Scottish Greens have launched their visionary campaign for a Yes vote in next year's independence referendum with the message that "a better Scotland is possible".
Self-government is not about isolation but transformation they stressed. It gives Scotland the chance to take a lead on radical policies within these ones that the current British state will not support.
Many in England and elsewhere who support a just, sustainable, green future recognise that regaining local, regional and in Scotland's case national control of decision making is crucial to this transformatory approach, the Greens declared.
Blair Jenkins of the cross-party Yes Scotland campaign hailed the "fresh thinking" the Scottish Greens were doing, and said that their vision-oriented contribution illustrated the variety and diversity of the independence movement.
Speaking at the well-attended launch in Edinburgh today (15 November 2013) were leading Scottish Greens including Alison Johnstone MSP, singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, MEP candidate Maggie Chapman, former BBC environment correspondent Louise Batchelor, and co-convenor and MSP Patrick Harvie.
As the UK’s politics tack ever harder to the right, it seems increasingly hard to imagine any Westminster government being formed which embodies the values Scotland needs, and deserves, said the Greens – while stressing that for them the choice in September 2014 is about politics, not identity or patriotism.
Scotland’s political culture is ready for the challenges ahead, given its track record in keeping the NHS whole and in public hands and maintaining the principle of free education, Patrick Harvie stressed.
The Scottish Government’s white paper is the starting point for the transition to new powers, but the the SNP Government must recognise that as yet they have no mandate for their policies in reserved areas.
From NATO membership to the level of Corporation Tax, they should not lock Scotland in to their preferred policies, unless the Scottish people give them a mandate to do so in 2016, was the message today.
The Greens, the Scottish National Party and some sections of the Labour Party agree on getting rid of Trident nuclear weapons, but disagree on NATO membership, which the SNP switched to back recently and Labour supports.
In the event of a Yes vote, the development of a written constitution should be led by a new constitutional convention, to be established before the end of 2014, with political parties involved but not in sole charge, the Greens say.
Following a Yes vote, Scotland should explore the possibility of expanding the role of local government, they added. Renewing and extending local democracy was critical.
Also, "We remain clearly of the view that Scotland will only be able to exercise full economic independence if we stand ready to develop our own currency." However, this was acknowledged to be a transitional process.
The public should also have a choice on the monarchy, Greens say, though for themselves they support an elected head of state.
The Scottish Green Party re-iterated its opposition to nuclear power, calling for the phasing out of existing nuclear facilities and a shift from a carbon based economy to a renewable one, in which "Scotland can take a decisive lead".
Alison Johnstone MSP stressed the importance of child care and supporting women in business, pointing out that women entrepreneurs contribute £5 billion to the Scottish economy.
There was also discussion of the role a Basic Citizens' Income could play in regenerating and restructuring economic relations and goals.
Patrick Harvie MSP explained: "The debate which Scotland has embarked upon is about far more than whether decisions should be made at Westminster or Holyrood. We have the opportunity to ask ourselves what kind of country we want to live in, what kind of society we want to build and what kind of economy we want to run.
"Scotland has the opportunity to take control of its future and build a political culture that’s capable of change. Scottish Greens will reach out to undecided voters and make the case for choosing a better future," he said.
* The Green Yes document can be read and downloaded here:
* More on Scottish independence from Ekklesia here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/scottishindependence