The co-leader of the Scottish Greens says he hopes there’s “not very long to wait” before they can unveil details of a formal alliance between his party and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.
The two parties have agreed to discuss a “partnerships” plan to work together in government, but it would stop short of being a formal coalition.
The deal is expected to put at least one but probably two Green MSPs into government for the first time in junior ministerial roles.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday, Patrick Harvie said any deal with the SNP wouldn’t be put into practice until his party’s members had the chance to vote and approve it.
“The last session of the Scottish parliament showed the Greens making an impact as an opposition party, pushing the SNP out of their comfort zone” Mr Harvie told journalist Fiona Stalker.
“If we can do that in a more coherent way over the long term of this five year parliament we absolutely should be looking at how we can maximise that opportunity.”
What benefits would the deal have for each party?
The partnership agreement is described as a ‘New Zealand-style’ coalition because of the similarities to the situation in Aotearoa where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s centre left Labour Party govern in partnership with the Greens.
For the SNP it would give them a pro-independence majority government in power to counter Boris Johnson’s charges that Nicola Sturgeon failed to get a majority for independence in May’s election – despite Scottish voters again returning an overwhelmingly pro-independence parliament.
It would also allow the SNP to burnish their green credentials – which don’t always stand up well to scrutiny – ahead of the COP26 climate change summit being held in Glasgow at the end of the year.
For the Scottish Greens it would give them a voice in government, and they’ve been working to get the SNP to incorporate some of their manifesto pledges into the government’s programme during negotiations.
In short: each party needs to be able to sell this partnership as a good thing to their MSPs, rank-and-file members and potential voters alike, and show they are each getting some concrete benefits out of it.
Patrick Harvie says any deal would highlight his party’s record “of showing constructive opposition.”