A very warm Weegie welcome to you all from Glasgow, the largest (and best) city in Scotland! We hope you enjoy your stay here and get a chance to see what our city has to offer, including our fantastic museums, galleries and nightlife! Glasgow translates from gaelic as the 'Dear Green Place', which seems quite apt for this conference, but it may have more to do with our numerous (over 90!) parks and greenspaces.
Politics has always been a major part of Glasgow life, and its political history has been defined by the Red Clydeside era in the early 19th century. The period was characterised by protests, strikes and movements in a response to the political landscapes of the time.
There was Anti-war activism in response to World War I which lead to leaders of the movement being arrested for their activities. Massive rent strikes took place due to housing speculation and low levels of house building from landlords and this eventually lead to much stronger legal protection for tenants.
But probably the most defining moment during the Red Clydeside era was the 'Battle of George Square'. In 1919 unions wanted to reduce the working week from 54 hours to 40 hours. There were widespread strikes, and it culminated in riots in the central square in Glasgow, George Square. Winston Churchill, fearful of a Bolshevik uprising sent in soldiers and tanks to prevent the violence escalating. The workers eventually returned to work with the legal prommise of a 47 hours working week.
The tradition of political activism within the city continues to this day, and one of the examples is the Refuweegee campaign. As you will know, the movement of refugees into Europe has has been unprecedented in recent years, and the majority of people in Glasgow and Scotland find it deeply frustrating that due to the UK parliament's policies we are unable to help more refugees begin to start new lives in our city. The Refuweegee campaign was set up to help support and welcome the refugees who have come here. On their website they have a simple message - We're all fae somewhere (we're all from somewhere).
Glasgow still faces many challenges in the 21st century and people in the city have started to recognise that the Scottish Green Party and the wider Green Party movement do have the ideas and the political drive to really make a difference to people's live in the city. Since the Scottish Independence referendum, our membership numbers have quadrupled, and in the upcoming local elections we hope to more than double our representation on the Glasgow City Council.
It may be pure baltic in the winter here in Glasgow, but we hope you have a fantastic time - Gaun Yersel! (just ask any Glaswegian for a translation...)
The Glasgow Green Party