THE leaders of Scotland’s smaller pro-independence parties last night gave their full support to the First Minister’s plans to hold a second referendum.
In contrast to the howls of negativity from the Unionist parties, Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman, co-conveners of the Scottish Greens, along with Colin Fox, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, embraced the prospect of a new plebiscite on Scottish self-determination.
“The Greens welcome the Scottish Parliament’s consent being sought for a Section 30 order on an independence referendum and we will support it,” said Harvie, a member of Holyrood’s finance and constitution committee.
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“Scotland’s votes and our voice have been ignored by a Tory government at Westminster which we did not vote for and a feeble Labour opposition. The people of Scotland deserve a choice between hard Brexit Britain and putting our own future in our own hands.
“Theresa May’s isolationist Brexit will cause huge damage to Scotland’s economy and public services, to our health service, schools and universities. It will isolate us from the world. Those who care about fairness in society are horrified by the kind of Brexit Britain tax-haven the Tories are planning. The Greens will campaign for a progressive, internationalist, independent Scotland.”
Chapman said: “The combination of the Brexit vote and Theresa May’s belligerent stance against Scotland make an independence referendum inevitable. It is clear the case for the Union from 2014 was a false prospectus. We are very clearly not better together. The UK is not OK.
“When the Westminster Government threaten to use Brexit to turn the UK into a tax haven, it shows how the Prime Minister is taking the country in the opposite direction to Scotland. Our vision of an outward-facing, inclusive country is totally at odds with the anti-foreigner approach the UK government is taking.”
Fox, national spokesman for the SSP and a former MSP, said his party was committed to independence which it believed would “radically change” Scotland and help address “our low-wage economy”.
“The Scottish Socialist Party want an independent socialist Scotland, a modern democratic republic and we want it as soon as we can. We will work as hard as anyone to deliver a Yes vote for independence but the tactics we employ in relation to this outcome will need to be discussed more fully,” he said.
However, he warned the First Minister that making Scotland’s EU membership a central and “overarching” issue of the debate would be “a risky strategy” and said it ran the risk of side-lining economic and social challenges facing Scots.
“Securing a Yes vote in Scotland’s working-class communities remains the key to winning this vote,” he added. “Therefore any campaign must put an inspiring vision of a transformed new Scotland in front of the Scottish people and offering them the prospect of meaningful advance.”
He said his party backed a Remain vote in last year’s EU referendum because it was “the lesser of two evils” and described the EU as “an anti-democratic bureaucracy” beholden to Europe’s neo-liberal corporate elite.
“We voted to Remain only because Brexit was worse, offering a xenophobic cocktail of Little Englander bigotry and backwardness,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned the EU is not the issue to win indyref2. That victory can only be achieved by persuading Scotland’s working class majority they will be economically, socially and politically better off with self-determination.”