Patrick Harvie Sunday Politics


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Patrick Harvie

Recorded coverage of Gordon Brewer interviewing co-convener of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie, from Sunday 14 May.


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The Scottish Greens will fight only three seats in the general election.

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And they will not be endorsing any other party in the 56 seats that it

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is not contesting and you are pretty much up to speed the Green Party

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strategy, which has left them open to claim that they are propping up

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the SNP. I am now joined by Patrick Harvie, who laughed when he

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suggested he was propping up the SNP. A wry smile, Gordon! You are

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very proud of the idea that local parties make the decisions. Did your

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local party in every single one of the 56 seats where you are not

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standing have a meeting and decide, no, we don't want a candidate in the

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general election? All our branches made the decisions in their own way.

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Some held meetings and others online. All of the 56 decided not to

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stand the candidate? Rather than we don't want to, all of them looked at

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the resources they had left after the seven national votes they had

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including Holyrood and local elections that we put a huge amount

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of resource and energy into, and they recognised this was not

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something we were able to do. In 2015 election we stood in about half

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the seats in Scotland and I regret, honestly, that we are not in a

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position to do that again this time. Even to get close to it. What we

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have got to do is focus our resources where it will really make

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a difference. It is critical at the particular time we are in at the

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moment that Scotland has a green voice at Westminster. We can achieve

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that but only if we focus and target. This has nothing to do with

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helping other to parties? Our colleagues in the branches will

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contemplate as one of the fact of how best to stop the Tories and if

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there is a Tory held seat, that is one of the factors that people will

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have in mind. Anybody on the progressive side of politics needs

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to be trying to prevent the kind of Tory take-over of Westminster that

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Theresa May is planning for. This is an entirely opportunistic election

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that she didn't need to call and she said she would not call and she is

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doing it purely to capitalise on a weak Labour Party. I am confused.

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The two answers you have given seem to flatly contradict each other. One

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minute you say it is entirely about resources and branches deciding not

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to stand, and now you don't stand because you want to help beat the

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Tories. It is overwhelmingly about resources. One of the factors that

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are bright which is covering a Tory held or Tory marginal seat, one of

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the factors they will consider is how best to prevent that damaging

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outcome of a bigger Tory majority at Westminster. The reality is that

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there will be hugely important social and environmental powers

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moved from Europe to Westminster in the next session of Parliament,

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where many Tories want a bonfire of the regulations. That will literally

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put people's lives on the line and a Green voice at Westminster is an

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urgent priority for us. Maggie Chapman said a few weeks ago that

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you would consider, as you have suggested, a strategy of trying to

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keep the Tories out and not standing in areas where you thought that

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would help people fighting the Tories. She said an approach would

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be made to the Scottish National Party about a progressive alliance

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in what she said was the next couple of days and that was an April the

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18th. One such an approach ever made? No. Why not? It wasn't a

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discussion that took place and it was not something the party had

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decided to do. Maggie was expressing a personal view in an off-the-cuff

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interview. Reality is that the party makes decisions, not me and not

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Maggie, the party, at every level, as locally as possible. That is the

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way we have always worked as a party. Maggie Chapman said there

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would be an approach in the next couple of days and there wasn't. Why

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not? She said she was expressing a personal view. And why wasn't there

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an approach? The party had decided to do that. The national council

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never considered the option of doing that. Look, after the 2014 election

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and in the run-up to 2015, the party's national council agreed

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there should be some level of discussion with the SNP about

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whether there should be a different approach to the 2015 election. They

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were not interested and frankly I didn't think they would be. They

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clearly had the resources to fight every seat and why would they change

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that strategy? I didn't expect anything different this time and I

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am not sure why we are exploring that. People who would like to vote

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Green in the 56 seats where you are not standing, who should they vote

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for? They should ask all the candidates the issues most important

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to them. If a voter feels that renewing Trident is the most

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important issue to them, they may find a great many SNP candidates who

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agree with them, but they might find Labour candidates who agree with

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them. If the most important issue to them is ending the subsidies of

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fossil fuels, they are likely to find many SNP candidates aborting

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them because they call for deeper subsidies for fossil fuels. --

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supporting them. If the most important thing is a sustainable

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transport system, why would we send Scottish MPs to argue for a nature

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runway at Heathrow when public transport is underfunded and

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unreliable and overpriced here. What if they decide the Tories have got

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the best offer? If people want an ever meaner, harsher social security

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system that forces ever more people into poverty, then they really need

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to check their values. Yes, but there must be many people whose

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priority is the environment, who for example feel very passionately that

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they don't want an independent Scotland, which the Tories are

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sticking up for. The Tory party would give the go ahead to fracking,

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subsidising nuclear power while removing the support from the

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renewable energy industry. Anybody who support the positive,

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sustainable vision for Scotland's future or the UK's future if they

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are committed to staying in the UK, they will look at the Tories and

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think they are not where it is at. Will you produce a manifesto given

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you are only standing in Parisians? The green thing would be not to give

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in the paper you would be saving. -- you are only standing in three

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seats. We want to focus our resources on getting a Green MP in

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Westminster. We are not knocking on the doors of millionaires and

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billionaires to fund the campaign and we are knocking on the doors in

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constituencies that we are contesting and we are talking to

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people in an investment in a sustainable future, not a fossil

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fuel addicted economy that will never last in the long term but one

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that will create jobs and serve as for the future. The social security

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system worthy of the name based on a universal basic income which means

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everybody's needs and allows them to choose the balance in their own life

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between working and caring and all the other things that matter in

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life. But you are pan UK movement unlike the SNP. A global movement.

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And you say on your website that you want to make an impact by joining

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forces with Caroline Lucas here has been doing the work of 100

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politicians, the first Green MP. But you want to split up the UK so you

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can't even be in the same Parliament as Caroline Lucas. If Scotland, as I

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believe it should, has the opportunity to ask yourself the

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question again about independence, and resolve this conflict between

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55% no vote and 62% remain vote in 2016, if the people of Scotland are

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going to make that choice, I will stand with those who see a positive,

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constructive relationship between... It is not obvious what the

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connection is. I am sure many people in Scotland care deeply about

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environmental issues but are deeply opposed to independence for Scotland

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or see it as a secondary issue. Why have you got such a bee in your

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bonnet about it? I know there are such people and

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there are such people in the Scottish Green Party, we have people

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clearly uncomfortably saying, a clear majority of our members

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campaign for a yes vote but we have no problem they did that in a spirit

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of friendly disagreement but those embers of the party who... If your

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main issue you is you don't want a second independence referendum but

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you were otherwise totally paid in caring for the environment, you

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shouldn't vote for the Green Party, should you? The question of whether

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Scotland is calling for a referendum has already been voted on in the

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Scottish parliament, I've no doubt if the SNP take the majority of

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seats as they look likely to in Scotland, the Tories have a majority

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at Westminster, there will be a toss all about who has the bigger mandate

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but look, the critical issues at the next UK Parliament will determine or

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what to do with those hugely important social and environmental

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protection is hard won over many years in the European Union. Do we

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want to hand those over to a bunch of Tories at Westminster? I think a

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green voice of the spinster for Scotland is more important than

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ever. We can do that if we focus our resources. The biggest fall in

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carbon emissions last year anywhere in the world was in the United

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States, carbon emission levels are back to where they were in the early

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1990s. This is almost entirely because of fracking and fractured

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gas replacing coal power stations. Yet you are adamantly opposed to

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fracking on the grounds that it's bad for carbon emissions, it clearly

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isn't, it's the main factor that is helping reduce carbon emissions, not

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just in the United States but in countries like China. If we want to

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reduce carbon emissions and have... You're not nine the fact? If we want

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to reduce carbon emissions and have a decent chance we need to look at

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the global picture not just the picture in one individual country.

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I'm talking about the biggest economy in the world. And one of the

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most polluting. The US shifting to fracture as and consuming less more

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polluting doesn't mean those more polluting fuels are not being used,

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are simply shifting elsewhere in the global economy. Fracking is opening

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up a new scene of fossil fuels, a new role of the dice. It's much less

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in terms of carbon emissions from... That's why carbon emissions are

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falling. The other part is nuclear... If coal is being used

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elsewhere... You are against nuclear as well which is the other form of

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clean his power. Scotland is well able to achieve a sustainable energy

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system without new nuclear. The two main things that can reduce carbon

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emission and you are against both of them. Look at what the UK is doing

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and you say it can be done quickly, I don't think so, it can't be done

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quickly and cheaply and there are hugely worrying questions about

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whether it can be done safely. But the allegation against you would be

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you are better at being Scottish Nationalists than being a green.

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I've heard that and other very silly allegations from the Conservative

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Party in recent weeks. They keep coming up with ever more creative

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and not very well done means online. Maybe with an element of truth? The

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argument from us coming from no one else in the political landscape

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about the transition away from fossil fuels and the investment in

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sustainable future that we need. We keep making that case. Harvie, thank

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you for joining us. -- Patrick Harvie.

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