Scotland Election 2016

Greens and UKIP target 'breakthrough' Holyrood results

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Image caption David Coburn and Patrick Harvie were interviewed on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme

The Scottish Greens and UKIP are both targeting "breakthrough" results in May's Holyrood election.

UKIP's David Coburn and Patrick Harvie of the Greens were interviewed on the BBC Sunday Politics Scotland programme.

Mr Coburn said winning one Holyrood seat would be a breakthrough for UKIP, while Mr Harvie hoped for one from each of the eight regional lists.

Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale, Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson will all appear on the programme in later weeks.

Mr Coburn, who tops UKIP's Highlands and Islands list and launched the party manifesto alongside UK party leader Nigel Farage on Thursday, said UKIP had taken a "tactical decision" to focus only on list votes.

He said: "I'd like to break through, that's the main thing. From what I can see in the polls we could win seven seats.

"That would be nice, I'd be very happy to have them, but if we get any seats I'll be delighted.

"We've got so many people coming over from the other parties. Labour is imploding in Scotland, and many of them can never stomach voting for the Conservatives and are voting for us.

"As for the Scottish nationalists, a lot of them are very frightened about Europe - they see what happens to smaller countries in Europe if they don't agree with the EU about austerity and suchlike."


Mr Coburn said his party's ambition was to have taxes in Scotland "no higher than they are anywhere else in the UK", saying he wanted to create jobs to aid the economy.

He also said a UKIP activist who was pictured with his face painted black had been "extremely stupid", but said the issue was one for the party's disciplinary committee.

He replied that "it ain't in the UKIP manifesto to sit in your bathtub naked, playing the guitar, dressed as a clown".

Mr Coburn added: "UKIP are the most liberal party you can possibly imagine; we're a libertarian party, you can't get more broad-minded than that."

Image caption Mr Harvie said the Greens could potentially win a seat in each of Scotland's eight regional votes

Scottish Greens co-convenor Mr Harvie said his party had a "genuinely realistic chance" of winning an MSP in each of the eight regional lists for the first time in May's election.

He said: "I think that would be a fantastic step. I certainly think we could get more than one in some regions.

"If we're in that ballpark then we're potentially approaching double figures, and for the first time we'd have an MSP representing every voter in Scotland."

'Critical decision'

Pressed on his party's plans for a 60p top rate of tax, Mr Harvie said he didn't believe that high earners would move away to escape higher rates.

He said: "I don't buy the argument that the majority of people even in that higher band are the kind of selfish individuals who would uproot their families and disappear, presumably not taking their current job with them, simply because they'd have to pay a bit more tax on the highest element of their income.

"There are certainly opportunities for high-income and high-wealth people who are motivated purely by greed - and I don't think that's the majority - to hide their income.

"This is a problem for every country. There's a great deal we have to do to stigmatise that kind of behaviour."

Mr Harvie said the current status quo was a "race to the bottom", saying only the Greens were offering truly "radical" policies.

Each of the party leaders are to be interviewed on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme, with Labour's Kezia Dugdale, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Conservative Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie of the Lib Dems all due to appear in the coming weeks.

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