THE co-leader of the Scottish Greens has given his verdict on John Swinney’s pledge to “unite for independence” during the SNP’s election campaign launch.

Speaking in Edinburgh on Thursday, the First Minister was asked what preparation was under way with regards to actually beginning independence negotiations with the UK should his party win a majority of Scottish seats on July 4.

He pledged to lead a campaign of “unity", in messaging which could be read as a plea to Yes supporters to back the SNP rather than other pro-independence parties.

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“I’m now your First Minister because I’ve got a wider mission to unify. I’m in the unity business for a purpose,” he said.

“To unite around a better way of doing politics, to unite Scotland to protect our national health service, to unite Scotland to strengthen our economy, to unite Scotland to eradicate child poverty, to unite Scotland to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard. To unite Scotland for independence.”

Speaking at the campaign launch for the Scottish Greens in Glasgow, Harvie (below) was asked by The National if he felt this messaging was fair.

The National:

He replied: “I mean, there is I think a contradiction in the current SNP position in that history has shown that you can have a pro-independence majority with more than one independence party – and that it’s when political parties choose to work together on their common ground that they make more progress.

“And what we’ve seen in the last few weeks and months is the SNP choosing to dump that, to break up a progressive, pro-independence majority government for Scotland.

“I think that’s a clear misjudgement on the part of the SNP and I’m deeply worried that the result of that will be that the progressive policies that were in the Bute House Agreement being watered down, delayed or ditched.

“I’m determined that we do what we can to prevent that from happening but I think it will show voters who believe in a green vision for Scotland’s future that you’re only going to get that when Greens are in the room.”

Message to Yessers

Asked what his message to Yes supporters thinking about voting Scottish Greens was, Harvie said his party had always been clear that independence “is not an end in itself, it’s a means to achieving a fairer, more equal, more inclusive and greener economy”.

“That’s the only bright shining future that Scotland has. If we see the scale of transformation and investment that we need in that sustainable future, Scotland’s future is bright,” Harvie added.

He also said however that the SNP “are back to their old ways of trying to face in both directions on climate and the fossil fuel industry”.

“It’s clear that Scotland needs a whole-hearted commitment to a green and sustainable future, a just transition and an urgent scale of acceleration of climate action to make up for those years of lost ground and the missed climate targets.”

Keir Starmer’s ICC response

Speaking at Scottish Labour’s campaign launch in Glasgow, Keir Starmer (below) repeatedly refused to say a Labour government would uphold any international arrest warrant issued for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

The National:

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for the Israeli leader earlier this week, as well as for defence minister Yoav Gallant and three Hamas leaders.

Asked whether he would honour any arrest warrant, Starmer only said: “I will deal with that when the court has made its decision.”

Harvie was asked if Starmer should commit to honouring the warrant should it be issued, to which he replied: “I think a great many Labour voters have been turned off Labour now in the last wee while because they see this equivocating, trying to face both ways, their refusal to take a clear principled position.

“The UK should be recognising the state of Palestine now, should have an arms embargo against Israel, and I don’t see any real prospect of a clear principled position like that coming from Keir Starmer.”