|With just 4 days until the Assembly powers referendum, The Green Party has reaffirmed its support to the “Yes for Wales” campaign, and had support at its Cardiff Conference from Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, Steven Agnew, Northern Ireland Green Party Leader, and Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. Essentially, this referendum is about giving Wales parity with Scotland and Northern Ireland in devolution terms.
Jake Griffiths, Wales Green Party Leader, said:
“A Yes vote will allow the Assembly to get on with the job of making laws that improve the lives of people in Wales. The scandal of Westminster holding up mental health legislation for 3 years, despite full support from all parties, shows how bureaucratic the current system is.
“The Assembly has managed to insulate Wales from some of the harshest spending cuts, such as the lower cap on tuition fees. A yes’ vote will strengthen the Assembly to take a different path from the one of cuts and privatization in Westminster.
“Wales is one of only three democracies in the world to have a sustainability duty written into its constitution, a yes’ vote on could really allow Wales to take this agenda forward and become a world leader in the green economy.”
Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales:
“Wales was first to propose a Smoking Ban but could only put it into practice four years later, as Wales needed to wait for Westminster to pass an enabling Act. This, and other important measures, such as suspending the right to buy, are not deserving of the delays that will continue in the event of a “no” vote.
“This March, it is vital that we give Wales a stronger voice. Policies are being forced through Westminster that are so clearly against the interests of the people of Wales. With a “yes” vote, this can be stopped, easing the strain on some of the most vulnerable people in society.”
Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, said: “Devolution has opened up opportunities for radical politics in Scotland, and broken open the “winner takes all” system which still dominates Westminster. The Greens in the Scottish Parliament have built a reputation for working creatively across party lines when it’s possible, and bringing a clear challenge to business-as-usual politics. This is a change that can come to every part of the UK too. If voters in Cardiff send Jake Griffiths into an Assembly with full law-making powers, Wales will see the difference that Green politics can bring.”
Steven Agnew, NI Green Party Leader, said: “The big advantage of devolution in NI is that we are resolving our disputes through democratic channels rather than violence on our streets. Communities that were once divided are increasingly coming together on issues, such as health education and environment.
“Devolution in NI has brought politics closer to the people. In the past, we had ministers who did not know NI. Now we have ministers from NI who know NI.
“For environmental NGOs this has meant direct access to decisionmakers and the ability to ensure accountability when the wrong decisions have been made. Whilst as a party of opposition, we often get frustrated if things aren’t moving fast enough, it is important to also recognize how far we have come.”