TWO years ago, on the eve of the Scottish Greens’ conference, a daily newspaper ran the headline “smacking and fracking prove our influence, boast Greens”.

Yesterday proved that the claim was no boast. Changing the law around the physical punishment of children is something the Scottish Parliament has been talking about since before I sat in it, but it has taken the hard work and dedication of my colleague John Finnie to get us to the point where Scotland has shown progressive leadership on this issue. For all those years when Scotland dithered, many other countries took action to recognise the growing evidence about the long-term harm violence can cause children.

I am incredibly proud that the new law is a Green one. Yesterday also saw the Scottish Government at last make its “final decision” on fracking. A commitment to rule out fracking permanently is something we have demanded since we first debated it in 2012 and we have continued to put pressure on the Scottish Government on this, including during the recent Climate Bill process.

The maximum extraction of oil and gas is incompatible with the science that tells us we have only 10 years before global warming becomes irreversible.

The other parties still haven’t accepted that the same compelling logic applies to offshore extraction of fossil fuel too, but this step shows that momentum is with us in the transition to the post oil era. I think of those people who voted Green in 2016 and gave us this platform to lead progressive change in Scotland, and I hope they can share some of the pride we feel about these achievements.

But it’s not just limited to “smacking and fracking”. The Scottish Greens have more influence in Scottish politics than ever before. Scottish Parliament figures show that the long-term decline in council funding was reversed when the Greens gained influence in the Scottish budget.

The more progressive five-band income tax system that raised the extra funds was almost exactly what we had proposed in the 2016 election, and we made it a reality as part of our budget agreement in 2018.

I still believe Holyrood can and must be bolder. Although the Greens have reversed the downward trend, the whole system of local government funding is in desperate need of change.

We secured a commitment from the Scottish Government to publish legislation to reform the unfair council tax, and we’re in talks to ensure they deliver on that.

We’ve seen how our ideas to broaden the local tax base have been taken up by the Government, first in the form of a “Tourism Tax”, and next week in the Transport Bill which empowers councils to introduce local levies on employers’ car parks.

Sadly that proposal has been caught up in the protests of vested interests, but councillors in the other parties support these ideas, even if some of their MSP colleagues at Holyrood are reacting with opportunistic outrage.

If we want high quality schools, social care, local environments and community facilities, we need a fairer way of funding them, and we need to take what should be local decisions out of ministers’ control and put the power back where it belongs at local level.

The most urgent need for bolder government is of course on the climate emergency. Ministers were miffed when we refused to rubber stamp their consensus for long term targets, despite all the evidence showing we need action now to deal with this crisis. I was part of a consensus with the first Climate Change Act 10 years ago, and quite simply it didn’t achieve what it should have. I don’t see value in being part of an empty consensus when what’s needed is a challenge to business as usual.

The Government’s determination to keep protecting the lethal fossil fuel industry and insisting we can reach net zero through technology that hasn’t been invented yet ignores the timescale we have.

The ideology of growth-above-all continues to pursue industries that are destroying our life support system while leaving the workforce as an afterthought.

Like our young people, those workers need a new agenda, a bold Scottish Parliament, and Green ideas in government. We should be listening to Greta Thunberg and other young climate strikers in Scotland who are fighting for their future.

As the Greens meet for our party conference next week we’ll be discussing in detail our Scottish Green New Deal, ambitious proposals to respond to the climate emergency with the technology and powers we have now, and with a renewed and rebuilt public sector.

This means making everyone’s homes warm, integrating our public transport network and creating thousands of quality, unionised jobs in sustainable industries.

I can’t predict what the headlines will be this time, but I’m confident that we are still leading the change.