The Scottish Green Party (Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba; Scots: Scots Green Pairtie; branded Scottish Greens) is a green political party in Scotland. The party has six MSPs in the Scottish Parliament as of 2016. After the 2017 local elections, the party also have 19 councillors in six of the 32 Scottish local councils.
|Co-Leaders||Patrick Harvie MSP|
|Co-Leaders in the Scottish Parliament||Patrick Harvie MSP|
Alison Johnstone MSP
|Headquarters||17b Graham Street|
|Youth wing||Scottish Young Greens|
|Political position||Centre-left to left-wing|
|European affiliation||European Green Party|
|International affiliation||Global Greens|
|UK Parliament affiliation||None,|
Cooperate with (but are independent from) the Green Party of England and Wales and Green Party in Northern Ireland
|Scottish seats in the House of Commons|
0 / 59
6 / 129
|Local government in Scotland|
19 / 1,227
|Part of a series on|
The Scottish Green Party was created in 1990 when the former Green Party split into separate, independent parties, for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England and Wales. The party is affiliated to the Global Greens and the European Green Party.
Party membership increased dramatically following the Scottish independence referendum, during which it supported Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom.
The Scottish Green Party is fully independent, but works closely with the other green parties of the United Kingdom and Ireland: the Green Party of England and Wales, the Green Party in Northern Ireland and the Green Party of Ireland. It is a full member of the European Green Party. The party currently has six MSPs and nineteen councillors. At the 2005 Westminster election, the party contested 19 seats and polled 25,760 votes, they returned no MPs. Its highest share of the vote was 7.7% of the vote in Glasgow North. In the European Parliament election of 2004, it polled 6.8% of the vote and did not return any MEPs. The party lost five of their seven seats in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.
According to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission for the year ending 31 December 2009, the party had an income of about £90,230 that year, an expenditure of £61,165 and a membership of 1,072. Within days of the Scottish Independence referendum being held, the membership swelled to more than 5,000. Launching its manifesto for the 2015 General Election, the Scottish Green Party stated a membership of over 8,500. By October 2015 the party were holding their biggest ever conference, with their membership standing at more than 9,000.
The Scottish Green Party hold conferences every Spring and Autumn, where members from throughout Scotland attend to deal with all the business of the Scottish Green Party, with delegates voting on conference motions and policy motions.
Between conferences, the Party Council provides the forum for strategic decisions, policy discussions, oversight and branch coordination. The council is composed of two delegates from branches, usually branch co-convenors, representative and special interest groups. The council is currently led by Council Co-Convenors, Chris Ballance and Mags Hall.
Party Executive Committee
The party's day-to-day administration is supervised by the Executive Committee which is currently led by Executive Chair, Ross Greer. This committee also oversees the work of the elected National Committees; Finance & Fundraising, Elections & Campaigns, Policy, Membership and International.
The party is made up of branches, who usually cover one or more local authority areas, and meet on a regular basis.
The Scottish Green Party have five self-organised groups:
- Scottish Young Greens
- Women’s Network
- Rainbow Greens
- Disabled Network
- Scottish Green Party Trade Union Group
The groups have additional meetings and discussions which are separate from the main party meetings.
The Scottish Green Party originated as the Scottish branch of the Ecology Party, founded in 1978 by Leslie Spoor. The Ecology Party became the UK Green Party and it remained a constituent party until 1990, when the Scottish Green Party became a separate entity. The separation was entirely amicable, as part of the green commitment to decentralisation: the Scottish Green Party supported the referendum on Scottish independence and opposed Britain's entry into the European Common Market in its 1989 European election manifesto, claiming that the Common Market would cause mass unemployment for Scottish workers, force Scotland to move towards a tourist-based economy, enable the destruction of local food markets and cause catastrophic environmental damage – for this reason, the party campaigned for a Europe-wide confederation of individuals on global issues affecting the environment.
The Scottish Green Party has its most prominent presence in the Scottish Parliament, which is elected using the additional member system of proportional representation. In the first election to this Parliament, in 1999, the Scottish Green Party got one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) elected by proportional representation, Robin Harper, the UK's first elected Green parliamentarian (George MacLeod had previously represented the UK Green Party in the House of Lords). On 1 May 2003 the Scottish Greens added six new MSPs to their previous total.
In the 2007 elections, the Party lost five seats in Holyrood. However, in the council elections, taking place under the new Single Transferable Vote voting system, they gained three Councillors on the City of Edinburgh Council and five Councillors on Glasgow City Council. On 11 May, the Greens signed an agreement with the Scottish National Party, which meant that the Greens voted for Alex Salmond as First Minister and supported his initial Ministerial appointments. In return, the Nationalists backed a climate change bill as an early measure and promised to legislate against ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth. The SNP also agreed to nominate Patrick Harvie, one of the Green MSPs, to convene one of the Holyrood committees: Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change.
On 28 January 2009, the two Green MSPs were instrumental in the defeat of the Government's budget, though a slightly amended version was passed easily the following week. On 31 May, Cllr Martin Ford, formerly a Liberal Democrat, joined the Scottish Green Party in protest against the plans by Donald Trump to develop on an important environmental site at Menie. On 13 October 2009, he was joined by fellow former Liberal Democrat Cllr Debra Storr. Both Councillors continued to serve on Aberdeenshire Council as members of the Democratic Independent group. At the 2012 Scottish local elections Councillor Debra Storr stood down to concentrate on her professional career. Councillor Martin Ford was re-elected, this time standing as a Scottish Green Party candidate.
After the Scottish Government announced the referendum on Scottish independence, a campaign group called Yes Scotland was established to promote a vote for independence. Leading members of the Scottish Green Party actively supported and became involved with the campaign from its foundation, with Patrick Harvie among the members of Yes Scotland's Advisory Board. In November 2013, Edinburgh councillor Maggie Chapman succeeded Martha Wardrop as the party's female co-convenor. In December, former convenor Robin Harper said that he would "absolutely vote No" in the independence referendum and offered his backing to the Better Together campaign, putting himself at odds with official party policy and its present leadership. Going on to say that he would like to help the Better Together and that there was a "significant minority" of Greens who were opposed to independence. Uniquely amongst the parties in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Green Party is open about and comfortable with the differences of opinion in the party on the constitutional issue, with co-convenor Patrick Harvie pointing out that "even the very firm supporters of independence within the Greens tend to be more strongly motivated by other aspects of our political agenda..."
In February 2005 the party announced plans to field candidates in 19 seats in the 2005 Westminster elections. In February 2015, the party announced that it would field candidates in 32 seats for the 2015 United Kingdom general election with 40% of their candidates being women. In 2017 the party generated some controversy by standing only 3 candidates at the general election. In the 2019 general election they contested significantly more seats in 22 constituencies. They failed to win any seats and lost their deposit in every contest.
In summer 2019, a newly adopted constitution by the party leads to the 2019 Scottish Green Party co-leadership election, where new co-leaders are nominated. Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater were elected as co-leaders with 43.1% and 30.2% respectively.
While associated mainly with environmentalist policies, the party has a history of support for communitarian economic policies, including well-funded, locally controlled public services within the confines of a steady-state economy, is supportive of proportional representation and takes a progressive approach to social policies. The party is also strongly opposed to both nuclear power and the Trident nuclear programme. It is the only party other than the Scottish National Party (SNP) to both support Scottish independence and have representation in the Scottish Parliament. However, unlike the position taken by the SNP in the 2014 independence referendum, the Scottish Green Party supports Scotland having its own currency if it were to become an independent country. The party has said this would be in order to establish full economic independence, rather than being tied to the pound sterling.
According to the party's website, the Scottish Greens are committed to forming a sustainable society and are guided by four interconnected principles:
- Ecology: Our environment is the basis upon which every society is formed. Whenever we damage our environment, we damage ourselves. Respect for our environment is therefore essential.
- Equality: A society that is not socially and economically just cannot be sustainable. Only when released from immediate poverty can individuals be expected to take responsibility for wider issues. Our society must be founded on cooperation and respect. We campaign hard against discrimination on grounds of gender, race, sexuality, disability, age or religion.
- Radical democracy: Politics is too often conducted in a polarised, confrontational atmosphere and in a situation remote from those that it affects. We must develop decentralised, participative systems that encourage individuals to control the decisions that affect their own lives.
- Peace and nonviolence: Violence at all levels of human interaction must be rejected and succeeded by relations characterised by flexibility, respect and fairness.
|Leaders of the Scottish Green Party|
|2004–2007||Robin Harper||Shiona Baird|
|2008–2011||Patrick Harvie||Eleanor Scott|
|2019–Present||Patrick Harvie||Lorna Slater|
All of the Scottish Green Party's Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have been elected under the list or "top-up" system of representation in the Parliament.
- John Finnie is an MSP for the Highlands and Islands region. He sat in the previous session of parliament both as a member of the Scottish National Party, and after leaving that party over its change in policy on NATO membership, as an independent.
- Ross Greer is an MSP for the West Scotland region.
- Patrick Harvie is an MSP for the Glasgow region and was elected male Co-Convenor of the Party in November 2008.
- Alison Johnstone is an MSP for the Lothian region.
- Mark Ruskell is an MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region. He previously represented the region between 2003 and 2007.
- Andy Wightman is an MSP for the Lothian region.
- Shiona Baird for North East Scotland. Baird served as party co-convener from 2004–07.
- Chris Ballance for the South of Scotland.
- Mark Ballard for the Lothians.
- Robin Harper for the Lothians. Harper was the first elected Green parliamentarian in the UK and was the party's convener from the time of that position's creation in 1999 until 2002. He later served as one of its co-conveners from 2004–08.
- Eleanor Scott for the Highlands and Islands. Scott was party convener from 2002–04, and a co-convener of the party from 2008 to 2011.
- John Wilson, a member of the Greens, sat as an independent MSP in the 4th Scottish Parliament, having left the SNP because of its change in policy on NATO membership. He stood for the Greens in the 2016 election, but was unsuccessful.
Prior to the 2007 elections, the Party had only ever elected one councillor at local level: in May 1990, Roger (aka Rory) Winter, representing the Highland Green Party (Uainich na Gàidhealtachd), was elected in Nairn as Scotland's first Green regional councillor to the then Highland Regional Council. Cllr Winter broke away from the Greens in 1991 and continued his four-year term as an Independent Green Highlander.
The party made its first major breakthroughs at council level in the 2007 local elections, electing 8 councillors between Glasgow City and the City of Edinburgh Councils.
At the 2017 local elections, the party returned a record 19 councillors, including elected councillors to Orkney Islands Council for the first time. However, the party lost its sole councillor on Midlothian Council.
|Year||First preference votes||Share of votes||Seats won||Additional Information|
8 / 1,222
|First ever councillors elected. Not involved in any governing coalition.|
14 / 1,223
|6 more councillors elected. Part of coalition on Midlothian Council.|
19 / 1,227
|5 more councillors elected.|
First councillors in Orkney and Highlands councils, highest number of councillors in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
|Year||Votes||Share of votes||Seats won||Position||Outcome||Additional Information|
1 / 129
|5th||Opposition||First election to the re-constituted Scottish Parliament. Robin Harper becomes the first elected Green parliamentarian in Britain.|
7 / 129
|5th||Opposition||The party's largest ever parliamentary group.|
2 / 129
2 / 129
6 / 129
|4th||Opposition||The party's highest number of votes in a Scottish election. Elected the youngest ever MSP, Ross Greer.|
|Year||Share of votes||Seats won||Additional Information|
0 / 72
0 / 59
0 / 59
0 / 59
0 / 59
0 / 59
|Year||Votes||Share of votes||Seats won||Additional Information|
0 / 8
0 / 7
0 / 6
0 / 6
0 / 6
|The highest vote share the party has achieved.|
- Green politics
- List of advocates of republicanism in the United Kingdom
- List of environmental organisations
- Radical Independence Campaign
- Renewable energy in Scotland
- Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
- European Federation of Green Parties
- Green Party in Northern Ireland
- Green Party of England and Wales
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A hereditary monarchy is incompatible with Green principles of democracy, equality and fairness. We favour an elected Head of State.
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