The ballots to select the Scottish Green Party’s list of candidates for the 2014 European election have gone out. Given that there are four SYG members aiming to be on (or top!) of that list, we thought we’d give each of them an airing here. Each of our candidates has submitted a statement below – please put any questions you might have in the comments below, and the candidates will do their best to answer them (naturally any offensive nonsense will be ignored). If your question accidentally falls foul of our spam blocker, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put it to the candidates directly.
As my name suggests I am not Scottish. My passport states that I am a German citizen but I have a European heart and speak several languages. I am a student, reading Economics and Politics at Stirling University where I will graduate in 2014. In 2009 I took a gap year and worked in South America, where I joined the German Greens and the German Young Greens. In 2010 I started my studies in Scotland and became more involved with the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG).
In my first year at University I was chosen to represent the German Young Greens in Batumi, Georgia at the CDNEE’s AGM. In the following years I became an active member and attended seminars and conferences in Brussels and other European cities, and joined the FYEG ‘Green Economy’ working group.
Subsequently I founded the ‘Stirling University Greens’, a student society which in its first year had 22 members. Furthermore I am part of the wonderful Green Party branch in Stirling with our newly elected councillor Mark Ruskell. I stood as a candidate in the same election, involving myself with our great campaign team and participating in front line canvassing, street stalls and panel debates.
As an idealist I believe that local actions have global consequences and so I avoid flying, don’t buy meat and cycle everywhere. As an elected sustainability Officer for the University’s Students’ Union, I currently work with University officials to achieve greater sustainability on campus and beyond.
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, has created debate about the legitimacy of the prize and of the European Union. Europe, the EU and the €uro are essentially good ideas and institutions, but they need reform. Having tasted European issues, I can’t wait to get stuck into the debate.
I believe that the European project is fundamentally a positive thing, and that as Greens our internationalism and commitment to an open and democratic society entails us embracing political cooperation with our European neighbours. Irrespective of what should happen in Scotland?s domestic politics in 2014, we need to ensure that the European Parliament benefits from stronger Green and Scottish voices.
We need a long term solution to Scottish problems such as overfishing, and renewable energy networks which benefit the communities in which they are located. Via the EU we can also help the world get its house in order in the on-going struggle against climate change, poverty and environmental degradation.
I am proud to be a European citizen, have lived and worked in a number of EU member states and speak fluent Swedish and German. I am currently writing a Phd at Edinburgh University on effective environmental rhetoric, and also work as a freelance translator and journalist. I have previously stood as a candidate in the local elections and am international coordinator for the Scottish Young Greens, having also sat as a Young Green on the Elections and Campaigns Committee.
The European Parliament and the EU has much to offer Scotland, and whilst remaining sceptical of the rush toward economic union, I feel that the opportunities offered in education, cultural exchange and mobility are massive and should be encouraged and improved. Europe’s young people are becoming increasingly alienated from the systems that govern them, yet we are also the first truly European generation, following the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. We should therefore be forging a Europe with a concrete future instead of cementing the failed economics of the past. A Green MEP is both achievable and necessary, and I hope to be in the candidate team to make it happen.
I am seeking a position on the European list, as I believe I have a lot to offer in terms of aiding the election of our first, Green, MEP. I firmly believe that it is possible to win a seat at the 2014 elections, and I think the experience gained for participating in the campaign at this level would be invaluable.
I have a background in agriculture, energy and rural development, all of which are significantly influenced by EU policy. I would be able to bring this experience to bear during the campaign, and to support the lead candidate in these areas.
As a resident of the Highlands I would also be able to add a different dimension to the European list. More than anywhere else in Scotland the Highlands and Islands have been impacted by the EU, not just in terms of agriculture and fisheries, but European funding has been essential to the economic and social development of the region – something markedly different from the experience of the rest of the country.
I have previously stood as a candidate in the 2012 local elections, during which I hand delivered almost 3000 leaflets across a rural ward, and subsequently achieved over 6.5% of first preference votes in a ward with no previous history of SGP candidates.
On a personal level I am at a stage where I can commit full time to candidacy, should I be selected.
More generally it would be a clear benefit to SGP to have a candidate who is not based in the central belt, who can relate to rural life; for example where 4x4s are a necessary tool, not a status symbol; but who can also promote localism, true sustainability, and social and environmental justice, something which I feel able to do.
In 2014 we can and we should elect our first Scottish Green MEP. I believe I am a strong candidate who will campaign with passion and dedication to see this achieved.
Young people are increasingly green-minded, and Green MEPs in their twenties have been elected from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. As a former Scottish Young Greens convenor I believe I can join them.
I first became involved with the Scottish Green Party through volunteering with the Green MSPs in Holyrood and was then employed as their campaigns officer, working on a number of local and national campaigns. My proudest moment was prompting the resignation of the Parliament’s Justice Convenor after he made some horrific comments about rape, by writing a motion signed by so many MSPs he stood down.
I also worked as the Party fundraiser and then as an election campaign support officer. This gave me a real understanding of what it is to be a candidate in terms of commitment, energy and personal skills.
I currently work in Brussels as a trainee energy policy advisor to the Greens in the European Parliament and care deeply about energy. It is such a positive area to campaign on – getting renewables and energy efficiency right for communities not companies. In my job I’m frequently disappointed that there is no Green champion for Scotland; instead we have pro-oil and anti-wind farm MEPs.
We will succeed in this election if we have a few very clear messages and organise a fantastic campaign on the ground to reach voters. I would visit every region in Scotland in the final campaign months.
In my spare time I enjoy art and yoga, and am currently involved with anti-street harassment movement HollabackBrussels. I speak French and Spanish.
Please give me your first preference.