A Green New Deal for the SNP – Conservative Article
So the Greens have finally signed their deal with the SNP: a Green coalition. This sees the Green Party rise to government for the first time anywhere in the UK. For the first time, the party will have direct influence over policy. A dream come true that, until the last Scottish election, had been a long-term ambition rather than a realistic goal.
This coalition also grants the SNP the governmental majority they are desperate for. They now have the stability to enact policies they were otherwise lacking. Additionally, this offsets the often lame-duck nature of minority governments.
Many consider this deal as overcoming the last hurdle that had previously prevented the SNP from engaging in a serious attempt at another independence referendum. Now they are able to pass the legislation required to have another vote. Their sycophantic base will be happy. Yet poll after poll suggests that the issue of independence is far, far down the list of priorities for a Scotland emerging from the Pandemic. Most Scots are open-minded enough to see that, without the Union, they would be in a substantially worse economic position.
There are undeniable financial benefits to Scotland from the Union. For example, the access to the UK’s vaccine scheme; furlough; and other Covid relief funds. These have demonstrated that Westminster does in fact work for them. In fact, the pandemic has been one of the starkest demonstrations of how the Union can benefit all nations. Indeed, how it could work, if there was a desire to do so from all parties. This is, of course, not the case. The SNP has committed to an anti-English narrative. They have built their rhetoric and government entirely on opposing Westminster, often just for the sake of it.
The SNP can try to do whatever they want. However, the thing they can’t skirt and have no influence over is the illegality of passing legislation on reserved matters.
Constitutional matters being one instance. Boris Johnson isn’t going to grant them a second vote. It was the SNP who declared “once in a generation”. Yet it seems Boris Johnson is the only one sticking to that pledge.
The new direction of the SNP: collapsing to all the demands of the Greens and granting cabinet positions to politicians totally unprepared and unqualified for leadership. This appears something of a paradox.
A central feature of the economy of an independent Scotland, according to the SNP’s own independence campaign in 2014 (and the 40 years preceding), was Scotland’s access to North Sea oil. Unsurprisingly, the Greens don’t support this plan. It’s not difficult to guess why. With the Greens now dictating their own terms, means the SNP have lost a key pillar in their economic plans. Perhaps even the only remaining realistic industry. These plans were not supported by much to start with, and this has brought their independence dreams to the brink of collapse.
The SNP often points to other countries of a similar size and their success in sustaining and thriving out on their own as proof Scotland could do it too. Norway, Switzerland, and Denmark being the most ‘obvious’ comparisons. But Norway’s economy is built on natural resources, specifically fossil fuels, which the Greens would never allow. The Swiss and Danish economies are sustained by services, financial or otherwise. The same can be said for the UK economy as a whole. There is little the SNP can do to lure these businesses north of the border to a country fundamentally unstable and without any trading partners following a vote.
The SNP had hoped to create a corporate tax haven, of a similar model to Ireland, following an independence victory. They thought a low corporation tax would attract large headquarters of UK firms over the border, granting the Scottish government huge inflows of revenue with few downsides. Easy, right? However, the decision of the G7 earlier this year to introduce a worldwide blanket 15% corporation tax destroyed this plan. The SNP once again is left floundering.
The SNP can’t keep denying this. Sturgeon’s anguish to finally bring together a majority in Holyrood has fundamentally undermined the only industry that would have helped sustain an independent Scotland. They have nothing else. And voters won’t be fooled.
The oil industry in Scotland supports around a hundred thousand jobs. Oil workers are generally SNP voting, from Dundee and Aberdeen. In allying with the Greens, the SNP have shown how callous they are in their pursuit of separation, willing to throw even their most committed Scots under the bus to achieve it.
This is the hallmark of a government in power for too long. With weak opposition and a brutish arrogance, voters will cling to them no matter what. The more they take the wider electorate for granted the longer they fundamentally fail at day-to-day government. The electorate isn’t blind to this.
The Green coalition has the potential to be something really good. Finally a country with a substantial part of their policy outlook being environmental sustainability. Scotland, in the Union, has the ability and financial freedom to engage with a more proactive, sustainable economy. Unfortunately, the SNP sees the deal as a one-way ticket to Scottish independence. It is becoming clear that Scotland will struggle to succeed in this, simply because they can’t afford it.
The people of Scotland want to move the political conversation on. They have had enough of the incessant, bitter division and debate around a future that they haven’t agreed to. The only reason the SNP continues to maintain voter support is the failure of the opposition parties to stand up for the voice of Scotland. They must separate themselves from the national party machines in London. I have discussed this further in my article on the missing money scandal.
This is the SNP’s last chance. If they continue to fail over the next 5 years of the government, they will be done for. The deal with the Greens is their last shot to get what they want. But in doing so, the SNP have undermined the only economic arguments for independence they can come up with. Only a small portion of Scottish voters fall for the ultra-Caledonian brainwashing rhetoric of the SNP. As Covid-19 slips into memory, the rest just want peace.
Written by Senior Conservative writer, Alex McQuitty
Point of Information
It’s Time for Scotland To Change its Broken Record – A Liberal Response
Alex sums up the SNP’s issues perfectly here. This Green coalition is surely the final nail in the coffin of Sturgeon’s seemingly never-ending bid for independence. As Alex writes, for too long the SNP have operated with sheer arrogance, holding onto the belief that the electorate will be behind them regardless.
The ‘once in a generation’ Indyref has been and gone. Boris Johnson has said there is no chance of a second referendum. Per independent Scottish polling tracker, Ballot Box Scotland, support for the union is stronger than support for independence.
It is time for the SNP, and Scotland, to move on.
The only area I would dispute is Alex’s claim that the pandemic has shown the benefits of the Union. All four nations of the Union have adopted completely different strategies throughout the pandemic. Only the date of the first lockdown and the introduction of the furlough scheme are common factors of the union’s response to Covid. The Union has not been strengthened by the pandemic. If anything it has shown that the four nations are capable of operating without Westminster.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Luca Boyd
What Does this Coalition Mean for the Green party? – A Labour Response
Alex gives a pretty sound overview of what this coalition means for the SNP, particularly in regards to independence. But what has he missed?
A majority government was the obvious move for Sturgeon in her “pursuit of separation”, as Alex put it. And, with both parties in support of independence, it is likely that legislation allowing for a referendum will be passed. A little contention over central economic plans and oil will not derail Sturgeon in her pursuit. It merely calls for greater comprises.
But what does this Green coalition mean for the Green party? After all, this is a collation of two sides, something that Alex almost entirely overlooks in his article.
It is an opportunity for both parties. Indeed, power and independence is of utmost importance for the SNP. But there is also an opportunity for unprecedented influence of the Green party. With the COP26 just two months away, it is likely that the Greens will use this coalition as an opportunity to push the SNP towards doing more for the climate emergency. And this can only be for the better, right? Just one small change is a move in the right direction.
This coalition also doesn’t withdraw rights for the Green party to critique and oppose the government. They will retain opt-out powers so can still critique policy propositions where necessary. And, arguably, now with greater significance because of their position in the newly-founded coalition.
A referendum is looking likely and is certainly a priority for Sturgeon and her party. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the Green party and its influence in the future of Scottish politics.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo
I’m Abi! I am a liberal, political enthusiast from the Welsh valleys. Since I was young, I have been captivated by politics. I used to spend so much time watching the morning news before school, and have paid close attention to political campaigns for as long as I can remember. It was a lot later that I decided I wanted to pursue politics academically. Now, I have just finished my second year studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Exeter.