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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


including Holyrood and local elections that we put a huge amount


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


helping other to parties? Our colleagues in the branches will


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


there will be hugely important social and environmental powers


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


be made to the Scottish National Party about a progressive alliance


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


there should be some level of discussion with the SNP about


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


supporting them. If the most important thing is a sustainable


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


runway at Heathrow when public transport is underfunded and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


subsidising nuclear power while removing the support from the


renewable energy industry. Anybody who support the positive,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


constituencies that we are contesting and we are talking to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


believe it should, has the opportunity to ask yourself the


question again about independence, and resolve this conflict between


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


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


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


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


environmental issues but are deeply opposed to independence for Scotland


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


bonnet about it? I know there are such people and


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


clearly uncomfortably saying, a clear majority of our members


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


what to do with those hugely important social and environmental


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


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


green voice of the spinster for Scotland is more important than


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


quickly and cheaply and there are hugely worrying questions about


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


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


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


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


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


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


about the transition away from fossil fuels and the investment in


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


you for joining us. -- Patrick Harvie.