Patrick Harvie responds to Tory devolution proposals

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Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today commented on the latest contributions to the independence debate by the Conservatives and Labour.

Responding to the Tories’ devolution proposals, drawn up by Lord Strathclyde, Mr Harvie said:

“While some may be tempted to label as bold Lord Strathclyde’s suggestion of devolving income tax, that label quickly rubs off when you consider the long list of what the Conservatives don’t want Scotland to control. The bulk of the social security system would remain ripe for dismantling, we’d be unable to tailor a welcoming immigration policy, and we’d continue to live with nuclear weapons on the River Clyde.

“Neither would we be able to address employment rights, broadcasting, energy policy or set about writing our own constitution. The reality is if we say No we’re relying on whoever wins the UK General Election in May remembering that Scotland exists. Frankly, the focus at Westminster will be the EU referendum, and we would regret seizing the unrivalled opportunity in September to set our own agenda by voting Yes.”

Responding to comments by former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown that Scotland would “probably be more unequal under an independent SNP Government than it is now,” Mr Harvie said:

“Gordon Brown’s opinion is that only within the UK can we reduce inequality but of course even during Labour governments we’ve seen wealth accruing to those who need it least. Fiddling at the edges of a broken system won’t achieve the fundamental change we need, and by voting Yes we can show the rest of the UK that a fairer society is possible.

“There are plenty of people, myself included, who have serious issues with SNP policies and have been pretty vocal about it – independence goes beyond party policies.”