The SNP works best when it is “under pressure” as the minority leader of Scotland, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens has said.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Patrick Harvie made the case for his party at next year’s Holyrood election, claiming the Scottish Government could “get lazy” if ruling as a majority party.
Mr Harvie also said support for the SNP could wane as Scotland emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, despite recent comparisons between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon seemingly benefiting the nationalists.
He said: “The First Minister is being recognised, certainly in contrast with the Prime Minister, as having been capable of expressing empathy and speaking in whole sentences.
“A lot of people, if they’re asked by a pollster right now, will think that the Scottish Government is doing alright so they’ll stick with them.
“But I think that the closer we get to the election, I think we’ll be able to make the case that the Scottish Government, sometimes, is at its best when it’s under a bit of pressure.
“Sometimes it’s at its worst when ministers know that they can have it their own way, and I think that any political party will be that way, any government… is going to get lazy when they think they’re going to get everything their own way.”
Mr Harvie said ministers are forced to “raise their game” in minority administrations.
A recent Panelbase poll had the SNP on track for a majority at Holyrood next year, with the Greens set to pick up three regional list seats.
The same poll also showed a continued trend in support for independence, which has been at 54% in a number of recent surveys.
In recent days, former SNP MSP Dave Thompson announced the creation of the Alliance for Independence (AFI), a regional list party aimed at securing support for the movement.
Mr Thompson tweeted that AFI would “ask all small indy parties to stand under our umbrella and unite to achieve Indy”, adding that it would be a “formidable force”.
A spokesman for the Scottish Greens simply said “No” when asked by The National if they would join Mr Thompson’s new party.
Mr Harvie compared the upstart party to the RISE alliance which fought the 2016 election in an attempt to bring together a number of left-wing parties under one banner, but which gained just 0.5% of the regional list vote.
He said: “It didn’t get anywhere because it is hard work to set up something new, to reach out beyond a Twitter bubble and beyond people who are party activists for one side or another and to reach out to voters.
“We’ve been doing that for a long time and we’ve been growing, not just in terms of representation in the Scottish Parliament but building ward by ward and getting big cohorts of councillors elected in places like Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“It takes time, it takes hard work and I also think that it takes a clear political conviction, beyond just a binary issue like the constitution.”