Patrick Harvie: Scottish Greens targeting 2 seats in Glasgow
Harvie announced the party’s target for the 2021 Scottish election at a party conference that also saw activists urge their six MSPs to pressure the SNP government into reforming local tax.
The SNP has so far failed to deliver council tax reform despite being in power for more than a decade and several long-standing pledges to do so.
Speaking at the party’s autumn conference in Glasgow, Harvie indicated a change in Green election strategy, which in the past has seen election candidates focusing on Holyrood list seats rather than constituency seats.
Harvie said: “In Glasgow, we’re already getting geared up for 2021 and beyond. We’re working not just for one more regional MSP, but more; not just for regional MSPs but for our first ever constituency seat too; not just for more Greens, but for the chance to knock a Tory or two off the list as well. We’re also laying the groundwork for our best ever council election the year after, where more communities will benefit from the passion, commitment and inspiration of a Green councillor leading the change at local level.
“That can and must happen in every part of Scotland. Our members have the power to lead this change in your community, in branches and local campaigning – changing the world one doorstep at a time, learning as we go what our supporters expect of us, and inspiring them to join us and work with us for the Green vision of a just, peaceful, democratic and sustainable world.
“That means getting out there, into campaign mode; we’re no longer post-election, but pre-election once again as we look forward to electing more MSPs and councillors, but more than that – recognising also that we need to be there, whether there’s an election coming or not – active in communities, having conversations on the doorsteps, standing with those working for change.”
Party members also approved a motion calling for “meaningful progress” before MSPs enter into discussions over the 2019/20 budget, which is due to be published by SNP ministers on 12 December.
Members agreed that progress would include giving local councils the power to choose whether to introduce a visitor levy, devolving control over non-domestic (business) rates, a timescale for scrapping council tax and increasing the proportion of council funds that come from local sources.
Local government spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP said: “Everyone relies on local services, from schools and social care to leisure centres and libraries. These services employ 240,000 people but the staff and the public are suffering cuts and increased charges as SNP ministers keep a stranglehold on funding.”
Harvie and co-convener Maggie Chapman also signalled support for the People’s Vote in a bid to stop the UK leaving the EU.