TUESDAY told a story of two governments with two very different sets of priorities.

Here in Scotland, the First Minister and my Green colleague Patrick Harvie presented our bold and ambitious plan to deliver an independence referendum and secure a progressive future for Scotland. It was a hopeful vision of a modern, democratic European nation that works for all of us and plays a positive role in the world.

At the same time as we were launching the positive campaign for independence, and the first of several policy papers that will show how we get there, the UK Government was doing something very different. It was engaged in a shameful court battle so that it could charter a flight of refugees to Rwanda without so much as a hearing. It was a cruel and authoritarian move that had already been condemned by lawyers, human rights campaigners and the United Nations. The people being threatened with deportation were only given two weeks’ notice and told they could not appeal.

This immoral and illegal flight was only stopped by a last-minute intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

There could be no clearer sign of how far our values diverge from those of Boris Johnson and his colleagues. While we were trying to open Scotland to the world, they were pulling out all the stops to deport vulnerable people. Any government that would even try to criminalise people who have fled persecution and would send them thousands of miles away to be “processed” is not one that I want to have any power over Scotland. The drive for a referendum comes at a crucial time for our country and our planet.

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Millions of people are struggling because of cuts, austerity and a cost of living crisis that has been exacerbated by decisions made in Downing Street. Every day I am contacted by people who are suffering. A lot of them feel abandoned and do not know how they are going to cope as the crisis worsens. Many have been hit by fuel poverty and the callous cuts to Universal Credit and other benefit payments. The Tories know the impact that their policies are having, but they simply don’t care.

They have shown the same disregard for our environment. Even as the world burns, they are approving plans for new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. They are combining this with a so-called windfall tax on energy companies which is nothing more than a tax break for polluters.

Independence is not just about mitigating the disastrous choices of Boris Johnson and his terrible government; it is about democracy and giving us the levers of change and the powers to take a different path and ensure that the decisions impacting Scotland are made here in Scotland. It would allow us to make different and better political choices. It would give us the power to restructure our economy and use our vast renewable potential to work with our European neighbours to secure a net-zero future.

With Greens in government, we are using the powers we have to take climate action and do everything we can to tackle the cost of living crisis. In the last nine months alone, we have doubled the Scottish Child Payment, introduced free bus travel for everyone under 22 and secured record funding for wildlife, nature, recycling and green travel. These have helped to empower people and provide some relief from the damage being done by Downing Street.

With the full powers of independence, we can do even more to deliver the radical and transformative change that we so badly need.

Scotland has 25% of Europe’s total offshore renewable energy potential. If we are to do our part to avert the climate catastrophe, then we need to realise that potential and ensure a fair and just transition for our communities. But we cannot go the full way when we have one hand tied behind our back.

As things stand, we don’t have the power to upgrade our own electricity grid or to connect our vast renewable resources to our neighbours in continental Europe so we can sell our excess zero-carbon energy. Similarly, we don’t have the power to change VAT to make it cheaper to upgrade our homes and install heat pumps, or even the freedom to invest the public money that is needed into the infrastructure and industries of the future.

Before I was elected to Parliament, I was an engineer working on the Orbital turbine. During that time, I worked with people across Edinburgh, Dundee, Fife and Orkney. It was a great feat of engineering and a tribute to the skills that we have here in Scotland. Just imagine the impact if we could make 10 of them, or 100. It could be part of a green industrial strategy that could create thousands of jobs in our factories and shipyards. Scotland’s industry would boom, and our planet would be the beneficiary.

We have the skills and technology to do things differently. But we cannot make it happen as long as we are tied to a Westminster government that is more concerned with enriching its donors than it is with tackling the climate crisis.

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I was one of many people who was inspired by the 2014 referendum. It brought thousands of us together to explore our ideas and to debate and discuss the future that we wanted for Scotland. No person and no party owns independence. At heart, it is a question of democracy and ensuring that we all have a voice in building the country that we want to be.

That is why my colleagues and I will always take the time to sincerely listen and engage with people who are unsure or are yet to be convinced by the case for independence. They are our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues, and will continue to be whatever happens. Our movement will be an inclusive one that responds to their concerns.

We know that independence will not make everything perfect. It is not an end in itself; rather it would be a new beginning. It would not solve all of Scotland’s problems.

But it would be a vital step on our journey towards a fairer, greener and better future.