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Scottish independence: Harvie ‘radical vision’ claim

'People do want change,' says Greens'  leader Patrick Harvie. Picture: PA

'People do want change,' says Greens' leader Patrick Harvie. Picture: PA

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

SCOTTISH Green Party leader Patrick Harvie will today claim that only a “radical vision” of independence will deliver a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

Mr Harvie will use his speech to the Scottish Green Party conference to warn that undecided voters will not be won over to independence by “flags, bribes or fearmongering”.

The MSP’s speech to party members in Inverness will be widely seen as an attack on the SNP’s softening of its stance on independence over issues such as the party leadership’s backing for membership of Nato.

Mr Harvie talks about groups of undecided “canny” voters who he claims could swing the referendum in favour of a Yes vote if they are convinced independence would be a more socially just society.

He argues for a more equal distribution of wealth under independence as he attempts to distance the Greens – the second biggest party in the Yes Scotland campaign – from the SNP.

The SNP leadership has backed cuts to corporation tax in an independent Scotland as part of what is widely viewed as a pro-business agenda.

However, Mr Harvie suggests that undecided voters will not be convinced by the SNP’s platform on independence or a “Scottish version of the political status quo” ahead of the referendum on 18 September 2014.

The Glasgow MSP will instead claim that the pro-independence campaign needs to promote a “radical step” about the future direction of Scotland to win over undecided voters.

Mr Harvie insists that an ambitious plan to tackle climate change and a reformed economy should be part of the vision for independence.

He will say: “Canny voters won’t be persuaded by flags, bribes or fearmongering but I believe they will respond to a radical vision for a better Scotland and the Scottish Greens are crucial to outlining that vision.”

He argues that there is overwhelming support for a plan to tackle inequality under independence among voters.

Mr Harvie will say: “Over the last year, since the Greens overwhelmingly voted to join the Yes Scotland campaign, I’ve spoken at many debates and public meetings about independence.

“Some have attracted only committed supporters and opponents of independence, and it’s clear that each side can simply wave a Saltire or a Union flag and get its backers cheering

“Whenever I’ve debated the issue with an undecided audience it’s been clear that people do want change. People see the failings in our political culture, the inequality in our economy and the problems in our society, and they want to know that independence wouldn’t result in Scotland just repeating the same mistakes Westminster has been making for so many years.”

However, SNP MSP John Wilson insisted that some members of his party were committed to radical economic policies under independence.

He said: “I agree with Patrick Harvie that we have to give a vision to the people of Scotland that shows what a progressive country can do.

“There are members within the SNP who are able to articulate that message.”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay highlighted the work of The Red Paper Collective in pushing for radical policies for Scotland within the UK.

He said: “I welcome Patrick Harvey’s rejection of the SNP’s neo-liberal vision for an independent Scotland.

“The Red Paper Collective believe the creation of a fairer Scotland will be made more difficult through independence leaving working people even more vulnerable to market forces.

“I would encourage the Green party to look at the Red Paper 2014 and our vision for a fairer, progressive Scotland and fairer, more progressive UK.”

Read more on Scottish independence here

 

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