MAGGIE Chapman will tell delegates the Scottish Greens are leading the way on progressive change in politics north of the Border when she addresses her party’s spring conference today.

Speaking in Greenock this morning she is expected to underline the Budget deal the Greens negotiated with the minority Scottish Government last month which gave an extra £170 million to local councils as well as a pay rise for a larger number of public sector workers and extra spending on low-carbon infrastructure.

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Chapman’s fellow party co-convener Patrick Harvie, MSP Ross Greer and Green politicians from London, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic will also give addresses during the event which runs alongside the Scottish Greens’ Women’s Network conference.

“We gather at a time when things seems more unstable and unpredictable than they’ve been for a while. Throughout history, change has often seemed impossible. But once it comes, it seems like change was always inevitable,” Chapman is expected to say in her keynote speech.

“This year we celebrated 100 years of some women being allowed to vote for the first time in the UK. Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa. We need people who are committed to making the change we need to see in the world. We are the people leading the change.”

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She will add: “The world we are working towards is one of equality, social justice and non-violence. It is a world where radical participatory democracy is how we make decisions and it is one where the rape and exploitation of our environment, and the destruction of our climate, is not a function of the economy.

“On climate change and the environment, we’ve been right on this issue from long before anyone else cared. Most recently we led the opposition to fracking, building a social movement with and as ordinary people in communities, with and as grassroots organisers.

“These social movements are working against the old institutions. Greens have always been the radical voices. We still have so much more to do. We will continue to lead the change.”

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Around 150 members are expected to attend the event at Greenock’s Beacon Arts Centre, on the banks of the Clyde, where they will take part in workshops and discussions on issues such as housing, gender equality, farming, fox hunting, Brexit, climate change and local tax reform. Independence is expected to be discussed too.

It will be the first time the Scottish Greens have held a party conference in Greenock – a former Labour heartland. The location of the event is being regarded as symbolic as the party targets pro-independence Labour voters who may not want to switch to the SNP.

“There are a bunch of people that ourselves, SNP and Labour are fighting over essentially,” a senior insider told The National. “Our pitch is while Labour are in Holyrood in greater numbers than us, they are not getting anything done. We ... are stopping cuts to council budgets. The choice is do you want a party that thinks radical thoughts, but doesn’t get anything done, or a party, like us, that gets things done?”