Scottish Greens would hold independence convention ‘if members ask for one’, says MSP
Gillian Mackay MSP told The National that while there are calls for a wider convention on independence, following the SNP’s announcement that the party will hold one in June, it’s “up to individual parties” what they do in terms of events.
Previously, Alba leader Alex Salmond wrote to the SNP and Scottish Greens calling for a civic-lead independence convention with all three parties and others from the wider movement.
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However, SNP policy convener Toni Giugliano defended the party’s decision to decide their preferred route to independence and that they “must have space” to do so.
And, on Friday, SNP leadership contender Ash Regan said that while she welcomed the independence convention, it should be “opened up” to the wider movement.
For the Scottish Greens, they would only hold a convention in independence strategy if their members requested it.
Asked if the party would consider holding their own summit, Mackay (pictured below) said: “I think we probably would, as a party.
“Again, very much up to, we’re very much member-led, and if our members want that then I’m sure that’s something that party HQ would put into motion.
“But I think, certainly for me, what we do every day is about getting towards an independent, Scotland.”
Mackay argued that Scottish Government portfolios, such as the role of the Minister for Independence and those that are “outward-looking”, are key to highlighting that work to the public.
“I think while the independence conventions and having that focus on campaigning and where we’re trying to get to, and really enthusing and energizing members, we potentially need to be clearer about how we weave that getting towards independence through our daily work, and what we do in the chamber and all those other things to make it clear to people that this is not just something we do at weekends.
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“That this is something that is integral to where we take the country and how we move forward.”
Mackay also argued that it was “up to individual parties” to decide what they think is right for the membership.
“I think we rightly wouldn’t want the SNP or anyone else dictating to us what we can and can’t do in terms of party events,” she added.
“I think we certainly as a whole Yes movement do need to sort of keep an eye on what we’re doing as an entity, but we do also need to recognize there are different parts and many different viewpoints to the Yes movement as well.”
Mackay added that she was not dismissing the need for the wider Yes movement to coordinate.
“I think there’s an element that we do need to talk with ourselves on occasion – that’s how things get organized,” she said.
“And certainly if there’s something different or new that parties are looking to do, some communication with members, some training, things like that, we do those things from time to time too.
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“If they want to talk to themselves about that, then that’s okay.
“But we need to take those principles, those thoughts,that enthusiasm and energy out into the wider campaign too.
“I don’t know that we always need to be one happy family because that’s not the reality of daily life.
“I think that that has the potential to look really artificial and staged as well.”
Mackay argued that the focus for pro-independence campaigners is to get “organic support” and “maintain it”.
She said: “The poll that’s out that’s 53% support [for Yes], we need to maintain and grow that and a lot of that is about talking outside, but with a level of coherence and a level of what different parties, groups, whatever, want to see from independence and offer those views and hear those too.”
We also told how Giugliano warned Yes activists that if the SNP lose the next General Election, independence would be “off the agenda”.