Focus on regional list votes helps Greens, says Harvie

The focus by other parties on regional list voting in the election will ultimately help the Scottish Greens, said Patrick Harvie.

Mr Harvie also said there was now a “strong core” of Green voters who saw his party as their first preference.

Meanwhile, co-leader Lorna Slater said the Greens offered a “significantly different” vision for a Scotland independent from that of the SNP.

The two co-leaders spoke with the PA news agency during the election campaign.

Greens are no longer the second preference for many voters, said Mr. Harvie (John Linton / PA)

Mr Harvie said voters were increasingly aware of how they would use the two votes in successive Holyrood elections.

He said: “A lot of times it feels like the Conservatives and Labor campaigns are modeled on the Greens ‘campaign in 2003, when we were the only party saying’ give us your regional vote, that is. whatever we want “.

“Now it looks like everyone is doing this kind of voter education work.

“I think it helps us a lot because we have spent those 20 years reminding people that this is the most effective way to get the Greens elected.”

Mr Havie said it could no longer be assumed that Green voters supported the party as a second preference.

He said: “I think it is very clear that this could have been the case in 1999 or even in 2003.

“But over the years there is now clearly a strong core of Green voters who are first and foremost Green voters.”

Green voters wanted to see more ambitious action on climate change, he said, as well as a focus on “what independence would be, rather than seeing it as an end in itself.”

He said: “It has nothing to do with wrapping yourself in a saltire for the Greens, either as a party or for our voters.”

A recent poll suggested that there is a mixed picture regarding attitudes towards independence among Green voters, although the party itself favors it.

Mr Harvie said the vast majority of members of the Scottish Green Party were in favor of independence, adding: ‘We always have a responsibility both to convince more Greens of independence, even if not than a minority who are skeptical at the moment, but also to convince more people concerned about independence that a green society is the goal of independence. “

He said that despite speculation, neither the SNP nor the Greens had “floated” the idea of ​​a coalition between the two parties after the elections.

However, in the event that another party invites them to form a coalition, the Scottish Green Party has a formal process involving its National Council and party members to decide which way to go – meaning it’s not only a decision of Mr. Harvie and Mrs. Slater.

Scottish local elections 2021
In case of coalition negotiations, the issue is not just Mr Harvie and Ms Slater’s business (Andrew Milligan / PA)

Discussing how the coronavirus had affected his own campaign in Glasgow Kelvin constituency, he said face-to-face interactions with voters had been more limited.

However, having activists more accustomed to online video conferencing has been “incredibly powerful,” he said.

Away from the “toxic trash fire” of social media politics, he said the other Glasgow Kelvin candidates had developed a collegial attitude towards each other.

Earlier in the campaign, Ms Slater spoke about the green vision for an independent Scotland.

She said the Greens were against capitalism rather than being “anti-business”, saying Scotland should have a lot more co-ops than businesses.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
Lorna Slater said the Greens were against capitalism, not against business (Andrew Milligan / PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said the Greens’ manifesto focused on electing Holyrood rather than independence.

However, she hoped the Greens could contribute to a new economic model of independence.

She said: “I think our view of what an independent Scotland looks like is very different from that of the SNP.

“That’s why it’s important to have more than one party involved in the independence discussion.

“Independence does not belong to one party.”

She continued: “I want to make it clear that the Scottish Greens are not anti-business but we are anti-capitalism. For example, I would make cooperatives the norm.

“Why should our high streets be dominated by companies that take profits abroad while paying their employees as little as possible?”

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