Patrick Harvie: An indy Scotland can “rekindle belief” in international progress

Nathanael Williams

Independent Scotland can be example of progressive international action says Scottish Green party co-convenor

AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND can convince people that change in the world can be “for the better”, according to Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens.

Harvie’s comments come as supporters of independence get ready to gather at the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) on Saturday 14 January, where Harvie will be a major speaker.

Ahead of the convention Harvie stated that after a year which has seen the election of US President elect Donald Trump, assertive international action by Russian President Vladimir Putin and  the rise of radical nationalists it was vital for Scotland to be an example of progressive domestic and international reform.

“We can rekindle the belief in the ability to change the world for the better.” Patrick Harvie

The MSP for Glasgow told CommonSpace: “It’s hard to look around at the way things have turned out and not feel insecurity. But we mustn’t forget that it was the political mainstream which brought us to this situation and the political mainstream which gave us an economy that doesn’t represent us.

“Let us never forget that there is so much we can do to shift the tide away from fear. We can rekindle the belief in the ability to change the world for the better.

Harvie pointed to the importance of being able to implement progressive measures in Scotland before as well as after independence, given that populists such as Trump, and French Front Nationale leader Marine Le Pen have risen up on a wave of disillusionment and inequality.

“Look at Austria, where a Green candidate defeated a fascist. That’s what happens when you give people a progressive choice and set of policies”, he added.

The Scottish Greens have gone on the offensive in recent months, urging the Scottish Government to use their newly devolved powers to institute a more “progressive tax system” in Scotland. Harvie rejected the idea that people would be more averse to independence, as a source of risk, in a world seemingly more unstable.

He said: “That idea of risk is rooted in a fear that’s been nurtured. We show through a strength of ideas how politics can empower through better democracy, stable sustainable jobs and ethical foreign policy.

“They knew – the forces like Trump – they knew how to tap into disillusionment and it is a source of deep shame we could not tap into that sense of frustration”, he added.

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“For example for 35 years, corporation tax in the UK has been on a steady decline. This isn’t just a domestic issue. Much of the international unrest comes from the inequalities within and between nations. Through independence – that’s as good a reason to fight for a better world.”

The Scottish Parliament’s Conservative opposition has resisted calls for higher tax rates. In December last year, when Scottish finance secretary Derek Mackay announced the budget at Holyrood he was described as having made Scotland “the most taxed part of the UK” by Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson Murdo Fraser.

Advocates of the government’s position point to the fact that those earning above £40,000 in Scotland are set to pay more than their counterparts in England.

The Green co-convener also spoke in favour of a plan to have any future Scottish defence forces serve in peacekeeping roles around the world and firmly rejected the position of joining Nato as tantamount to accepting “nuclear deterrence on one’s behalf”.

Picture courtesy of FYFE

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