AN INDEPENDENT Scotland could provide a “fantastic example” of the kind of radical change needed to save the planet, according to leading environmental campaigner George Monbiot.

Speaking ahead of the Festival of Politics in Scotland this week, he said it was clear that when there was another vote, it would result in independence. Urging Yes campaigners not to give up, Monbiot said an independent Scotland could lead the way on crucial issues, including the climate crisis.

“It is absolutely essential not to abandon the campaign for the many reasons so many brilliant campaigners in Scotland have mentioned, but also because I think an independent Scotland could really lead the way on a lot of crucial issues, including climate issues,” he told the Sunday National in an exclusive interview to be published tomorrow.

“We have seen the extraordinary extent to which Scotland is now receiving its electricity from its renewables and we have also seen a great transformation of the Scottish relationship with land and, through that, the revitalisation of communities, all of which are exemplary and provide a fantastic model which other countries can follow.”

Monbiot pointed out that the Land for the Many report, which he edited for the Labour Party, drew on the Scottish experience.

“While acknowledging it has not gone far enough we were able to use it to press for similar and more far reaching models for the rest of the UK and I think an independent Scotland could take these matters much further.

“Let’s face it, in political terms this country is dead from the neck down. If you look at it on the map it is all happening in Scotland and there is not much happening in the rest of the UK at moment.”

Monbiot cautioned that independence was not “a panacea” but could still “provide a fantastic example for the rest of the UK and the rest of Europe on how radical change can happen”.

Even without independence, Monbiot said the Scottish Government could provide a good example.

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“If one or two governments begin to go all the way it will encourage others to do so,” said Monbiot, who calls on humanity to stop averting its gaze from the destruction of the living planet in his latest book, This Can’t Be Happening.

“My hope is that because Scotland has got such powerful social movements - some of the most powerful in Europe - they could push the Scottish Government to take far more radical action than it has so far been prepared to take. Independence or not, that government could provide a good example for others to follow.”

He said even though the 2014 referendum had not resulted in independence, one of the great achievements of the Yes campaign had been to show how to create a mass movement in the 21st century with “great panache”.

This demonstrated, he said, the effectiveness of mobilisation and now only mobilisation on a massive scale across the globe would create the political will to stop complete climate and ecological breakdown.

The full interview with Monbiot will be published in tomorrow's Sunday National.

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