After I got home, I soaked, slept a bit, ate lunch (probably still not fully digested the today), watched the latest episode of Outlander a second time, and then channel-surfed a bit. In my surfing, I stumbled across a speech on C-SPAN 2, catching it 20 minutes in, that stirred up no small amount of hope for humanity in me.
The speaker was Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of the Scottish Parliament, leader of the Scottish National Party. It was more than a tad serendipitous that I found this speech after spending an hour with Claire, Jamie, Bree, Roger, and Claire's officemate Dr. Joe Abernathy. In Sturgeon's address to the SNP's annual conference (about 51 minutes), there was just enough of the flavor of Geillis Duncan/Gillian Edgars's "We are Bonnie Prince Charlie!" speech from Outlander episode 2.13 to elicit some knowing giggles.
One reason the Green Party isn't big in Scotland is that the SNP already embodies Green values. And SNP very nearly has a majority in the Scottish Parliament. First Minister Sturgeon's speech brought me to cheers & tears on several accounts, but mostly because she enumerates how the Scots are turning the Green vision into policy. Whether all her party-line talk about independence from the UK, post-Brexit, is just so much smoke, I don't presume to know.
I daresay that if Jill Stein were as polished as Sturgeon, the Greens would be more of a force in the US. Too many American voters who profess & embody Green values feel trapped into voting for a party that does not.
Perhaps it's my illness that's impairing my Google-fu, but I'm having trouble finding any substantive policy distinctions between SNP and the Scottish Greens or the Greens Party of England and Wales. On major issues, their positions align: in favor of staying in the EU, renewable energy, income equality, tuition-free university education, and Scottish independence (or increased self-determination), and keeping essential services like national health in public hands, just for starters.
All that aside, I did find myself inspired, and even more determined to visit Scotland as soon as I can—even if Sturgeon depicts the place as a land blessed with natural beauty but overrun with tourists. I want to see, in person, a country whose government is implementing the Green Vision.
Sturgeon and her party are using their government role, taking advantage of the relative prosperity of the UK as a whole, to bring about pro-human and pro-environment policies in Scotland. If the program works out to the benefit of the population as a whole, it could serve as a model for other nations. Of course, those nations would need to have measures in place to limit corporate influence, so I don't envision the US jumping on that particular bandwagon any time soon. Eventually, but not soon.
Largely absent from Sturgeon's address, though not entirely missing, was any explanation of how the government's ambitious program would be funded. She threw around a lot of big numbers—and we're talking British pounds, not dollars or euros. The standard objection in the corporate-influenced US would be, Who's gonna pay for all that?
The nearly 50% of Scottish voters who cast ballots for SNP and the Greens in last year's election don't seem to have such quibbles. They know that their nation has a tax structure that makes such expenditures possible, and a political system that ensures accountability to the people at large rather than corporate interests.