Green Party: Andy Collins

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Photo Credit: The Saint
Photo Credit: The Saint
Photo Credit: The Saint

What experience do you have, especially in North East Fife?

I’ve only been here four and a half years, I moved from Oxfordshire to Scotland because I knew that Scotland were having a referendum and I’d assumed they’d vote yes. I wasn’t happy with my children growing up in England, because the Westminster politics are broken. When it comes to politics, I got stuck into the referendum on the Yes side. I did stand once for the local council as a Lib Dem in Oxfordshire a long time ago.

What are your three policies most relevant to students?

Student fees are obviously an issue and the Scottish Greens are in favour of free education and that’s crucial. The second thing is that it’s one thing having free education, but you also need to have somewhere you can afford to stay and that’s a serious issue I imagine for you. I’m not a small picture person, I’m a big picture person, for me it’s just about democracy it’s as simple as that. The UK is not a democratic country in any normal sense of the word, an independent Scotland would be. The First Past The Post System is not democracy, we’re the only country in Europe that uses it, almost any other form of voting is better. The UK is a two-party system because of the voting system, I think people are starting to realise that’s the root of the problem, these two parties are so similar, there is no one who can steer a different path.

Why aren’t you running as an SNP candidate if you campaigned for an independent Scotland?

People have a choice at this election, they can either vote for a Westminster party, Tories, Labour or Lib Dem, and there’s no difference between them, or they can vote for a Scottish party, and if the Greens weren’t standing there would only be one Scottish party, the Scottish Nationalist Party. So I’m here to give people a choice. There are differences with the SNP, one key Green policy is that power should be at the lowest level possible where the decision can be made. The SNP have been centralising some of the services like the Police, the Fire Service. We need to devolve power back down to communities, in Community Councils, to people.

International students now have to pay in order to use the NHS, what are the Green Party’s opinion on this?

I think it’s disgraceful. It’s all just pandering to the UKIP agenda. If someone’s coming here to study they’re part of our society and they should get NHS treatment.

Is it fair that RUK student pay fees in Scotland by EU students don’t?

We believe in free tuition frees, but you can’t just make that free for everyone, because then Scotland’s universities would be flooded by people from south of the border. This will need working through when Scotland gets independence. Free tuition is a key policy of the Scottish Green Party but we have to charge the English because we wouldn’t be able to sustain our universities without that.

You still seem confident about independence, do you envision another referendum soon?

No I don’t, not soon, but people are waking up to the fact that they were duped into voting no, they were lied to by the Westminster politicians and that’s upset them. We had love bombs from Westminster but as soon as the referendum was over we were being insulted, ignored, being told that if we elect so many SNP MP’s they shouldn’t be allowed to vote on English matters. They don’t want us in the union, they just want our money and they don’t really love the Scots at all. I’m talking to the Westminster establishment which is rotten to the core. It’s not just the politicians, it’s the judiciary, it’s the police, it’s media obviously, and the whole lot are just there to keep themselves.

How can you say there’s no difference between the main parties when there are very big, clear differences?

No, because they’re all part of this neo-liberal capitalist model, that businesses are better at running things than governments are, and they want to privatise everything. There are certain things that need to be run by the government, profit has no place in the NHS, or in the railways which we want to re-nationalise.

The Green party want to raise the minimum wage, but would you keep the separate minimums for under 21s and 18s?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t want a minimum wage across the board. The Green Party does have a policy to deal with this issue altogether which is the citizens income, the minimum wage is just temporary while we’re in the UK. I think if we got out of the UK we probably would move towards a citizens income.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Why aren’t you running as an SNP candidate if you campaigned for an independent Scotland?”

    What a dreadful question. Did the Saint completely miss the fact that Yes Scotland represented multiple parties, organisations and individuals? Groups involved included the SNP, the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Socialist Party, Labour for Independence, and non-party political groups such as Women for Independence and Business for Scotland, to name just a few.

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