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Scotland’s election is a turning point for Green politics and the independence movement alike

The Scottish Green Party has risen from the fringes to become a viable electoral force. Could it change the nature of Scottish politics—and independence?

By Dominic Hinde  

Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater campaigning in Edinburgh. Image: Colin Fisher/Alamy Live News

When the Scottish parliament held its first elections in 1999, the Scottish Green Party consisted of just a few hundred active members, holding its annual conferences in community halls and its branch meetings in members’ living rooms.  

Until 2014, many did not even know the party was in favour of independence. The Greens were looked down on by the established parties as little more than an environmental pressure group with no business in constitutional politics. When the two sitting Green MSPs took part in the launch of the official Yes campaign for independence in 2012, they were…

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