With my party hat on, and some party poppers too, I’ve been publicising the first group of Green Holyrood candidates. Here they are, and I’m afraid I will enthuse about them all. I do mean it, though:

Lothians. Robin’s replacement at the top of the Lothians list is a big deal for Greens. It’s the first Parliamentary seat any Green ever won in the UK, and Councillor Alison Johnstone will take on the scarf of responsibility. I’ve known Alison since she first started working for Robin right back at the beginning of devolution, and she’s smart, determined, kind and, above all, normal (unusual across politics, that last one).

We’ve won two here before, so I should also mention her Councillor colleague Steve Burgess second on the list. He’s your classic Green candidate. Scientific background, plays the fiddle, served on Rainbow Warrior II.

Mid Scotland and Fife. Mark Ruskell will be top here again, having served as the region’s Green MSP from 2003-2007. Another comrade from the epic 1999 Green campaign, he proved a natural Parliamentarian from the off, with an eye both for the detail and the big picture. Trivia fact: he was the year below me at school, although we didn’t properly meet until that first Holyrood campaign.

Highlands and Islands. Eleanor Scott has also been reselected top, another of our Magnificent Seven MSPs from last session. Eleanor made the health brief her own in the last session, having specialised in paediatrics, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t warm to her immediately. She is also the party’s national co-convenor alongside Patrick, ruling the party with an iron rod. It feels wrong being in Parliament without her.

North-east. Councillor Martin Ford is a new entrant at number one here, and deserves a little more introduction. Martin made his name internationally as the man who stood up to Donald Trump over Menie. Mr Trump’s alleged billions met Martin’s definite principles and lost before skullduggery and machinations by his former Lib Dem colleagues came into play. I’ve worked with Martin since he joined the Greens last year, and he will be an excellent candidate and an excellent MSP too. Made out of pure integrity, he also knows how the media works, and is one of the shrewdest political campaigners I’ve ever met.

Central. Kirsten Robb is top for us here again, which wasn’t a massive surprise given her hard work and strong media presence. She’s another proper community activist, a fairtrade campaigner, and also has great media sense. Her local, the EK News, had a page lead of her with her new baby not that long ago. Not bad before she’d even been reselected. Determined, passionate on the issues, and would be a real asset to Holyrood.

Glasgow. A young man you may have heard of got himself reselected: Patrick Harvie. Please bear in mind he pays me to represent him, but if I could afford it, I’d do it for nothing. There can’t be many people who encourage the boss to kip on their sofa when he’s through, but I do like those nights set the world to rights.

Over the eight years he’s been at Holyrood Patrick’s become widely accepted as one of the Chamber’s true stars, as well as a natural in the Newsnight hotseat. We normally agree, and when we don’t it’s normally because he’s right. If it wasn’t against party policy, I’d clone him a couple of times. All three would have pretty busy diaries.

We’re still selecting, by the way, and West and South will follow.

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