From Stroud to Brussels to Glastonbury: Green MEP completes first year

Molly Scott Cato MEP and Green Party leader Nalaie Bennett with founder of Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis
Molly Scott Cato MEP and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett with founder of Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis

Green MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, ends her first year in office by hitting the stage at Glastonbury this weekend. The Stroud-based economist has just completed her first year as an MEP in Brussels and will join celebrity campaigner Charlotte Church, civil liberties activist Shami Chakrabati and veteran politician Ken Livingstone to talk politics at the festival’s ‘Left Field’ [1]. 

A little more than a year ago, Molly was a Green Party councillor; leader of the Green group on Stroud District Council and an economics professor at Roehampton University. Her election as the region’s first Green MEP followed what she described as, ‘a positive campaign, in which Greens were able to offer voters a viable alternative which truly represents their values.’

Dr Scott Cato promised constituents she would work to put people before profits. A year later she sits on the Economics Committee of the European Parliament and is a member of the Parliament’s special committee on tax, tasked with proposing measures to prevent tax dodging. In both roles she has been pushing for measures to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance and change rules on tax to ensure corporations pay their fair share. Molly has a 99% attendance record when it comes to voting in the Parliament. This is one of the highest records of any MEP, which reveals her enthusiasm for hard work and bringing about change.

She has been an outspoken critic of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal, describing it as a ‘corporate charter’. Greens have been at the forefront of the campaign against TTIP and this issue has seen the largest volume of correspondence from constituents in the last year. She is the only MEP in the South West who strongly opposes a new nuclear power station at Hinkley. She is currently supporting a legal challenge by the Austrian government who say the financial deal breaches EU rules on state aid. Molly has published two reports in the last year, one on renewable energy which concludes the South West can generate at least 100% of its energy from clean, green sources; the other on how the creation of ‘green money’ can be used to help a transition to a sustainable society.    

As an MEP, Molly finds many more opportunities to bring the Green message to people than she did a year ago. She regularly appears on radio, including two appearances on the BBC’s Any Questions show, and has made numerous TV appearances. She is also frequently invited to appear on panel discussions, with Glastonbury being the latest and perhaps highest profile debate so far.

Molly aims to use her time at Glastonbury to raise some of the issues that are important to her, as a politician, economist and Quaker. She will talk about the need to ‘challenge the forces of capitalism to save representative democracy’; and how we need to build a genuinely sustainable economy and society. Molly said:

“It has been an amazing year for me and I feel immensely privileged to be able to represent the people of the South West in Brussels. Our region has fantastic resources in our skilful people, our beautiful natural environments, our rich soils, and our fabulous potential for renewable energy.

“I am immensely grateful to have the opportunity to visit so many inspiring places and people when I come home. My visits have included exciting and innovative renewable energy projects such as Wave Hub in Cornwall and community owned renewable energy generation projects such as Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Solar Array. I have met many of the region’s small business and entrepreneurs. I learned much from hearing about the issues affecting small farmers at the Bath and West show and by meeting fishing communities in Devon and Cornwall. I have also met with conservationists, for example at Studland Bay in Dorset, who are campaigning for a Marine Conservation Zone.

“As someone who has spent most of my life in the South West, I will continue to do all I can in my role as MEP to work to enhance the economy, environment and society of the region we share.”  

[1] Molly is appearing in the debate: 2015 WTF!?! Trying to make sense of it all, Sunday 28th June, 1.30-2.30pm in Left Field, with Charlotte Church, Ken Livingstone, Pat Kane and Shami Chakrabarti to discuss the ‘calamitous change’ the next five years could bring. She will also be on the platform at the Green Futures field.