There are only three weeks to polling day and options have widened. Have you ever considered voting for the Gardening Party?
This is not some posh soiree to which you might get invited to stand around in white high heels slowly aerating the lawn as you gorge on vol-aux-vents.
No, this is a real party with real policies opposing the status quo. But don’t bother looking for this party on the ballot paper. We have decided not to stand for any constituencies as were too busy in the garden.
This is a green covenant that rises above politics.
Our manifesto is a rich ossuary of horticultural significance and, if followed closely, will make the nation great once again.
It has at its heart a set of small effulgent principles which will raise the meekest to a high state of happiness and political satisfaction.
Policy 1: Amend the Allotments Act of 1925. Everyone who pays council tax should be given a plot to grow on, recreate, etc. This is in addition to the present law, specifically Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 in which local authorities have a duty to provide allotments where there is a demand.
So, dear voter, at present if you want an allotment all you have to do is ask the local authority and they are legally obliged to provide one. Our soon to be launched bus advert “Get three fancy coloured wheelie bins for your two grand a year and a free allotment” summarises it perfectly.
Policy 2: A local authority budget should be allocated for every council ward to employ a full time gardener for every 10,000 per head of population to work in their local community to make it a brighter and more garden-esque environment.
Policy 3: All food provided in schools should be sourced and grown locally and healthy nutritious menus provided. All schools should have a small holding to grow their own food and farm animals.
Policy 4: Horticultural research institutes in Scotland e.g. the Hutton Institute should have their funding increased to develop new crops and promote Scottish Horticulture.
We are world leaders in seed potato and top fruit. Fifty per cent of world raspberry crops were produced by scientists in Dundee and we are familiar with such potatoes as Lady Balfour, Anya, Vales Sovereign, Vales Emerald and Mayan Gold – all bred at the Hutton Institute.
Policy 5: All deer, rabbits and slugs will be prohibited from entering gardens.
Policy 6: Create a Secretary of State for Horticulture as in Ireland and Holland, and to end government inefficiency. Presently DEFRA deals with 35 different agencies and government bodies The current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. Our policy is to employ only qualified people for the top jobs who have an understanding of horticulture.
Policy 7: Approval for small scale whisky distillation and an increase in funding for the “Scottish Craft Distillers Association” a new body set up to develop spirits in Scotland. A whole new world exists out there: you only have to try gorse infused gin from Caithness and the hop gin made in St Andrews to see the connections between growing and distilling.
Policy 8: Free secateurs and lawn mower sharpening for the over 75’s
Policy 9: All garden machinery to carry colour authentication stickers. This will be known as the Orange Clause Act 2015, which we aim to introduce in the first week of Parliament. Our party believes the public deserve the right to differentiate between “cheap orange tools” and “quality orange tools”. Only quality orange tools can carry the “Certificate of Orangeness” marker. Tools of a substandard quality disguised by an orange colour must clearly state on the machinery the likelihood of blowing up or breaking down within the guarantee period.
Policy 10: All annoying weeds, insects and plants e.g. ground elder to be banned. And a ban on nasty horrible weather that gets on your nerves when you try to do anything in the garden.
GARDENERS – USE YOUR VOTE!
Jonathan MacDonald established The Riverside Garden Centre, Tullybannocher, Comrie, Perthshire, in 2011 on an old plant nursery site. It is superbly stocked with plants, shrubs and young trees for the Scottish garden. And he does not sell orange coloured tools.
Well worth a visit, and meanwhile, check in to www.scottishgardens.info.