‘Green Yes’ campaign for Scottish independence also proposes state-owned renewable energy, land tax, and cheaper childcare
The Scottish Green party is to press for a cap on North Sea oil drilling, a citizen’s wage and a new tax system that targets high earners and big landowners if Scotland votes for an independent Scotland.
The party, the second-largest party in the official pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland, said it believed that a yes vote in next year’s referendum could allow the country to introduce radical reforms of the economy, public services and the tax system.
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ co-convenor and senior member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) at Holyrood, said: “Greens are not nationalists; greens are brought together by a different agenda, by a recognition of the astonishing, unprecedented challenges, not just as a country but as a species, we are facing in the 21st century.”
The party’s Green Yes campaign has been launched 12 days before the Scottish National party (SNP) government in Edinburgh unveils its white paper on independence; a hefty document that will set out Scottish government proposals on key issues such as welfare, taxation, defence, the currency and energy.
Harvie sought to downplay the white paper’s significance, insisting that a yes vote would not give the SNP the mandate to introduce all those policies before an independent Scotland is established in April 2016.
He added: “Greens will work hard for a yes vote, but Greens know we have an even harder job to do and we have to work even harder after a yes vote in order to maintain the momentum for the political changes required in Scotland.”
He said the white paper was simply the SNP’s manifesto and should not lock the Scottish parliament into introducing all its policies if there was a yes vote; insisting that the SNP would then need to win the 2016 Scottish elections before enacting it.
That position lead to further accusations of confusion from the yes campaign’s opponents, since the Scottish government wants to begin substantive and binding negotiations with the UK government on establishing an independent state within days of a yes vote.
While the Scottish Greens want a new independent currency for Scotland, those talks would decide whether Scotland and the UK would form a sterling currency union, which in turn would give the Bank of England control over Scotland’s monetary policy and influence over its tax, borrowing and spending policies.
It is expected there would be further legal agreements on pan-UK energy policy, shared welfare and pensions arrangements, deals on financial services and banking, and a defence policy that would include joining Nato – a policy which the Scottish Greens reject.
But Harvie and other senior figures in the Scottish Greens said a yes vote would give Scotland the freedom to introduce far more radical policies, and allow the first independent parliament to decide whether Salmond’s plans for a 3p cut in corporation tax would be accepted.
The independence white paper is expected to agree that alternative policies are possible after future Scottish elections. The Scottish …read more