SCOTTISH Greens MSP Ross Greer has hailed the party's conference that took place in Dunfermline over the weekend as a "turning point", with several key announcements from party co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie.

He added that the party had a "moral duty" to Scottish independence.

At the conference, there were announcements on a cruise ship levy, free bus travel for asylum seekers and a carbon land tax, which Greens MSPs are now tasked with implementing in Holyrood.

There was also a particularly spicy debate on the council tax freeze announced by the SNP, which nearly saw the end of the Bute House Agreement.

Ross Greer, MSP for West Scotland and Scottish Greens spokesperson for education, finance, constitution and external affairs, told The National that the Greens had made their opposition to the council tax freeze “very clear”.

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For Greer (below), the conference showed a turning point for members who have “started to see real change” since the Scottish Greens entered into the Bute House Agreement with the SNP in 2021.

The National: Ross Greer leading a session at the Scottish Greens party conferenceRoss Greer leading a session at the Scottish Greens party conference (Image: Scottish Greens)

“There’s a real sense we’re achieving what we set out to do. This conference has shown the real confidence of our members," he said.

“Compare it to the mood at other party conferences, it’s been nothing like that.”

There are currently seven Scottish Greens MSPs in Holyrood, and 35 councillors.

They, along with other party members, gathered in Dunfermline to pass policy motions including proposals for a new Gaelic university and support for autonomy in Shetland.

Why do Scots need the Greens?

Although the Scottish Greens only represent 5% of the Scottish Parliament, Greer believes the atmosphere at this year’s conference reflected the pride and hope of members for the future of Scotland.

“It’s shown that we’re able to live out our values of people and planet,” Greer said.

For Greer, this year’s conference has also made the case for why the Scottish public need the Greens in government.

Pointing towards recent policies from the Scottish Greens on tenants’ rights and proposals for free school uniforms for pupils in Scotland, Greer said “the most vulnerable people in Scotland need us".

Many of the policies passed since 2021 have come from the SNP’s partnership with the Scottish Greens, including free bus travel for under-22s and free school meals for pupils in P1 to P5.

But where does independence come into this?

Scotland’s future is independence

Greer stated that many of the things the Scottish Greens wanted to achieve were simply not possible under devolution.

Greer pointed towards the recent announcement by the UK Government of 27 new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

This comes after the UK Government supported the development of the controversial Rosebank oil and gas field in the North Sea.

According to analysts, Rosebank could produce emissions equal to that of 400 million people or 90 countries.

The Scottish Greens have vehemently opposed decisions to grant new oil and gas licences, condemning it as “self-destruction”.

“We’re just constantly mitigating decisions that have been made by the UK Government,” said Greer.

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“We want a system that protects rather than punishes.”

Greer said there was a “moral obligation” to fulfil independence during a climate and cost of living crisis.

When asked how the Scottish Greens were helping to further the case for independence, Greer said: “The kind of Scotland we want to build is only possible with independence.

“It’s about building support for independence by connecting it with other issues, like the cost of living, like the environment.

“We know these issues are all connected.”

His comments came after co-leader Slater said that independence isn’t a “red line” preventing the Scottish Greens from doing a future deal with Labour.

She had told the BBC that the party was "open to conversation wherever we have points in common" – but that in the case of Labour, it was hard to know what they actually stand for.