THE New York Times recently labelled this General Election “Britain’s Dirty Election” – and I’m afraid the name fits.

The article pointed to how dishonesty, hubris and money are now driving the UK’s crumbling democratic processes.

I spoke to the Scottish Greens (SGP) candidate for Edinburgh South this week about this. Kate Nevens worked in the Middle East throughout the Arab Spring and the ensuing backlash and we discussed how the corruption and nepotism evident in those Middle East regimes now has echoes in the circle jerk of privilege that we see surrounding Westminster politics.

I can understand why people in England and Wales are angry. When their options are either a Tory party kept in power by the distortions of the billionaire press, or a Labour party who aspires to power without any proposals for fundamentally reforming what is wrong with the UK, then perhaps it is no surprise that they voted for #Brexit. They identified it as the only vote they had that gave them the slightest chance of making a change, any change at all.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Unfortunately, that change has been for the worse. Boris Johnson has looked across the Atlantic and seen that reactionary language and downright lies are no obstruction to getting elected. Trump himself has waded in.

The Tories have posed as a fact-checking service to disguise their spin and have had adverts taken down from Facebook for distorting news footage.

Meanwhile, we have seen faked tweets and negative campaigning.

However, it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. The pessimism that this General Election has inflicted was massively alleviated by Green voices. There have been glimmers this week of how politics could be done differently.

Channel 4 held a debate on climate in which there was no hiding from the most pressing issue facing our existence. Johnson and the Brexit Party were too cowardly to appear and were represented by melting ice sculptures. I only wish they had been sculptures of the men themselves, melting in the heat of the studio lights. Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry held the leaders who did turn up to account.

We have also seen a cohort of Scottish Green women stand up and take their place on the Scottish political stage. Councillor Claire Miller, our candidate in Edinburgh East, launched the SGP manifesto alongside Patrick Harvie.

“Westminster is failing Scotland and failing our planet,” she said. How true.

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Our candidate in Dunfermline, Mags Hall, who is an expert in sustainable food and farming, went toe to toe with the stale establishment parties at the prestigious Scottish Power/WWF hustings and challenged them to change.

Our candidate in East Dunbartonshire, Carolynn Scrimgeour, who is an oncologist, gave her very first speech at a hustings. In just 45 seconds, Carolynn summed up perfectly why we are standing in this election. “The reason I’m standing here, out of my comfort zone, is that we are in a climate emergency and yet nothing is happening,” she said.

So, although we have been excluded from the leaders’ debates by broadcasters, I’ve changed my mind about this election. It has given the Scottish Greens the opportunity and platform to send a clear message to the other parties, to break through the stale and ugly point-scoring to demand climate action.

This election has allowed a whole cohort of passionate, knowledgeable Green women to get experience as candidates and to raise their profiles, so that the we will be in our best position ever to win more MSPs at Holyrood in 2021. This election has been an opportunity to showcase the expertise the Scottish Greens have within our party and that we already bring to parliaments and councils.

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We also bring that expertise and perspective to the debate on independence. On Friday, I spoke at the annual Business for Scotland Saltire Lunch. It was reassuring to hear that the business community that supports an independent Scotland also supports a Scotland that does things differently.

Despite what the SNP Growth Commission says, surely no-one wants to become independent only to continue the same cruel and incompetent economic models.

Whatever the result of this dirty election, it is very clear that Westminster will continue to decay as long as the old Etonians and the old parties are in charge. Scotland must look ahead to something different, building a new country with passionate, diverse and young voices leading the way.