SCOTLAND could be damaged if the country fails to move on from the “dividing line” created by the independence referendum, Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie has warned.
Harvie said there was still a “window of opportunity” to change the nation, but warned this would be harder to achieve as he cautioned it could be “damaging for Scotland” if people were to “obsessively focus” on the referendum result.
Harvie said: “There are many people who are still very proud of being part of the 45 per cent who voted Yes. And there are some who are finding it difficult to accept it wasn’t a win.
“But I think it’s important to say that this dividing line between the 45 per cent and the 55 per cent is one that we are going to have to move beyond. That dividing line is one that isn’t relevant for us as individuals any more and it isn’t helpful for the party and I think it would be damaging for Scotland as well to obsessively focus on that dividing line for the future.”
While he accepted the referendum had resulted in a No vote, he stressed that “even so, the window of opportunity for change is still open and we need to keep pushing it open”.
The Glasgow MSP added the vote against independence meant “we might need to work harder to give it the fullest expression”, but he added: “That possibility is still there and a party like ours has got the ideas and the creativity to help make that happen.”
He spoke out as he addressed that largest ever Scottish Green Party conference in Edinburgh, after the party saw its membership more than treble to 6,300 in the aftermath of the referendum.
Harvie told activists the party was full of “new energy, enthusiasm and talent”. Speaking about the party’s massive growth, he said: “If you were a member of the Green Party a month ago, you are the old guard now.”
Harvie also warned if the three main Westminster parties failed to live up to their pre-referendum vow, to transfer substantial new powers to Holyrood, they would be betraying the people of Scotland.
Harvie spoke about the “incredible compelling engagement” during the referendum but said if that was “followed by a traditional political party stitch-up, we will have betrayed the trust of the whole electorate”.
He added that on economic powers, the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats “seem at the moment to be rolling back their positions” and were “forgetting the much more radical forms of devolution that were promised in the closing stages of the referendum”.