By Ross Grahame and Rob McLaren
The co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie, visited Strathclyde Students’ Union on Friday on a campaign stop for his party’s UK general election campaign.
The event, organised by the Strathclyde Green Society, was hosted by The Yard and offered a more relaxed opportunity to meet political figures than the various other events being held across the Union. Harvie received a warm reception as he engaged with students and even competed against them in a few games of pool.
Though his party currently has no parliamentary representation in Scotland, Harvie himself has represented the Glasgow region in the Scottish Parliament since 2003, one of six Green MSPs elected across Scotland on regional party lists at the 2016 election.
Despite their lack of seats, the Scottish Greens have held an important role in the current Scottish Government, often providing the crucial votes to pass Nicola Sturgeon’s minority government’s budgets.
In the 2017 general election, Harvie stood in the Glasgow North constituency, achieving the third-best result for any Green candidate in the UK with just shy of 10% of the vote. However, a lack of funding meant the Scottish Greens were able to stand just five candidates in 2017, none of whom were elected.
This time around, Harvie’s party can count on a much greater field of candidates, although several local Green associations recently announced they would not contest key SNP marginal seats, for fears of splitting the pro-independence vote.
Aside from their support for Scottish independence, the Scottish Greens have emphasised economic issues – including a proposal to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020 – and have stressed the need to tackle the climate crisis.
Speaking to the Strathclyde Telegraph, Harvie emphasised that climate change is the most important issue for his party in this election.
Harvie said: “This has to be a climate election. It’s not okay to give the next UK government a free pass on the climate and let it think it doesn’t need to take the necessary action.”
The visit to Strath Union demonstrated that the Scottish Greens’ campaign is targeting young people in the upcoming election. Harvie added: “We think young people should have a role in politics, as candidates, as councillors, as MSPs and hopefully as MPs as well.”
Harvie also emphasised many young people’s “incredible wave of energy and enthusiasm, but also impatience” on environmental issues.
Alongside Harvie, several Scottish Green Party Candidates were present at the event on Friday, including Cameron Glasgow, the youngest parliamentary candidate in Scotland. Glasgow, 19, is running to represent the Livingston constituency in Westminster, a seat currently held by the SNP.
Speaking to the Strathclyde Telegraph, Glasgow said: “I’m proud to be the youngest candidate in Scotland because it means I can speak on behalf of the young people of Scotland. There is a lot of young people in Scotland who are fed up with the how system works”.
The UK General Election is being held on Thursday, 12 December. Still not registered to vote? You must do so before midnight on 26 November and can register online here.