Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie has warned Brexit “risks lives” as he launched his party’s general election manifesto.
Unveiling the document at a party event in Glasgow, Harvie said the Greens want to reduce C02 emissions by 80% by 2030.
The Green MSP also aligned his party with the SNP by backing a second independence referendum by the end of next year.
The Scottish Greens are fielding 22 candidates across the country, up from the three they stood in the 2017 snap election.Greens will not field candidates in key SNP-held marginals
‘Green new deal’
At the heart of the party’s plans – in line with the Green party of England and Wales and the Northern Irish Greens – is a “Green new deal” to prevent “climate collapse”.
They want to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy and create thousands of jobs to help, including 200,000 in Scotland.
- Reversing “successive Conservative governments’ cuts” to renewable energy subsidies.
- Nationalising the energy grid.
- Phasing out North Sea oil and gas extraction and nuclear power in Scotland.
- Providing better protection for “our most important habitats and species”.
Harvie said social and environmental protections enshrined by the EU “are now in the hands of a chaotic Conservative government openly calling for a bonfire of regulations”.
“This risks lives,” he added. The Scottish Greens say it is essential to maintain workers’ rights and freedom of movement.
The party claims the 2016 Brexit vote was manipulated by “lies and cheating by the Leave campaign”.
The Greens want:
- Any withdrawal agreement to be put back to the people for a “final say” – including an option to remain.
- Existing devolution arrangements to be protected whatever happens, and any changes to devolved policy areas agreed by the devolved nations.
- Scotland to “retain as close a relationship as possible” with Europe if Brexit does take place.
The Greens say people in Scotland must be given another choice on independence “before the end of the transition period”.
Currently, the Brexit transition period – should a withdrawal deal be passed – ends in December 2020.
Harvie’s position aligns with Nicola Sturgeon’s, who wants a second independence vote in the latter half of next year.
The Scottish Greens want free public transport across the country, paid for by doubling vehicle excise duty on high-polluting cars and scrapping the freeze on fuel duty.
Harvie’s party also supports major investment in active travel such as walking and cycling, to tackle public health as well as environmental concerns.
In the “immediate term”, the Greens support extending free bus travel to everyone in Scotland under 21.
The Green manifesto makes clear that key to preserving public services like the NHS, in their view, is stopping Brexit – particularly no-deal.
The Scottish Greens also want:
- To extend the NHS principle of “free at the point of use” to social care.
- Drug use to be treated as a health issue and not a matter for criminal courts.
- Education to be universal and “equally accessible” to people of all ages.
- To scrap universal credit and replace it with a universal basic income – a set monthly payment for everyone.
The party says that while Scotland remains in the UK, Greens have “a duty and a right” to try to improve democracy across Britain.
The Greens back:
- Proportional representation in all elections, meaning candidates would be elected on their parties’ national vote rather than in individual seats, as in UK general elections.
- Extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds in all elections, as well as to EU and foreign nationals.
- Replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber and reforming electoral law “for the age of social media”.
- Devolving more powers to Holyrood in areas like tax, benefits, immigration and energy.