Greens call for fairer society in independent Scotland


   By a Newsnet reporter

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, has called on voters who have yet to decide how they will vote in next year’s referendum to consider the opportunity that a Yes vote presents to create a fairer and more just Scotland.

Mr Harvie said that the report, Scotland’s Economy, the Case for Independence published on Tuesday by the Scottish government, which highlighted the economic advantages which an independent Scotland would enjoy, also points out that social and economic inequalities have been widening in the UK.

The Scottish Government’s report says that independence would give Scotland the opportunity to reverse the growing gap between richest and poorest which is a feature of UK government policies, and this in turn would enhance Scotland’s “competitive position”.

The Scottish Greens argue that the Yes campaign ought to give greater prominence to arguments that only independence can bring about a fairer and more equal society in Scotland, and believes that such arguments would resonate with Scottish voters.

Mr Harvie pointed to a poll released by the Scottish Greens which showed that a majority of Scots agreed that the prospect of a fairer and more equal society in an independent Scotland was more important to them than whether Scotland as a whole would be slightly richer or slightly poorer.

The poll, conducted by Panelbase in March this year on behalf of the Scottish Greens, showed that 58% of the 1000 Scottish residents polled “strongly” or “slightly” agreed that a fairer and more equal society was more important to them, compared with just 10% who said it was more important whether an independent Scotland would be slightly richer or poorer.  32% neither agreed nor disagreed.

Mr Harvie said:

“The growing gap between rich and poor is one of the most compelling reasons to vote for independence. By deciding for ourselves how we want to run our economy we have a better chance of tackling inequality.

“To date we’ve witnessed successive Westminster governments in thrall to the City and its culture of greed and risk-taking, and a Scottish Government that advocates cutting corporate taxes for wealthy firms. A vote for independence would mean the people would have more of a say in our economic priorities.

“By taking a different approach to Westminster we can invest our energy revenues in the cleaner industries we must move towards. We can consider welfare systems that lift the poorest people out of poverty. And we can ensure those with broad shoulders contribute a fairer share.”