back to top
Politics

The Scottish Greens Could Back Another IndyRef If Enough People Call For It

The party has launched its Scottish election manifesto in Edinburgh.

Originally posted on
Updated on
Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed

The Scottish Greens could back another referendum on independence if one million people sign a petition calling for it.

At the launch of the party's manifesto for May's Scottish elections, co-convener Maggie Chapman initially said they would back another vote if just 100,000 people called for it. However, the party later clarified she meant to say one million.

The party laid out a pitch for a "bolder Holyrood" largely aimed at SNP voters who are considering giving their secondary list vote to another party.

Alongside a "citizen's initiative" for a further independence referendum, the Greens set out plans to scrap council tax, ban fracking outright, introduce a tax on supermarkets that promote unhealthy foods, bring in a 60% rate of tax for the highest earners, and guarantee work, training, or education for every school leaver.

Scottish independence doesn't feature heavily in the manifesto but, asked about how the party would promote the case for it over the five years of the next Scottish parliament, Chapman said they would set up a petition to ensure there were enough people demanding another referendum.

"We want to see the future of Scotland decided by the Scottish people through processes like citizen's initiatives – when there are enough people clamouring for that next referendum we will give it our full support," said Chapman.

"I don't think it's about what happens at Holyrood – it's not about the 129 people who are about to be elected. It's about the hundreds of thousands of Scottish people demanding something different and demanding something better.

"An idea we proposed last year was the citizen's initiative, where we would have, if a million, sorry, if a hundred thousand Scots came together and said 'we demand another referendum' that would be something we would consider, but it's got to come from the people."

The party later confirmed she did indeed mean to say a million.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie.
Danny Lawson / PA WIRE

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie.

The manifesto suggests the "citizen's initiative" approach could also be used on issues other than another independence referendum, saying: "Citizens should be able to play a direct role in the legislative process: on presenting a petition signed by an appropriate number of voters, citizens should be able to trigger a vote on important issues of devolved responsibility."

The party's other co-convener, Patrick Harvie, said he will continue to make the case for independence over the course of the parliament to make sure more Scots vote Yes when the next referendum comes.

"Even Alex Salmond has recognised that the SNP's offer in 2014, particularly on the issue of currency, didn't convince enough people," said Harvie. "We want to commit to continuing that work, developing that to the point that the offer that comes is one that can be convincing and compelling to a far greater number of people."

Harvie was also quizzed on what his "red lines" would if the SNP is not able to form a majority government in May and needs to join together to form a coalition with help from the Greens, who aim to win at least eight seats.

"It's inconceivable that we wouldn't see agenda item number one on that meeting being about tax revenue," said Harvie.

"I'm slightly astonished that the SNP do seem to have walked away from the space to debate progressive tax policy and I think there are many in the SNP who actually might welcome a little constructive pressure for that progressive approach."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.