Yesterday I took the littlest one on a trip to the Botanic Gardens in St. Andrews, our nearest town. It was another delightfully warm and sunny day and we spent several hours there. Everything was lush and blooming.
They have gone out of their way there to make it a fun experience for children. We took a path through the gardens called the ‘Gruffalo Trail’ – with models and activities based on the kid’s book.
Not all the animals were models. We saw this grey squirrel while we were having a picnic.
It was lovely to see all the plants they have growing there, both outside and in the hot-houses.
Meanwhile, at home, we too have lots growing – though our operations are not quite on the same scale, of course! Many of my squash, pumpkins and cucumbers have germinated and are sprouting in double quick time. The mixed salad is also now sprouting prolifically in the polytunnel and all the plants in there are growing more quickly since the weather has been so lovely over the last week or so.
Here in the UK, as you might have heard, we have our general election coming up. Campaigning has officially begun. As usual, obfuscation is rife and we are subject to all the usual pandering and political maneuvering. The politicians and the press tell us what we should believe, and I think it is our moral duty to think carefully about the issues that matter to us and make our voices heard, so please forgive this foray into politics.
I think it is particularly noticeable with issues such as the environment and sustainability that there is a huge rift between the great strides forward made by communities and individuals (even when it is made very difficult for them by politicians), and the ineffectual and wishy washy promises made by most of our political leaders that tend to amount to very little.
If you don’t live in Scotland you are probably not aware that the SNP have been the only UK party who can truly claim to have made great strides in the right direction when it comes to sustainability and the environment. I am not a party member and do not agree with everything they do, but I do feel that they are currently the only credible progressive and left wing party in UK politics. (The Green Party campaign on many issues that are important to me, but no one can say how realistic their policies really are as they have not been proven as a party in power.) For me, politics is about progression, forward-thinking policy making and above all fairness.
I will vote for whichever party I feel can best offer me that and as far as I can see the SNP are the only party who can show a history of consistently passing fair and progressive legislation. The SNP have initiated 39 new renewable policies since they came to power. Almost a third of Scotland’s power now comes from renewables and that will be 80%, we are told, by 2020. Investing in green energy is making Scotland a global leader in the field, in particular in marine renewables. The carbon footprint of the rail network has also been reduced. The SNP aid communities and will continue to enact policies to see more rural, carbon neutral settlements thrive over the years to come. They also understand the vital importance of making sure that the land of Scotland works to the benefit and enjoyment of all, not just the privileged few.
The total lack of fairness, morals and, in my opinion, judgment shown by the current Westminster Government coalition of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats is in dramatic contrast to policies being enacted north of the border (within the frustrating limitations of their power). English voters – please do not subject us to another four years of Tory austerity, so the rich can get richer and everyone and everything else can go hang! Please vote with your conscience and vote for fairness. I think our best hope is for another coalition – this time one of progressive parties who see the importance of sustainability and have a track record of moving closer to that goal. Do I agree with everything Ed Miliband has to say? No. But since we are still saddled with Westminster, he is far, far better than the alternative.