Welcome to the Green revolution

“We still have just 12 short years in which to avert a devastating, irreparable climate catastrophe.” Following his election to the European Parliament, new Green MEP for London Scott Ainslie outlines his priorities for the next five years.

Scott Ainslie is the Green Party's new MEP for London
Scott Ainslie is the Green Party's new MEP for London

Scott Ainslie (left) with Green Party MEP candidates for London Gulnar Hasnain (centre) and Shahrar Ali (right).

Scott Ainslie

Over the past two decades, as London’s Green MEP, Jean Lambert has changed our capital city, Europe, and the world we live in for the better. I’m absolutely delighted that Londoners have placed their trust in me to pick up the baton for the coming five years.

As one of five Greens on Lambeth Council, we’re working hard to save homes, libraries, green spaces and crucial local services in our patch of South London. I’m now looking forward to teaming up with dozens of inspirational Greens from across Europe, sharing ideas and best practices so we can make progressive changes on a much, much bigger scale!

I hope to focus my work in the European Parliament on two huge issues. First and foremost, stopping Brexit ripping our country apart at the seams. It’s my duty, as a representative of the most Remain-voting region of the UK, to stand up to the Brexit bullies who seek to divide us – loudly and clearly making a positive case for EU membership.

This isn’t just because remaining in the EU is unequivocally the best thing for the UK, and all of its residents. It’s also because our country has other crucial business to be getting on with.

It’s clear to anyone living in Britain today that average wages have stalled, destitution is on the rise, food banks are needed more than ever and our precious NHS continues to crumble due to a critical lack of funding and resources. We’ve seen huge school climate strikes and the Extinction Rebellion protests bring the city to its knees.

The government is failing us. And its shortcomings are being exploited by far-right extremists to boost their nationalist cause and for their own personal gain. Terrifyingly, they seem to be getting away with it.

It’s high time we reassess the UK’s political priorities.

If we hope to heal the divisions within our country and our communities, it’s essential that we – as the next generation of UK MEPs – communicate better with our constituents.

On the campaign trail, I learned that many people sense there’s an invisible hand working for positive change on their behalf. However, they don’t understand exactly what it is. In order to remedy this, MEPs must get better at stepping into the spotlight and explaining how they work.

I want everyone in the UK to understand what an MEP is, what MEPs do, and how the European Parliament works for them.

We need to shout louder that – regardless of the current Brexit mess – UK citizens are still EU citizens, and our rights are protected according to EU law.

The EU is working for us, not against us.

We are seeing people joining our party at the rate of one every 100 seconds as our message of ‘yes to Europe, no to climate chaos’ is getting out there, but sadly the mainstream media is interested in the ‘drama’ and the Brexit ‘villains.’ The Remain side has to get organised, creative and out there, and we’ve got the team in place to do it.

My other top priority is to confront our planet’s climate emergency. As the sharp rise in climate activism has shown us, for many of us the need to take action is written into our DNA. I wake up every morning driven to make the Earth a cleaner, healthier, safer and more sustainable home. Every evening, it’s shattering to feel that another day has gone by without humanity making real progress to address our precious planet’s gradual decline.

That’s why I am committed to starting a Green revolution – one which starts with the implementation of a Green New Deal for Europe.

Over the past five years, Green MEPs have forced the EU to clean up its act. Thanks to the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, the EU has now committed to ensuring that one third of all its energy comes from renewable sources by 2030. Our MEPs have also been the driving force behind the EU ban on plastic straws, plates and cups (which Michael Gove is now, unashamedly, trying to piggy-back on).

But, despite this progress, we still have just 12 short years in which to avert a devastating, irreparable climate catastrophe. I cannot wait to join the Green revolution in Brussels, and start campaigning for a brighter future for people and planet.