Marking the first anniversary of the independence referendum, the Scottish Greens have today (18 September) released a statement confirming their position on a future referendum and an independent Scotland. The party which has been polling strongly for next year's Holyrood election has agreed that there should, in time, be a second referendum.
The Greens have pledged to focus during the next session of parliament on using Holyrood's powers to make a difference to the people of Scotland, but also to bring forward a radical package of ideas to demonstrate how much better an independent Scotland could be. That work begins with the development of a detailed research paper on an independent currency. Regarding the timing of a future referendum, the party says it will respect citizen-led initiatives such as a call for a referendum signed by up to 1 million people on the electoral register.
The Scottish Greens, whose membership has surged from 1,700 to over 9,000 in the past year, are launching a crowdfund appeal to develop detailed research into what would be required to set up a new currency to ensure an independent Scotland had maximum economic independence. The paper will be written by Ronald MacDonald, Research Professor in Macroeconomics and International Finance at Glasgow University, and is supported by former Labour MP and Yes Scotland chair Dennis Canavan.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Greens Co-convener, said:
"Scottish Greens are proud of the role we played in the independence debate. We engaged constructively as we saw huge opportunities to create a more equal and democratic society, and a sustainable economy.
"Our membership surge has strengthened our position and will help us build our arguments ahead of the next referendum, whenever that may be. The key issue of currency must be fully explored.
"Given the economic, social and environmental challenges that Scotland faces, the need for a strong Green voice at Holyrood has never been greater. As we develop long-term ideas for the next referendum, we also commit to holding the Scottish Government to account on its use of the existing range of powers."
Dennis Canavan, former Labour MP and Chair of Yes Scotland, said:
"Currency was a key issue during the last referendum campaign and many voters were understandably confused on that issue. Currency is also likely to be a key issue during the next referendum campaign and it is therefore important for all of us who support independence to get our act together.
"That is why I welcome this research initiative which I trust will promote further study of the various options in the hope of presenting a coherent policy in readiness for the next referendum campaign."
The text is as follows:
1. The Scottish Green Party, which is committed to making popular democracy a reality at the national, regional and local level, believes that there should in time be a second referendum on Scottish independence.
2. In that referendum the Scottish Greens will campaign for independence to secure the powers needed for a socially just and sustainable Scotland.
3. The timing of the referendum should be determined by public appetite: Scotland should decide, when Scotland wants to decide.
4. In assessing public appetite for a second referendum we will respect new kinds of citizen-led initiatives - for example, a call for a referendum signed by up to 1 million people on the electoral register.
5. For the next term of the Scottish Parliament Green MSPs will focus on using existing and forthcoming powers to deliver the changes that will make a difference to the people of Scotland - on fuel poverty, land reform, funding public services and many other challenges which need to be tackled right now.
6. We will continue to call for further powers being devolved to the Scottish Parliament until independence is achieved, for example the ability to raise the minimum wage, as supported by the Scottish Trades Union Congress.
7. We will also bring forward a radical package of ideas which demonstrates just how different and better an independent Scotland could be - on currency, welfare, foreign policy, climate change, a post-oil economy and revitalising our democracy.
Scotland can be a beacon, within these islands and beyond, for a socially just and sustainable society. Whilst there are many priorities which will require independence, there is also much that can and must be done now by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.