Mon 7 Nov, 2022

The paper, Independence - For People. For Planet is available here.

Scotland would use day one of independence as a springboard to become the world’s first ‘Climate Plus’ nation with bold, urgent reforms for energy, tax and a progressive well-being economy that put people and planet at its heart, under proposals revealed by the Scottish Greens today. 

Every inch of operational government and civic society would need to weigh the impacts on climate, gender and well-being, against a transformational, progressive set of eco-socialist principles to be rolled out under the plans. 

Sweeping new reforms would see oil and gas jobs replaced in an accelerated Just Transition, allowing Scotland to pioneer new renewable technologies and export skills, while evolving domestic energy use and bills. 

Under Scottish Green plans, energy companies would be nationalised with a windfall tax on oil and gas profits funding significant reductions to consumer energy bills

Nature restoration with record new funding would not only continue but be greatly enhanced with priority given to those areas that can help in attempts to reverse climate and biodiversity decline, creating potentially tens of thousands of new jobs. 

Importantly, as an independent country, Scotland would enshrine rights for nature in new law written into a constitution and roll back damage caused through Brexit by becoming a world leader in environmental standards and protections. 

Full details of the policies will be contained in a series of papers to be published by the Scottish Greens, setting-out how its MSPs and members would seek to enhance and influence those being released by the Scottish Government. 

Delivered over the coming months, they will examine how Scottish Green ministers would approach a range of areas including finances and the economy, climate and environment and social justice.  

The first, published today as part of the ‘Independence: for people, for planet’ series, is a vision document which aims to give an overview of how transformational the approach would be, and how a ‘Climate Plus’ nation would ensure climate considerations are central to all areas of policy making including the economy. 

Restoring Scotland’s place in Europe, adopting a Nordic nations approach to well-being by looking at a kindergarten stage for school education, four-day working weeks with no loss of pay and ensuring happier, healthier lifestyles would be core to an independent government with Scottish Green involvement.

Gender budgeting and an end of gender pay gaps would put women at the heart of finances along with social security reforms that would bring an end the rape clause and scrap the two child limit on Universal Credit under the proposals. 

Among the most progressive of changes would be rolling out Universal Basic Income to all, underpinned by a Real Living Wage, with a fair tax on the wealthy shifting the top down balance of the economy to support all.  

An independent Scotland would also uphold the Refugee Convention, become an anti-racist nation mindful of its historical past, and fully commit to the European Convention of Human Rights and continue its work on equality to protect people from discrimination.

Nuclear weapons would be removed from Scotland’s waters and replaced by new defence priorities with a focus on modern regional needs, with a push on progressive foreign policy including restoration of the 0.7% aid budget dropped by Westminster. 

Participatory, local democracy using proportional representation and a citizen’s constitutional convention would also allow for Scotland, they say, to become an independent republic, with its people deciding how the country should be run. 

Independence should ultimately be used to ensure that future generations are fully protected and enabled to live their lives with their well-being assured. 

Commenting after the publication, Scottish Greens Co-Leader, Lorna Slater MSP, said:

“Scotland’s need to become an independent nation has moved beyond simple domestic politics to one of urgent, international imperative. If we are to remain able to protect our citizens from the climate crisis, we need to do it on our own terms - and quickly. 

“From domestic energy supplies to a Just Transition, from cost of living crises to closing the gender gap, from human rights to a new world of climate refugees, and from well-being to the kind of country we want to live in, the status quo just isn’t working. 

“Over the coming months we will lay out how we would deliver a bold new Scotland, one that puts climate first, plus delivers all the benefits of a fairer, greener economy and approach to living, to try and persuade people there is a better way forward.

“Scotland’s independence debate has previously been about political perspectives, policy differences, the ideological approach towards putting the wants of the rich against the needs of the poor.

“That era has gone. Time has run out. This is now a matter of protecting our people and places against the worsening climate storm and ensuring we live our best lives as fairly and tolerantly as we can, in a country where nobody is left behind. 

“This isn’t just independence for Scotland. It’s no longer about red, blue, yellow or green. It’s about all of us. It is independence to prepare and do what we must for the next generation and every generation after that.”

In his speech at today’s launch, Co-leader Patrick Harvie added:

“What we are offering is a bold and distinctive vision that we want to offer the people of Scotland. With the powers of independence, we will have the opportunity to turn these words into reality.

“It will give us the opportunity to answer the big questions for ourselves and to finally make sure that we get the governments and the policies that we vote for. Independence is not just about the opportunity for economic transformation. 

“It is also about environmental transformation and giving us the power to take the climate action that is needed if we are to build an environmentally just and sustainable future.”

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