Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Ross Greer: “Scotland’s interests are best served as an independent nation”

Ross Greer first joined the Scottish Greens when he was 15-years-old and nine years later, he became the youngest ever Member of Scottish Parliament.

Three years on, he made national headlines after comments on Twitter, claiming that Winston Churchill was a “white supremacist” and a “mass murder.”

Greer’s tweet that made national headlines. Credit: BBC

A tweet that angered many and led to him to making an appearance on Good Morning Britain, in which Piers Morgan branded him a “nasty, smearing, derogatory young man.”

I recently spoke with the 24-year-old to get his views on Brexit and whether it could lead to a second independence referendum for Scotland.

Greer felt “anxiety” within Scotland of the increasing danger of heading towards a No Deal Brexit.

“There is a collective sense of horror at Holyrood at the car-crash playing out at Westminster and the genuinely devastating effects it might have on the people we represent if Brexit goes ahead in any form.”

He believes a No Deal Brexit could lead to “shortages of medicines, of food and much else” and that the Scottish government would then “be left to pick up the pieces and do the best we can to protect the public.”

The West Scotland region MSP is a strong critic of how Theresa May has handled Brexit negotiations and believes she will “likely go down as the most incompetent Prime Minister in modern history” due to her being “cripplingly indecisive.”

Ross Greer has been highly critical of how Theresa May has handled Brexit negotiations. Credit: HeraldScotland

“She may not be the cruellest, given Thatcher’s devastation of industrial and mining communities and Cameron’s sustained attacks on the disabled but the raw incompetence with which she has handled this has gone well beyond what most were expecting.”

He blames her lack of ability at keeping “Brexiteer extremists” within her party in check as the reason for her inability to reach a deal.

Greer is concerned about the impact that Brexit may have on universities and subsequently education sector within Scotland.

“Everyone benefits from the European funding which our colleges and universities receive and from the thousands of staff who come from elsewhere in Europe to contribute to Scottish higher and further education.

“Losing all of that will make us more isolated and will harm the world class status of our universities in particular.”

Asked specifically how students will be hit by Brexit, Greer believes that they “benefit colossally from European freedom of movement” but that there is more at stake than programs such as ERASMUS.

“On a wider level, given the expectation of the pound’s continued decline and the increased cost of essentials such as food and fuel, students will likely be some of the worst affected, given the minimal incomes that many are on.

“Any economic downturn will result in jobs being lost in the industries that many students work in, like hospitality, which are typically directed hit by people having less money to spend.”

The Scottish Greens are the only party other than the SNP to support an independent Scotland. Greer himself dropped out of the University of Strathclyde to work for Yes Scotland, so I wondered about his stance on Indyref2 after the complexity of Britain leaving the EU.

The Scottish Greens have been supportive of an independent Scotland since 2012. Credit: CommonSpace

He stressed that the “contempt shown by the Westminster government towards all of Scotland” has confirmed the Scottish Greens belief that “Scotland’s interests are best served as an independent nation with our own seat at the European table.”

“We didn’t vote for this and our vote to Remain hasn’t even been acknowledged, never mind reflected in the Brexit the Tories are trying to engineer.

“The Scottish Government have tried repeatedly and at every level to engage with the UK Government and they have been treated terribly in the process.”

He feels that Scotland has “unable to contribute towards the formation of a UK negotiating position and they have had to watch as the UK Government publishes position papers on areas, like education, which are Scottish responsibilities, as if neither the Scottish Government, nor Parliament nor our centuries old independent legal system exist.”

The Scottish people are hungry for independence, according to Greer: “We believe in independence and we will campaign for it based on the mandate voters have given us. I wouldn’t expect our unionist colleagues to do anything other than the opposite, after all that’s what they were elected to do as well.

“So why are they so offended that we are acting on our mandate, respecting the voters and pursuing a long-term goal, independence, which we believe will be to Scotland’s benefit?”

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