THERE has been much speculation over whether the Greens will be standing in the General Election, with other parties desperate to try and bully our local branches to either stand or not stand in a bid to try and tactically game the election to their advantage.

It says a lot about the vision-less negative and broken political system that now inhabits Westminster.

We have a slate of 22 candidates across Scotland and are standing in seats held by all the main parties including Stirling constituency.

We aren’t bankrolled by big donors so are unable to stand everywhere and for this election won’t be contesting Ochil and South Perthshire, but we urge voters to hold all parties to account, especially on the urgent need to tackle the climate emergency.

This is an issue that Scotland’s two largest parties are both letting us down on. A new climate Bill was recently passed by the Scottish Parliament and while it sets improved targets it quite simply doesn’t go far enough.

There simply isn’t time for baby steps anymore, we need to be making massive strides forward, and quickly.

Both the Tories and the SNP remain committed to maximum extraction of North Sea oil and gas which is so clearly incompatible with addressing the climate emergency that it fundamentally undermines the rest of their positions on the environment.

Both these parties talk about the importance of protecting jobs and the sectors of the economy, but they are fundamentally kidding both themselves and, more importantly, the workers in the industry.

My party has proposed a Green New Deal with a just transition at its heart ensuring no worker is left behind. Using the power of the state to drive the transformational change we need could result in massive investment in low carbon industries, creating jobs right across the country which are sustainable and well paid.

The larger parties’ obsession with squeezing every drop of oil from North Sea will ultimately have devastating consequences and avoiding the issue won’t change that basic fact. The climate emergency is undoubtedly a threat, but the opportunities that decarbonisation brings are enormous.

A Green New Deal would also seek to massively reduce carbon emissions by radically altering public transport. Transport is the single biggest source of pollution in Scotland and public transport has been neglected for far too long, bus services especially.

The services throughout Clackmannanshire and neighbouring regions are unreliable, infrequent and expensive.

Fortunately, thanks to consistent pressure from the Greens, the recent Transport Bill stripped back Thatcher era rules which held councils looking to run their own services. In Edinburgh the buses are cheap, popular and publicly owned.

When running things like buses is left almost entirely in the hands of the private sector then it’s inevitable that people who rely on the service will suffer.

This is a public service being run in the interests of private profit. It’s neither effective nor fair and ultimately its ordinary people who pay the price.

We deserve better, and with bold ambitious governments pushing towards a sustainable green economy, we could have it to.