Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Green Yes

I must admit that, until I saw the mention of it on Wings over Scotland yesterday, I wasn't aware that the Green Yes campaign was running a fundraiser on Indiegogo.  I've decided to do my ecumenical deed for the morning by making a modest donation.  It doesn't feel like such an unnatural thing to do - although as things stand I would always vote for the SNP over the Greens, it's probably fair to say that the Greens are somewhat closer to my own views on some constitutional matters relating to an independent Scotland, such as opposition to NATO membership and support for an elected Head of State.  It's not inconceivable, therefore, that if independence is achieved next year, I might then switch to voting Green in an attempt to 'complete the journey'.  (Admittedly I discovered a few months ago that at least some high-profile Green members have a chillingly intolerant attitude towards any dissent on gender politics, so that's one factor that might put me off.)  I certainly wouldn't switch to voting Green if there was a No vote, because there's not much point in arguing the toss over NATO membership or the monarchy unless you're taking the fastest possible route to independence.  Scotland sure as hell won't be leaving NATO or abolishing the monarchy as part of the United Kingdom, and although independence would revert to being a longer-term objective in the event of a No vote, the timescale would only get longer still if natural supporters desert the SNP.

My only slight doubt about donating was that I knew I'd be contributing to a campaign that will be somewhat critical of the SNP government on certain issues (as we saw from Patrick Harvie on Question Time, for instance), and indeed will be diverging sharply from my own views at times.  But when I reflected on it, I realised that was no bad thing, because a high-profile and sincere Green Yes campaign will drive home the message to voters that the independence movement is genuinely cross-party and diverse.  And I don't think there's any danger at all of a 1979-style 'Berlin Wall' being erected between two rival Yes campaigns who dislike each other more than the real opposition - it looks like Green Yes sees itself as very much a complement to Yes Scotland, rather than a competitor.

I've no doubt that the Greens' support for independence is founded on principle, but it has to be said it's tactically savvy as well.  Win or lose, Patrick Harvie is guaranteed to emerge from the campaign as one of Scotland's highest profile politicians, because he will be appearing constantly on TV as the most senior non-SNP parliamentarian supporting independence (unless of course an MP or MSP from Labour, the Lib Dems or the Tories is smart enough to seize that mantle from him, which is perfectly possible).

To read more about the Green Yes fundraising drive or to donate to it, click HERE.

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There was a provocative article on the BBC website a few years ago that characterised the division on the island of Cyprus as being almost 'autistic' in nature, with each side seemingly finding it utterly impossible to perceive the situation through the other's eyes, even as an idle thought-experiment.  For some reason, that analogy popped into my head when I heard about the nature of John Major's latest thrilling foray into the Scottish constitutional debate.  He described Scottish independence as "folly on a grand scale", which he elaborated on by setting out a number of reasons why he felt it would be a terrible idea from the point of view of the London political class, such as the likelihood of diminished influence for the UK overseas, and a possible loss of permanent member status on the UN Security Council.  As an argument against Scottish independence, that's the rough equivalent of a husband trying to persuade his wife to stay in the following manner -

HUSBAND : If you leave it'll be a disaster!  I'll lose access to your income!  I'll have no-one on my arm at parties!  I'll have to do all my own cooking!  My mother will lose all respect for me!

WIFE : OK, and what will I lose?

HUSBAND : Sorry?  I don't quite follow?

In any case, I've always felt that the 'concern' about rUK's Security Council status is a massive red herring.  When Russia replaced the Soviet Union at the UN in the early 1990s, it had effectively lost 40% of the population of the old state, and a huge chunk of the territory - and yet its assumption of the permanent seat on the Security Council was seamless.  Let's face it, if membership of the Security Council was determined on a fair basis by population size or global influence, the UK would have been booted off decades ago - but it doesn't work like that, and unfortunately there's no particular reason to suppose that it will suddenly start working like that just because Scotland has become an independent country.  It's a colonial relic, not a representative body.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like you I would never vote Green this side of indy, but I do think PH is a tremendous asset for Yes.

Craig P said...

I have become more inclined to Green as the years go on - successfully voted in a Green councillor at the last election - but there is no way I will switch to Green in a national vote till post-independence.

It's going to be amazing, the first general election after independence, there will be a suite of parties to choose from who *all* want the best for Scotland. Makes me giddy just thinking of the width of genuine choice we will have :)