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Scottish Greens To Use "The Corbyn Effect" To Lure Voters Away From Labour

Patrick Harvie thinks Corbyn supporters will reject Scottish Labour for his party.

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Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party speaks at the launch of the Scottish Holyrood election campaign.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party speaks at the launch of the Scottish Holyrood election campaign.

The Scottish Greens will attempt to use "the Corbyn effect" to lure voters away from Labour and propel the party to a record number of seats in May's Holyrood election.

At the party's campaign launch in Glasgow on Monday, party co-convener Patrick Harvie told BuzzFeed News his party can make a "clear appeal" to a strand of pro-Corbyn Labour voters who he said feel alienated by the party's less radical Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale.

"Scottish Labour hasn't had the injection of energy that it could have had from the Corbyn effect," said Harvie. "It will take more than resurrecting the career of [former MP] Anas Sarwar to bring the voters of Glasgow back into the Labour fold.

"A lot of people see the Greens as offering a new, constructive approach to the kind of economic change the country and the world needs to see. That's not coming from Scottish Labour, and the UK party doesn't seem to want to give Jeremy Corbyn a chance to do that."

The campaign launch, which saw the unveiling of a new Scottish saltire logo and the slogan "Scotland Can", outlined the party's policies for May's Holyrood vote, including a complete ban on fracking, the creation of over 200,000 "clean, green" jobs, and the guarantee of a job, training, or education for every school-leaver in Scotland.

Party sources said the Greens aim to have at least one MSP for every region in Scotland to give them a record result of between nine and 12 representatives in the Scottish parliament, beating the party's previous high of seven seats in 2003.

Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed

Scottish Green candidates on a photocall during the party's campaign launch.

The party, accepting that it is unlikely to challenge the overwhelmingly dominant SNP in constituency votes, is primarily relying on both left-wing and pro-independence voters to give the Greens their secondary list vote.

"A lot of people, even not fervent fans of the SNP, lots of people think they've done alright [in government]," said Harvie. "But on fracking, on social justice and redistribution, private rent controls, and community ownership, they clearly need to be pushed beyond their comfort zone to be bolder.

"I think a great many people will split their votes."

A surge in membership following the 2014 independence referendum saw the number of Scottish Green members jump from 2,000 to over 9,000, which will allow the party to carry out a much larger on-the-ground campaign with more financial backing than in previous elections.

The Scottish Greens remain pro-independence but will not actively push for a second referendum on the issue in the next parliament unless there is a clear will from people in Scotland to hold another.

Harvie added that, in the face of another SNP landslide in May, Scotland needs "a diverse" parliament to challenge the Scottish government.

"We bring fresh, new, bold ideas to parliament. We will work constructively with others who share our aims. Holyrood – and Scotland – needs a diverse politics and progressive champions to hold the Scottish government to account."

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

Contact Jamie Ross at

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