Harvie against ‘unilateral’ move for independence

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Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie at the party conference in Inverness

By Democrat reporter

Dumbarton Academy educated Patrick Harvie has ruled out supporting any move for Scotland to unilaterally declare independence.

Speaking at the Scottish Green Party conference in Inverness, the party’s co-leader said independence was “a decision for the Scottish people”.

His comments come after some in the SNP suggested winning a majority of Scottish seats in a UK general election would be enough.

Mr Harvie said he believed there was a mandate for a second referendum.

Mr Harvie told the conference: “I think Scotland’s future is as an independent country, part of the European family of nations.

“I think that’s coming, maybe sooner than some of our critics want it.

“The fundamental thing about that, though, is that’s a decision for the people of Scotland to make, on their time-scale.

“Independence can, and only will, be delivered in a democratic manner, that’s the kind of Scotland I want to live in.”

‘Already a mandate’

Mr Harvie added that he would not want to live in a country that “forced” independence on people.

“It has to be a choice, it has to be, and I think will be, a democratic choice that the people of Scotland decide to make.

“They’ll do it on their terms, not anyone else’s.”

Mr Harvie said there was already a mandate to hold a second independence referendum and the refusal of the UK government to grant one could result in an even bigger majority of pro-independence parties returning to Holyrood in 2021.

“If the UK government refuses it, I think the people of Scotland will deliver another parliament that re-asserts that mandate and woe betide any UK government that continues to refuse to respect that democratic will,” he said.

Also at the conference, the Scottish Greens unveiled their top two candidates standing in Scotland’s eight regions at the 2021 election.

All the party’s MSPs have been re-selected apart from John Finnie, who has announced his retirement.

Co-leader Patrick Harvie tops the Glasgow list, followed by Dennistoun councillor Kim Long, while Alison Johnstone and Andy Wightman are followed by co-leader Lorna Slater in the Lothian list.

Ross Greer in West Scotland is followed by Carolynn Scrimgeour, while Mid Scotland and Fife will see Mags Hall follow Mark Ruskell.

The Central region list is topped by Gillian Mackay followed by Rosemary McGowan and the South of Scotland list will have Laura Moodie and Barbra Harvie at the top.

Former co-convener Maggie Chapman tops the list for the North East, followed by Guy Ingerson.

The party is concerned at the lack of short-term measures to significantly cut Scotland’s carbon footprint and will say this is why more Green MSPs are needed to push for a Scottish Green New Deal.

Co-leader Lorna Slater told the conference: “It takes courage to stand up and say things are going to change. We need to do politics and power differently.

“We need to expect courage from our leaders… the Scottish Green New deal is the foundation for fundamental changes in where power and decision-making lie in Scotland and it describes the positive future for Scotland that we’d like to see for our kids and grandkids.”

She added: “The Holyrood campaign starts here, today. I’m so proud of our candidates. We really can get a bigger Green group elected than ever before.”

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