Scottish Greens debate 'Yes Scotland' membership

Patrick Harvie The Green's co-convener is now backing full Yes Scotland membership

This weekend the Scottish Green party gathers in Glasgow to debate what role it should play in the campaign to secure Scottish independence.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the party's co-convener, will propose members back the Yes Scotland organisation set up by the SNP in May.

Mr Harvie helped launch Yes Scotland alongside First Minister Alex Salmond.

But he was later quoted saying he was disappointed that the SNP had failed to create an "all-inclusive" campaign.

Now Mr Harvie is backing full membership with his motion stating: "Conference welcomes the progress which has been made toward an inclusive form of governance for the Yes Scotland campaign, and agrees that the Scottish Green Party should seek full participation in this organisation."

But even if the party does back the policy it will not expect all members to follow it. Indeed, the party makes provision for some to campaign for a "no" vote.

Mr Harvie's motion states: "Conference recognises the range of opinions within the party, both about the preferred outcome of the referendum and about the relative importance of constitutional questions as against other political, social, environmental and economic choices.

"We recognise that some members will vote for a no vote, or a 'third option' if it is included on the ballot paper. We fully support their right to do so".

No more Kingdom of Scotland

So what is the Green vision for independence?

Mr Harvie's party, which has two MSPs, will consider a motion supporting a written constitution for a secular society with an elected head of state.

That means no established church and an end to the Kingdom of Scotland.

The Greens want work on the written constitution to begin soon and for outline plans for the constitution to be in place ahead of the referendum.

That timetable is important according to a policy motion because "if the public vote yes in 2014 and an independent parliament is elected in 2016 without a constitution being in place, effectively unfettered power will have been handed to the government of the day without time even for the development of parliamentary scrutiny".

A Scottish pound?

The Scottish Green Party is a fan of local currencies believing the tools of economic power work best at local level. Given this principle the party does not share the SNP's vision for an independent Scotland retaining the pound sterling.

It accepts this may be the case for a transitional period but says "an independent Scotland should seek to have as much control over its economy as possible and therefore should aim to have its own currency".

Amnesty

The party will consider a motion for citizenship of an independent Scotland to be based on birth in Scotland, parentage or grand parentage and those who have lived here for more than five years. They also favour an amnesty for all those currently resident here. Scotland, it says "would allow citizens to continue their citizenship of the United Kingdom, or other countries. We would support Scotland's adoption of the Schengen Treaty on the freedom of movement of people within Europe."

Defence

Another motion seeks to clarify the party's policy on defence stating: "There should be no weapons of mass destruction in Scotland or the world and that an independent Scotland should move immediately to remove all nuclear weapons capability and as soon as possible to remove the nuclear weapons."

"The policy review should consider: the development of a 'just transition' strategy to replace jobs lost through withdrawal of weapons of mass destruction and to diversify local economies; the withdrawal from NATO as soon as possible on the basis that it is an inappropriate mechanism for mutual defence; the development of a human security approach, deploying skills in mediation and reconciliation, non-violent conflict resolution, and civilian resistance."

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