Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised for “taking a nationalist gamble with people’s jobs” by bringing the extremist Greens into the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Conservatives accused the First Minister of risking Scotland’s recovery from the Covid crisis by handing ministerial positions to Green MSPs who do not believe in economic growth.
Shadow Covid Recovery Secretary Murdo Fraser said the SNP’s move was “economic vandalism.”
On Tuesday, the Scottish Parliament will vote on Green MSPs moving from opposition to join the government.
The Scottish Conservatives have said they will oppose Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater becoming ministers because of their extreme economic views and the Greens’ attempt to retain opposition status while joining the government.
Under the Scottish Green party constitution, the SNP-Green deal is defined as a coalition. Former Green MSP Andy Wightman has also said it is “functionally a coalition”.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, Murdo Fraser MSP, said: “In the middle of the biggest economic crisis in our lifetime, it’s deeply worrying that Nicola Sturgeon is turning to anti-jobs, anti-business extremists.
“It is pure economic vandalism to hand power to Green MSPs who have admitted they want to limit growth and hold back Scotland’s economy.
“Nicola Sturgeon is taking a nationalist gamble with people’s jobs. She is bringing in radicals, all in the hopes of try and ramping up her push for another divisive referendum.
“By offering the extremist Green Party a seat at the table, Nicola Sturgeon has shown her desperate position after failing to secure a majority in the last election.
“Only the Scottish Conservatives will stand up and challenge this divisive coalition of chaos and provide a real alternative to end the obsession with independence.”
Here are some quotes from Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie:
- Lorna Slater has said that the oil and gas industry must ‘transition or die’. ‘The option is transition or die, and that's not me saying that, the planet is saying that. You can't argue with the physics and chemistry of planetary geo-science. You must transition or die, we all must transition or die.’ (PA, 12 October 2019).
- Lorna Slater said that we need to stop prioritising ‘endless’ economic growth. ‘At the moment I think the future of the UK is looking a bit bleak. I think we can paint a better picture for Scotland as a small, normal, ordinary European country where we are going to invest in public transportation, transition our economy away from oil and gas to more resilient sustainable green industries, where we can really prioritise wellbeing and health over endless GDP growth.’ (The National, 25 October 2020, link).
- Lorna Slater implied that claiming oil and gas is a sustainable sector makes you a ‘climate change denier’, adding that we should ‘leave it in the ground’. Responding to tweet from the Scottish Affairs Committee, Slater tweeted, ‘No it flipping isn't unless you are a climate change denier. It isn't safe to burn fossil fuels, we need to #leaveitintheground and develop our many renewable resources’ (Twitter, 13 June 2018, link).
- Lorna Slater said she wants Scotland to have a ‘totally different tax structure’. Slater tweeted ‘Income tax i.e. tax on work is a shit tax. Rents, dividends and inheritances are all income but people pay less tax on those things than you pay on your work. An independent Scotland needs a totally different tax structure. Land value taxes, carbon taxes, luxury goods taxes etc’ (Twitter, 28 March 2021, link).
- Lorna Slater has said it ‘isn’t possible to run out of money’. Discussing economic policy, Slater tweeted ‘shortage of money? The UK has a sovereign currency, it isn't possible to run out of money. This narrative is crippling our economy’. Responding to suggestions that her strategy would cause mass inflation, Slater tweeted ‘the issue isn't one of a lack of money, but of management of inflation…Let's talk about effective inflation management strategies then, rather than deficits’ (Twitter, 5 March 2021, link; link).
- Patrick Harvie said it was wrong to have an ‘ideological belief in the pursuit of endless economic growth’. ‘Successive UK and Scottish governments have shared an ideological belief in the pursuit of endless economic growth and the idea that wealth trickles down from the top. In fact, this destructive and toxic belief continues to be at the heart of the Tory and SNP visions for our economy, and is shared by both Labour and the LibDems.’ (Patrick Harvie Speech to Scottish Green Conference 2020, 23 October 2020, link).