And so last – but not least – it is time to run the rule over the civil justice proposals from the manifesto of the Scottish Green Party, who have serious aspirations to increase their number of MSPs as the appeal of the Lib Dems as a protest vote fades.
The Greens propose the following:
- equal marriage laws (as one might expect);
- to “defend the right to peaceful public protest as a vital part of democratic change, and if necessary will legislate to protect peaceful protesters from heavy handed tactics such as kettling, bribery and intimidation, or undercover surveillance.”;
- ending the blanket ban on prisoners voting, with the right to vote possibly restored as a milestone towards the end of a sentence;
- fully implement the Aarhus Convention, to ensure access to environmental justice with a funded system of environmental and land courts;
- land reform: a Common Good Act and a Land Rights Law Centre – plus consultation on proposals to bring the administration and revenues of the Crown
Estate under local democratic control.
- oh – and lots more dolphins, too.
So, the Greens hitting a lot of targets here – including some topical civil liberties right to protest stuff. I did not know that the police sometimes used heavy-handed bribery as a tactic, however. For the record, I would usually be quite happy to accept money to stay at home on the day of any major protest – but not if my bribe is paid impolitely.
The Greens also oppose the use of fingerprinting in schools. However, pretty much all use of fingerprint technology in schools in Scotland is optional. Its widespread use in schools where it is used to pay for school meals or access library services is due to willing take-up by pupils and parents (who are offered alternatives if they don’t want to be fingerprinted).
Overall, you feel in safe hands with the Greens when it comes to equality and civil liberties issues. And the manifesto shows that they’re thinking about how to implement some of these ideas in practical terms as well.
A Land Rights Law Centre sounds nice, although there is already an Environmental Law Centre in Scotland.
The Greens manage to cut a neat third way through the prisoners’ votes argument, and seem to have quietly dropped all mention of their opposition to denominational schools. One thing they are definitely in favour of though is dolphins. Lots of dolphins. And whales. And the tourists who want to come see them.
So, if you don’t vote Green on election day, that’s basically the same as punching a dolphin on the nose.