Patrick Harvie MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
6. Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

To ask the Scottish Government whether it is aware of the lack of funding affecting the men’s 10K event in Glasgow run by the Men’s Health Forum Scotland and what it can do to secure the future of the event. (S4O-03596)



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Patrick Harvie

I should declare an interest as someone who has participated in the 10K event for the past few years, along with thousands of other men, the vast majority of whom say that their participation in the event has encouraged them to be fit, healthy and active all year round, not just for the event itself.

After the incredible year that elite sport has had in Scotland, surely it would be a disaster if, on what would be this event’s 10th anniversary year, it ceased to exist. I urge the cabinet secretary to explore any options with contact organisations or other potential partners that could secure a future for this event.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

I thank the cabinet secretary for the advance copy of his statement, in which he claims that this is the first time in a very long time that a finance minister has been able to set national tax rates in Scotland. However, non-domestic rates are set centrally and—as has been confirmed in the budget statement—this is the eighth year in which council tax is subject to centralised control by the Scottish Government. If we want to ensure that local government budgets in the future are not subject to strain through the setting of national budgets, surely it is about time that council tax—an extremely regressive, unfair tax that has been unreformed since the beginning of devolution—and the financing of local government are made the subject of creative debate and we start to get some solutions to the problem. We cannot afford to fudge the matter any longer.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

I agree with the sentiment that Johann Lamont expresses about people’s engagement and our need to respect that and take it seriously. Does she agree with the general thrust of my amendment—whether she is technically able to support it or not—that we need people not just to be involved but to have a chance to shape the process and that we must avoid it becoming a stitch-up between political parties?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

I guess that, if we want to find the atmosphere that will allow us to explore the common ground, we all have a little way to go.

In a couple of days’ time, I will address my party’s annual conference. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to thank my party colleagues new and old, whether they have been involved in politics and activism for a long time or have just recently become engaged, for the spirit in which they conducted themselves during the debate.

Just as, over the years, I have found common ground on a range of different issues with the Labour Party, the Liberals, the SNP and even—once in a while—the Conservatives, my party had to find it in itself to campaign for the clear majority view in the party supporting a yes vote without ever disrespecting, or undermining the friendship that we have with, those in the party who voted no. There are people who voted no and have just joined the party as well, and I am really glad that our presence on the political landscape is still able to bridge that divide.

It was possible to take a clear, passionate and articulate point of view in the debate without disrespecting people who voted a different way. In my experience, the bulk of the debate was conducted in that way.

That wider public engagement—that re-engagement, that connection with politics—came about because there was a great big idea that transcended traditional party lines. It transcended the identity of any political party or political figure, large or small. The danger that we are in at the moment is that we could pull up the drawbridge again and say, “That’s that over and done with, the decision’s been made and politics is for politicians and the political parties again.” That is a profound danger and, whether someone voted yes or no, whether they are a campaigner, an activist, a journalist, a voter, or a writer about Scotland’s history or its future, it is a danger that we absolutely must avoid.

I am very happy that my party was invited to send a representative to the Smith commission, and that it has agreed that I am to be that representative. I am happy to have the chance to take part in that discussion, but let us be realistic. The breakneck timetable that has been decided on and which now has to be lived up to—it cannot be broken without betraying the trust of the people who listened to that promise—will allow next to no opportunity for people outside the political bubble to shape the process and the outcome, to have their say, be heard and make a difference. People turned out to vote in record numbers because they knew that the decision would make a difference in a way that all too often, many people feel, elections no longer do. If we want people still to feel that there is a reason to get involved—that their action and their voice can make a difference—we must avoid the view that the process is about political parties reaching a deal, being satisfied with the deal that they have made and simply implementing it.

There is still time. The time that is available to us for meaningful public participation is not the time in the run-up to 30 November, when Lord Smith will publish his report. The time that is available will come afterwards. A few weeks for people to fire in their views by the end of October, with a report being written by the end of November, is not enough time. However, it will be months before legislation passes through, presumably, both Parliaments to implement whatever comes out of the process. We should use those months creatively in ensuring that this is not just about meeting the needs of the people inside the political bubble; it is about taking away a little bit of power from ourselves—away from the political parties, big or little—and giving that power back to the public.

Is there room for common ground? Of course there is, but only if people on both sides of that yes-no divide are willing to move towards the common ground. We will not find the common ground if people dig in their heels and say, “This is what we’ve published already,” or, “This is what we need to live up to the vow.” If either side digs in their heels and says, “This is what has to happen,” we will not reach the common ground and we will have missed that opportunity.

If we begin with a discussion—not just between the five political parties and Lord Smith, or between the two Governments—on the purpose, as Johann Lamont rightly said, of sharing the wealth of the country more fairly, strengthening local communities and local economies to make decisions for themselves and speeding the transition to a sustainable Scotland, I believe that we will end up with a compelling set of powers that may not be independence and may well be beyond what some other people have already published but which will meet the needs of the people of Scotland.

I move amendment S4M-11116.1.1, to leave out from “a real opportunity” to “Parliament” and insert:

“an opportunity to deliver substantial further powers and responsibilities to the Parliament but that the commission must be followed by a period of meaningful public participation, given the severely limited time available for the public to engage with the commission itself”. 

16:43  

Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Patrick Harvie

We are in a new debate—we have turned a page and it is a new chapter; the independence referendum debate is over—and, this early in a new debate, tone is one of the most important things to get right. I have no doubt that there are folk on all sides who get it wrong as well as some on all sides who get it right. I agree very strongly with what Johann Lamont said about the need for everyone to do something that is quite difficult in politics—find ways to work together towards common goals. We are often very bad at that. I have to say, though, that to get the tone so right in saying that and then to laugh along at Hugh Henry’s speech, which was one of the most cynical that I have ever heard in the Parliament, is not—



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Patrick Harvie

I agree very much with some of the criticisms of SNP policies that Hugh Henry made—for example, I do not support the council tax freeze for many of the same reasons that he does not—but the tone of voice in which he made his comments was in no way designed to encourage people to work together and find the common ground. If we look at the failure of our political landscape to achieve, for example, a redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, we can see clearly that we need the powers and the political will to address that. Neither winning an election here nor winning an election at Westminster guarantees the political will or the outcome that we seek.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Patrick Harvie

No, thank you.

I refer to Jackson Carlaw’s comments, too, to underline the fact that I can agree with him on more than just popular television. He talked about scrutiny. There are already concerns about the way in which scrutiny works in this Parliament, which was not designed for a single party majority. Whether we like that single party majority or are members of an Opposition party, the Parliament was not designed for it. If we are to gain substantial additional powers, we need to enhance parliamentary scrutiny, and I assure Jackson Carlaw that I will make the case for action on that. That we cannot determine our own scrutiny arrangements—many of them are set in the Scotland Act 1998—is as bizarre as the fact that we cannot expel a member who is convicted of domestic violence or change the voting age to 16, as most of us now want.

There are aspects of our democratic governance that go beyond questions of economic powers and welfare. Those questions are all profoundly important and we need to discuss them all if we want to close the wealth gap that has grown so obscenely large throughout the UK. However, those aspects of our governance ought be resolved here in this Parliament if the people of Scotland are to have a Parliament that does not run the risk of being brought into disrepute as a result of our having a member who has been convicted of serious offences and being unable to do anything about it.

There are a host of other issues, from energy to equality to transport, on which not only we as politicians but a host of other voices are already chipping in and saying that we can do things better if we put those proposals on the table in the discussion about where devolution goes next.

I close—



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Patrick Harvie

—by making a plea to all members not to pull up the drawbridge and pretend that this is all for us to decide. We must put it out there to the wider public as well.

17:13  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green)

I have nothing to add to my entry in the register of members’ interests. Members might want to be aware that I am a member of a couple of organisations that occasionally send witnesses to the committee, including the Poverty Alliance and Oxfam.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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YesCarried

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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YesCarried

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
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NoDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Patrick Harvie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11186: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11153: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11116.1.1: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10957: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 12/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10724.2: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10307.2: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10217: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 04/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10185.3: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09926: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09872: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 29/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Patrick Harvie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22906: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22907: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22908: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03596: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22607: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22604: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22605: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22606: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22561: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22398: Patrick Harvie, Glasgow, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Question >>