Scotland should reconsider its relationship with the US under Trump, argues Patrick Harvie

Green Party MSP sends letter to Nicola Sturgeon urging “no form of political, operational or business support is given to any Trump enterprise in Scotland”

PATRICK HARVIE, the Scottish Green Party co-convenor and Glasgow MSP, has suggested a package of possible measures for reframing Scotland’s relationship with the United States away from the administration of President Donald Trump.

In a public letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson, Harvie urged the party leaders to join in formulating a plan of action to counter the growing threat of a far right emboldened by Trump’s presidency.

“Given that Trump courted the support of the far right during his campaign, and placed far right individuals into positions of power within his administration, we should not feign surprise at these events.” Patrick Harvie

Speaking of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where activist Heather Heyer was murdered in a white supremacist vehicular attack, Harvie wrote: “Given that Trump courted the support of the far right during his campaign, and placed far right individuals into positions of power within his administration, we should not feign surprise at these events. He is what we always knew him to be; what has changed is the overtness with which he now speaks and the degree of confidence he has given to his extremist supporters.”

Harvie, who in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election that brought Trump to power suggested refocusing Scotland’s relationship with the United States on states and cities which have voted against or expressed their opposition to Trump, wrote that the Scottish Government should ensure “no form of political, operational or business support is given to any Trump enterprise in Scotland”.

Harvie also discussed how to oppose far-right extremism in Scotland and the UK, placing emphasis on the importance of education and building dialogue with groups likely to be threatened by far right activity.

“There is a strong case for linking up with municipal governments in the US who are resisting Trump's dangerous and backwards agenda, taking inspiration from their example, and building networks of solidarity.” Chris Silver

Commenting on Harvie’s latest call for unified Scottish action against the Trump administration, Scottish writer Chris Silver told CommonSpace: “When the current cohort of Scottish political leaders were coming of age, sub-state efforts at non-cooperation formed a crucial part in Scottish politics by disassociating the nation's cities and regions from Thatcher's foreign policy agenda.

“In particular, this was the case with one of the most totemic foreign policy issues of the day - the anti-Apartheid movement. 

“So it's right that in that spirit we're now seeing a discussion take place among the party leaders about how such tactics could be revived. As I've argued, there is a strong case for linking up with municipal governments in the US who are resisting Trump's dangerous and backwards agenda, taking inspiration from their example, and building networks of solidarity.”

“The events of the last few days clearly have raised the temperature on this issue, and leave many people feeling that there’s got to be something we can do. We can’t just sit here and be outraged.” Patrick Harvie

However, when approached for further comment, Harvie said that there had not been much cross-party discussion of the issues he raised, particularly opposition to a state visit by Trump.

“Obviously, there’s been expressions ranging from concern to contempt for Donald Trump during the presidential campaign and since his election,” he said. “But the events of the last few days clearly have raised the temperature on this issue, and leave many people feeling that there’s got to be something we can do. We can’t just sit here and be outraged or offended, or make statements of condemnation.

“There has to be something practical we can do.”

CommonSpace approached the Scottish Government for comment, but had not received a response at time of publication.

Picture courtesy of Mark Taylor

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