Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Interview: Elaine Morrison

Elaine Morrison is the lead European Parliamentary candidate for the Greens in the Scotland. We've had a super quick chat about Europe, Scotland and climate change;

What do you think the key problems facing Scotland are at the moment?

Scotland has one of the least healthy populations in the world. This is directly related to our high levels of urban poverty. The economic crisis will only exacerbate these twin problems.

In the battle against climate change where do you see the principle challenges for the Green movement, and how do we best effect those changes?

We need to stop making people feel guilty and start making them feel hopeful. Climate change won't be solved by moaning at people about their light bulbs. It will be solved when communities, and countries, come together, with the help of their governments, and build a low carbon economy.

Specifically, What role do members of the European Parliament have to play in these issues?
The EU is crucial. In particular, it has a huge role in reining in corporate power, and ending the 'race to the bottom' both in Europe and around the world. It also negotiates for us at global climate summits. It's crucial that we have MEPs keeping up the pressure to ensure we get the deal that the world needs.

What is the Green approach to the economic crisis?
The economic crisis highlights what's wrong with unfettered capitalist. A green approach is about two key things - investment and democratisation. We need to invest in re-building an economy fit for the 21st century. This means stimulating things we need - green energy, insulation, education and jobs, while recognising that this green growth is not the same as crude GDP growth, which includes financial speculation, illness, and pollution.

It also means that we need to reclaim our economy. The government shouldn't have allowed bankers to gamble away people's investments. We need to rebuild democratically controlled mutuals and building societies, so that we have a say over what money is spent on, and we can make sure it is invested in the services our communities need, not squandered on the currency exchange.

It seems unlikely that this time round there will be a strong socialist vote in Scotland (which I'd guess will largely go to the SNP and the Greens). Are you optimistic about the Green vote in June?
There are loads of reasons to be optimistic about the Green vote in June. We are the only party with sensible things to say about the credit crunch. While Labour, the SNP, and the Tories argue about the details of regulations, they have been in bed with bankers for decades. We just need to get our message across.

You can join her facebook group here, view her website here, or visit the Scottish Greens here.


ModernityBlog said...

"Scotland has one of the least healthy populations in the world."

is that really the case?

of the world's 190+ countries does Scotland come near the bottom?

I assume that she meant:

"Scotland has one of the least healthy populations in the developed world" ?

Jim Jay said...

I suspect it depends on how you measure it. Life expectancy wise I'm absolutely sure you're right Mod. There be other measures though... not something I know much about I'm afraid.

One small snippet of info I know is that Iraq used to have the best dentistry in the world and they would send their dentists to Scotland to train because the teeth their were among the worst in the world which gave them lots of scope for seeing the worst cases.

Obviously we shouldn't get distracted by semantics though (I'm a natural pedant but trying to train myself out of it) and it is clear that there are serious health problems that need to be addressed in Scotland.

ModernityBlog said...

indeed Jim,

but as you know I am never one to belabour a point :)

still, saying the WORLD, as opposed to the developed world is over egging the cake, imho

I am, in this case, not being a pedant rather I believe we should see ourselves in the context of the rest of the world, including the very poor bits and appreciate that they have it a LOT worse, in both real and comparative, terms, that includes all health matters

it is an internationalist view of the world :)

Jim Jay said...

Well I think you're probably right. I just don't think we should discount heart problems for instance - which is a problem that Scotland needs addressing urgently.

ModernityBlog said...

sorry, Jim, but I thought it was obvious that political people should use words with CARE?

it is their only medium and if politicos devalue words by being extravagant with them then they lose meaning

eg. I listen to American radio a lot and it is FILLED with hyperbole, THE very, worse, we are THE best, biggest, greatest etc and in using such words it often conveys a distorted view of the world, which is unnecessary and ultimately unhelpful

so I hope that Green candidates will just choose their words with greater care (and that it does NOT reflect their local and parochial view of the world)

bearing in mind, that many very very poor countries don't even bother collecting stats cos people die off before they get heart problems in middle age

[this is NOT about Scotland, for many reasons I am fully aware of health problems there, rather that politicos should use words with greater care]

Tim Goodwin said...

[ the EU ] has a huge role in reigning in corporate power...

I think you mean "reining in"!