September 18th 2014 | Scotland

Yes Scotland Response: What would independence mean for Scotland’s standing in the world?

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Worldwide attention will focus on Scotland on September 18th and the days that follow. Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games gave us the opportunity to show off the best of Scottish spirit; now we must show the world that this democratic vote can be an exciting, engaging and peaceful event.

A Yes vote would open up a wealth of opportunities to redefine how a small country with a big heart approaches its global responsibilities. Whereas successive UK governments have clung on to tired notions of being a global powerbroker, Scotland can use its international experience and expertise more effectively.

Ditching Trident is clearly the most totemic change that a Yes vote will ensure. We don’t just want to relocate it; Scotland’s decision could tip the balance against renewal by the UK Government, and in turn reinvigorate the global disarmament movement. The Scottish Greens will continue to oppose membership of the NATO nuclear-alliance and call instead for Scotland to reject the UK’s aggressive projection of military power around the world. Scotland could add greatly to the efforts of the Nordic countries in international mediation, becoming a global centre for conciliation and conflict resolution.

We’ll have the opportunity to reshape the humiliating and brutal asylum system, which has become focused on rejecting as many people as possible rather providing asylum for those who need it.

The Scottish Government’s international development budget must be clearly focused on tackling the root causes of injustice abroad, and must be combined with policies to promote global trade justice, and tackle unjust historic debts that keep some countries in poverty.

Scottish inventors of the past gave the world the bicycle, the telephone and the light bulb and now we must promote and share innovation in areas such as renewable energy and life sciences.

Scotland will be able to take its place as a member of global bodies tackling the economic, social and environmental challenges the world faces. Crucially for Greens, Scotland has an opportunity to give leadership on climate change. All fossil fuel producing countries are going to have to overcome the obsession with extracting everything they can. By ending the industry’s tax breaks for exploring new reserves that we can’t afford to burn, Scotland could instead fund a transition to renewable energy that works in the public interest instead of only benefiting a handful of multinationals.

Patrick Harvie MSP