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(Why) I Joined The Greens by Chloe McDermott

I recognise that the Greens offer an alternative independence supporting party that simply goes further and dares to dream bigger.  

Where do I start? Well, I guess it should be the beginning. It has been just over four months since joining the Scottish Greens. Ever since jumping ship from the SNP I had been wondering why I made such a seemingly impulsive decision.

My mum asked why I was receiving all these letter packs (receiving three welcome packs in total) I explained that I switched to the Greens. She of course asked me why I would do such a thing. At the time I simply said Trans rights and taking the climate crisis as seriously as it should be, believing that would suffice. I was wrong. It horrified me, usually I did not make such impulsive decisions.

Yet, at the same time I was calmly firm that I somehow knew this was the right place for me.

I was speaking to an old college friend – an active Green member – of mine about it. We talked about independence, the problems with the SNP and why I left.  I told him that my independence vote was actually hanging by a thread the more I stayed in that toxic environment. I needed to see that my faith in independence and MY vision for an independent, progressive Scotland was genuinely on the table.

I found through talking to him that my biggest problems with the SNP pertained to bigotry mainly in the form of the anti – trans narrative infecting the party more than Coronavirus ever could. Unlike Coronavirus this will last a lot longer and even once/if the party recovers there is no guarantee it will ever feel the same again.  I think one day after seeing another young Trans activist or ally – I cannot remember because of how frequent this kind of behaviour became – was yet again being doxed/ bullied by a wave of SNP bigots. Realising I was in the same party. I made a choice then and there to say goodbye.

Why would I continue to stay? I was constantly being talked down/ over, brought down for defending Trans rights all while knowing actual Trans people went through much worse. It’s not just that though either. It suddenly dawned on me that one day Nicola Sturgeon will no longer be First Minister and I think without some major upset the SNP will still realistically be in power for a while. I also expect them to at least be in power for the first term after independence. Then this all adds up to someone else taking the mantle and this period may fly past. I want to think it wouldn’t be a massive bigot, but it seems more likely than it ever did before. I guess I had a fevered dream about Johanna Cherry being the first PM(?) President(?) of an independent Scotland and personally I did not want a part of it.

There are of course many hoops to jump through before the above nightmare would take place. But still the fact it’s even a remote possibility was enough to send me scurrying.  However, that might answer the question of why I left. It does not answer why I chose the Greens. I could have been politically homeless.

Part of me would have been satisfied being out of a political party but then again maybe not. For all its faults I still felt like part of something when I was in the SNP. I quickly realised what I was missing was being part of a group. Not as one monolith by any means but still one that had common goals.

“This is what it was always meant to feel like” I said as I came off a virtual conference with green members. Hosted by Patrick Harvie featuring Ross Greer MSP and Carolyn Scrimgeour and although it may feel cliché to say so, but I felt at home. I was not surprised to see other newbies on my screen that night. I was surprised to hear the wide range of reasons for joining, the wide range of ages and even a surprise former labour vote. I was the first to mention Trans rights, but I was glad I did. My frustrations with the SNP’S refusal to oust TERF’s and rather enable their bigotry were understood. It was refreshing to air my concern over Trump’s golf courses and possible money laundering just sitting there with nothing being done about it. Having interesting discussions about how the Scottish Government could think around problems with creative and bold solutions that I would like to hear more about in future all good reasons to join. I at the very least, had my one prayer answered.

That being, that I Chloe Georgia McDermott belong to a party that belong to the Scottish Green Party, I have found in them a strong – willed group lead by a strong sense of moral fibre. I solemnly swear that as a member – nay – comrade I will support them in their efforts to push back the effects of the climate change crisis, to protect renters rights, to champion our Trans sister, brothers and NB siblings. Most importantly I recognise that the Greens offer an alternative independence supporting party that simply goes further and dares to dream bigger.

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