottish Government target of meeting 100% of our electricity needs from renewables by 2020, and the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee warned this week that uncertainty over the UK Government’s commitment to renewables could threaten future growth.

And a piecemeal, wait-and-see strategy does nothing to guarantee the futures of present oil and gas workers: they need to know where and when their future jobs are coming, and they need a guarantee of extra training or financial help if they need them.

So I encourage the Scottish Government to work with unions, employers, universities and colleges, industry bodies and all willing political parties – certainly the Greens are ready to help – to create a comprehensive and genuinely ambitious industrial strategy that maps a detailed route from the fossil-fuel economy of the 20th century to the renewable boom of the 21st century and beyond.

There’s no question that clean energy is our future; the choice we have to make now is whether we lead the world into that bright future, or merely follow it.