Scotland is so much more than its politics. But it is through our politics that we express our hopes for something better, and it is how we put those hopes into practice.
That is why doing politics better is so important. It gives us our best chance of a better Scotland, of handing over to the next generation a Scotland and a world worth living in. Ultimately, the same old politics will only deliver the same old outcomes. For bold outcomes, bold steps are needed.
And the boldest steps are needed when the challenges are greatest. The challenges we are facing have never been greater: a ‘code red’ warning for humanity of the consequences of the crises in our climate and in our natural world; recovery from a global pandemic; the repeated undermining by the UK Government of the powers of the Scottish Parliament; and the consequences for our economy and our international standing of a disastrous EU exit that Scotland did not vote for.
This agreement represents a leap of faith for both parties, the Scottish Government and the Green Group in the Scottish Parliament. It pulls us both out of our comfort zones. For the Scottish Government, it commits to a process of close cooperation and collaboration with another parliamentary group in a way that has never been done before in Scottish politics. The benefit is a stable foundation from which to deliver our policy programme. For the Green Group, it gives Green politicians their first opportunity of the responsibility of ministerial office in Scotland, or anywhere in the UK.
This agreement delivers bold action on pressing social issues, including more affordable homes and a new deal for tenants. It delivers on the steps needed to accelerate our response to the climate emergency, including a step change in support for active travel, new protections for our marine areas, and improvements to the energy efficiency of our homes. It commits us to working together to reform public services, including reform of the education system and the establishment of a National Care Service, and to building a more equal Scotland. And it reaffirms our shared commitment to independence and to ensuring that the people of Scotland are given a say on the country’s constitutional future, underlining the clear democratic mandate secured in the recent election.
This agreement is not a coalition, and both parties will maintain their distinctive and principled voices in Scottish politics. And this agreement does not preclude either of us continuing to work, as appropriate, with the other parties in the Scottish Parliament, and beyond, to make progress on the policies Scotland needs to thrive.
The founding principles of our Parliament challenge us to be more collaborative in our politics, and to be innovative in the ways we serve the people of Scotland. That is why we are recommending this agreement to our parties. If agreed, we believe it will deliver the change we need to equip ourselves for the challenges we face, in a way that contributes to the global effort needed to save our planet for future generations.
First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Scotland, and the Co-Leaders of the Scottish Green Party