Why the planet needs you to vote Yes to Scottish Independence

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.

AUOB Edinburgh: My First March

By James MacGregor Palmer

Before Saturday, I had never been on a political march. What I saw in Edinburgh was an open, inclusive and passionate movement for change. It warmed my heart.

AUOB Edinburgh was vast. How it’s even possible to count that number of people I will never know, but various media outlets are reporting that over 200,000 braved the Edinburgh rain to make their support for an independent Scotland known. From where our University of Stirling Students for Independence group stood roundabout the middle of the pack (I think), it felt as if the procession of saltire-clad Yessers stretched on forever.

The sheer size of the march was all the more impressive given the weather conditions. This is important to a huge number of the people of Scotland. Our movement is not going away any time soon, and it is not going to be beaten by a few drops of rain.

Rounding the corner to the plaza in front of the Scottish Parliament on our way to take our place in the march, I couldn’t help but smile. The whole place had an indescribable energy to it even before the march began, like a football crowd waiting to hear the first blast of the referee’s whistle. The key difference is we don’t have to wait for a referee to get the game started. Ours is a grassroots movement that can mobilise people before IndyRef2 is even called. We don’t need to know the date. It’s not important. What is important is getting people talking about independence now. Saturday sent a message to the world that the people of Scotland are excited, and we are ready.

But what struck me most was the sense of unity and inclusivity. As an Englishman, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about getting involved with the Yes campaign. I thought my accent alone would cause some friction, maybe even mistrust. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

On Saturday I saw St. George’s Crosses, as well as the flags of Wales, Ireland, Germany and Northumberland (the caption “Geordies for Independence – Wye Aye 2” deserves some applause). No-one cares where you were born or how you speak, this is about building a better Scotland for all of us that live here.

Perhaps most heartening of all was a group marching behind a banner that read “Celtic Supporters & Rangers Supporters – United for Scottish Independence”. Even the bitterest of rivalries were set aside on Saturday in pursuit of a Scotland that welcomes all.

My biggest takeaway? Scotland – there is no limit to how great we can be when we stand united. Funnily enough, we really are Better Together. But it is not the unionists who are offering that inclusive vision of Scotland.