The Greens & SNP found consensus – time for a Yes movement truce
Time for a Yes movement truce
This week I’ve noticed a lot of pointless arguments going on between independence supporters.
I say pointless because the thing they are arguing about is tactical voting in last year’s Scottish Parliamentary Election. I said I would give my second vote to Green at the time so I thought it was a subject worth arguing about back then. However, for the life of me I have no idea why people want to spend a significant amount of their time winding each other up about it now?
It will be years till the next Holyrood elections, have you nothing better to argue about?
I’ll give you a hint, Scotland is being dragged out of the single market despite voting against it. Britain is being dragged to the authoritarian right. The European project is becoming unstable. Climate change is getting to the point of no return. The Middle East is in flames. Division is rife. We have a lunatic in charge of the free world and a second independence referendum looks increasingly inevitable. Now is the time for the independence movement to ditch petty internecine conflicts. Especially conflicts that won’t have any relevance again for years.
It achieves nothing, attracts attention for the wrong reasons, plays into the hands of our opposition and only preaches to the converted. Can we just draw a line under it now and call a truce till the next elections?
A good example of the benefits of people with differing views working together versus the costs of not doing so played out this week in the Scottish parliament.
For weeks now there have been conversations had about whether or not the Scottish government would be able to pass their budget. None of the other parties agreed with the SNP plans on taxation. If the budget wasn’t supported by a majority then that could have resulted in new elections having to take place.
The situation was resolved as the Green party and the SNP came to a mutual compromise. While the other parties, instead of trying to compromise and despite not having many MSPs, tried to force their vision of a perfect budget. Those parties ended up achieving nothing, looking daft and they risked potentially bringing down the government.
The Greens and the SNP agreed to freeze the threshold for the 40p rate of income tax. This means that higher earners in Scotland will pay £400 pounds a year more than their counterparts in England. This means that there will be an extra £160 million available to local councils than there would have been under the original SNP budget.
The important thing to realise about this deal is that neither side got the budget they wanted.
If the Green party had gotten what they really wanted taxes would have increased more radically. If the SNP had gotten what they wanted then the 40p threshold would have risen with inflation so less tax would have been collected. Both sides compromised for the greater good. In doing so they gave the public a glimpse of how well consensus politics can work.
In our opinion that is great as we have been banging on for ages about how one of the benefits of the Scottish system is more representative, consensus politics. We have argued that showing the public that the system works better than the one at Westminster is a way to increase support for independence. The deal this week has shown the system in a good light.
The SNP/Green deal has also had the added benefit of making the unionist parties look terrible.
They achieved nothing, attracted negative attention to themselves, risked a political crisis and tried to cover it up with cheap soundbites that only appeal to their core support. You can see how ridiculous the Unionist parties sounded by looking at the contradictory accusations they flung at the Green party for having the audacity to broker a deal.
Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, accused them of abandoning their claim to be a left wing party.
While conservative blowhard Murdo Fraser accused them of being exactly what Dugdale said they abandoned.
The point is this deal doesn’t actually represent the Green position on tax. It represents a position somewhere in the middle of what the Greens and the SNP wanted. However, it is better than what Labour and the Conservatives achieved which was absolutely nothing except for a damaged reputation.
Those bickering within the independence movement should take heed of what the Greens and the SNP achieved this week. We need to work together to achieve our ultimate goal. There is a time for election voting strategies and it’s not one year into a parliament. At the moment, what is needed more than anything is a united front in a campaign to sell the benefits of an independent Scotland. One of those benefits is the type of representative, consensus decision making we saw in the Scottish Parliament this week.
The democratic deficit in the UK has never been more glaringly obvious. The Greens and the SNP showed us a glimpse of the solution to that. Our job is to sell the solution and we will only do that united.