Scottish independence: Greens go their own way

Patrick Harvie MSP is among the party personalities launching the campaign later. Picture: Robert Perry
Patrick Harvie MSP is among the party personalities launching the campaign later. Picture: Robert Perry
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The Scottish Greens set out their “very different” approach to Scotland’s future as the party launched its own independence campaign today.

The Greens are key partners with the SNP in the official Yes Scotland campaign. But today’s launch called for a separate Scottish currency as a “Plan B” to keeping the pound, with proposals to block North Sea oil and gas extraction and ditch the Queen among the policies which separate them from the SNP.

People should be given a “citizens income”, guaranteeing a wage for everyone regardless of what they do. Although no figure is contained in the document, it could be as much as £15,000.

Party leader Patrick Harvie launched the independence campaign along with fellow Green MSP Alison Johnstone and Edinburgh councillor Maggie Chapman. Folk singer Karine Polwart also took part.

A policy document to accompany the launch states that the SNP government’s forthcoming white paper on independence will be the “starting point” for the transition after a Yes vote.

But it warns: “They (the SNP) must recognise that as yet they have no mandate for their policies in reserved areas. From Nato membership to the level of corporation tax, they should not lock Scotland into their preferred policies.” Only victory in the first elections after independence in 2016 will allow them to do this.

Ms Johnstone warned: “We have a very different mindset to the SNP.”

The SNP’s proposed plans to keep the pound as part of a sterling “currency union” with the remaining UK after independence could provide a short-term solution for Scotland, the Greens say.

But in the longer term, a separate Scottish currency is needed to secure true independence from the Bank of England and London – and this should also be the Plan B if the short-term currency union plans break down.

And despite oil and gas revenues being worth more than £6 billion in tax receipts to the economy and pivotal to the economic success of Scotland after independence, the party wants to curb further extraction because of the greenhouse gases they emit which result in global warming.

“We need to leave a great deal of oil and gas in the ground,” the document adds. Any fresh deep water drilling in the North Sea and “fracking” for shale gas is also ruled out.

Mr Harvie insisted he does not see himself as a nationalist, but believes an independent Scotland is the best way to achieve his wider environmental aims.

“In many ways I believe independence would give us the chance to offer leadership,” he said.

“I know folk down south who are working for the same kind of radical change that we are here. When you talk about independence, they say ‘why wouldn’t you?’.”

A spokesman for the official pro-UK Better Together campaign said it showed that the Yes coalition is “falling apart”, while Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw branded the plans a “crackpot charter”.


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• The Scotsman Conferences is holding ‘The Independence White Paper: A business plan for Scotland?’ on 3 Dec. Expert speakers will offer objective analysis on the forthcoming white paper in six key business areas. The full agenda featuring keynote speaker John Swinney MSP has just been published. For more details on this conference and other great events please visit