By Amy Smith
Okay full disclosure, I’ve been a member of the Scottish Greens for 5 years now, but I joined because I believe that the arrogance of the Westminster government is a threat to young people. And it’s a threat to the future we environmentalists are fighting to make better.
Patrick Harvie has warned that the “growth economics” which dominate the economic analysis in the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission report, are not sustainable in a “finite world”. Neither of our current governments are delivering on the environment. Declaring a climate emergency while opening a new airport terminal is a painful example of this – that’s not a vision for Scotland that I will ever vote for. Honestly, that’s why I’m in the Green Party because Scotland can do better than this. If we look at other small countries roughly the same size as Scotland we can see that they are delivering on progressive economic, social and environmental policies that Scotland could match, but only as an independent member of the international community and the EU. Not only can Scotland do better than this, but we have to do better if we want any kind of future.
The Scottish Greens’ Jobs in the New Economy report argues that, by focusing on delivering low-carbon improvements across energy, transport, land-use and industrial sectors, we can create 200,000 new green jobs. However, we must not forget that there exists a class of Scottish billionaires, some of whom of course are supporting the case for independence. While it’s amazing to see how this movement has grown, and to see that Scottish Independence is becoming an increasingly attractive offer – Green Yes is clear that the politics of the rich is not what the future of Scotland looks like to us. In the Scottish Young Greens and the Federation of Young European Greens’ joint statement on a second Scottish independence referendum, they say that: “giving the Scottish people the opportunity to express what direction they want their country to head in is vital, given the rest of the UK & Scotland have never been further apart.”
Westminster politics is nothing short of an international embarrassment. The Scottish Greens could not be clearer in our commitment to an independent Scotland. “Scottish Greens believe that we should establish and develop the institutions that will allow Scotland to become a strong global actor on issues such as human rights, sustainable development, democracy, and conflict resolution. These institutions would also provide a framework on which to build an independent Scottish foreign policy should a future referendum return a Yes vote.”
It is vital that young people, especially self-defining women and non-binary people, become leaders in the independence movement this time around. In my opinion, staying in the UK is a surefire route to a politics dominated by rich, white men. Young women are driving the environmental movement globally and have been incredibly successful in doing so. The independence movement, if it’s as progressive as it says it is, must reflect that. For a feminist, environmentalist and fair future for Scotland – we need a Green Yes.
In saying this I must be clear, independence alone won’t save the planet. I’m sure I needn’t remind you that we have just 10 years left before the climate crisis becomes irreversible. But an independent, progressive Scotland, working in an international community would give us and our planet a pretty good chance.