The unnecessary self-harm Green deal trap,engineered by our one-person SNP government

Jim Sillars

First, the political question: was the SNP government’s position in Holyrood so precarious that it needed to do a deal with a Green party which plays lip service to independence, but has many other priorities that, when put to the people  in the last election, and in a recent council by-election in Aberdeenshire, got a derisive level of support?

A government short of a majority has, of course, to make deals sometimes (but not all the time) with the opposition,especially on how it spends public money as distributed via the budget; and on some pieces of legislation. These are ad hoc arrangements, and do not compromise the government on its basic strategies, or the exercise of its substantial executive power. 

On economic policy, that is the government’s attitude and actions in its relations with the nation’s business base, the SNP is much nearer to Labour and the LIbdems than to the Greens – the latter being fundamentally opposed to the concept of economic growth and the maintenance of our present modern economic structures, and wish to demolish them.  Got a problem getting through the next budget?  Discuss giving more to housing with Labour, and more effective measures to prevent drug deaths with the Libdems, and get a deal that still leaves you with an intact solely-SNP based government. 

In a budget of around £34bn, there is plenty of scope for deals with Labour and the Libdems. Indeed a clever finance secretary would, in her first draft, have cash put aside, earmarked  for doing that kind of deal

Deals with others than  the Greens have been made in the past, all without inviting opposition parties into the heart of government (ministerial membership of the legislative committee and climate change committee, according to one newspaper leak) where they can exercise executive power and assert the right to a say in what will constitute the legislative programme, and will be  able to insist on a say on everything, because in the Green book climate change covers everything. 

Next: the structural flaws in the deal. It is not a coalition, therefore the Greens have no obligation to the principle of collective responsibility that binds other ministers. Does Nicola Sturgeon realise that she will place Harvie and Slater in the wonderful position of being able to pick their moments so that, when it suits them, they can with impunity disassociate themselves, or attack, the government they are an ostensible a member of?  What sanction will she have as head of government when, inevitably, the Green ministers demonstrate their independence? 

That is happening even before the Greens sit in their ministerial office. Although the two sides agreed not to agree on the matter of oil and gas, Patrick Harvie was boasting this past weekend that ‘We have changed SNP stance on oil’ (The Scotsman front page  23rd August).  

That question of responsibility, or none, is important. All governments are challenged with unexpected events. Some require immediate reaction.  Who is in charge tells us who is responsible. In our case which cabinet secretary will have the authority to handle a crisis? Which cabinet secretary are Harvie and Slater responsible to?  Or are they free-wheelers, not responsible to any departmental political head?  Does the usual chain of command and responsibility of junior minister to cabinet secretary not apply to them?  Can they by-pass every cabinet secretary and go direct  to the First Minister, even if what they are raising, or complaining about, cuts across a cabinet secretary’s responsibility? If so, then there is a recipe for friction within government.

The document setting out the deal declares it as ‘a leap of faith for both parties.’ That is an indulgence available only to fantasists in a small minority party, not something a serious governments should engage in. Having a leap of faith in the people it will bring into government but not actually control,shows a remarkable naivety. Having faith in the people directly responsible for the filleting and repudiation of Andy Wightman, one of the most honest persons ever to sit in the Scottish parliament, does not seem wise. 

But none of these important questions have been asked by the SNP National Executive, or it seems from the party members. They have been successfully diverted by Nicola’s absurd claim that this deal  will now make it ‘impossible’, when she gets around to writing to him,  for Boris Johnson to refuse a Section 30. 

Why this should be a “new” situation with which to confront Johnson is a puzzle. The deal makes no difference to the arithmetic in Holyrood. There are exactly the same number of SNP and Greens in the Holoyrood chamber now as before the deal was sealed. So, why would the entrance of Harvie and Slater as minsters in a non-coalition make Johnson change his mind? No disrespect to Patrick and Lorna, but I doubt if Boris has ever heard of them. Is this just more flummery, to keep the troops content? More time bought in doing nothing about actually campaigning for independence – a campaign that must build substantial support if we are to win a referendum?  

In passing, it may be worth remembering that in May this year there was a golden opportunity to put independence first and foremost in the SNP campaign. That didn’t happen. Nicola went out of her way to insist that whatever was said about the election issues, she was not seeking votes for independence. 

Media pundits have been speculating about which party this deal will damage. Some point to the fate of the LIbdems in the Cameron-Clegg coalition, believing the smaller party will always be the loser. That may be so in a coalition in which the minor party has to toe the line, and often get blamed for something it actually, privately, opposed.  

But this deal is not a coalition. It will allow the Greens to trumpet achievement when things go their way, and cry ‘it wasnae us’ when, as is inevitable for all in government, something goes badly wrong. If the media are able to finger the Greens for blunders, the SNP will also be caned for letting them in. This isn’t a heavenly pact Nicola has engineered: it is a political wasp’s nest, and she and the SNP will be badly stung by it. 

Just after the election in May, I told friends that it had solved nothing. The problems that were there before the election are still there; and that this SNP government of re-cycled ministerial failures, will unravel in the next 12-18 months. The deal will accelerate that process. 


Once again I am grateful to my friend Jim Sillars for outlining his view on the deal the SNP have signed with the Greens. Although Nicola Sturgeon claims she is still “consulting” after the event I suspect Jim is not on the consultation list. The reason? Jim Is known for his sharp mind and experience and he is not afraid to tell it like it is. She might not want to hear it but she would be well advised to read Jim’s article above. It may well highlight more problems ahead. There has been a dearth of quality analysis of this deal so I hope readers appreciate this honest and forthright article.

I am, as always



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  1. I didnae vote fur this an am no hiven it!

    If I had wanted the Greens to share power I would have voted for them but since I associate them with the gender anti science I didn’t .
    The only reason the SNP anti science bunch got my vote is because Alex Salmond asked me to.
    With hindsight – both his and mine- I would have spoilt my ballot paper in the 1st instance and voted ALBA as I did in the second.

    Liked by 16 people

    1. Looks like Sturgeon is going all out to destroy the SNP. But it doesn’t really matter whether or not she’s a covert unionist because she’s unwittingly helping to build the ALBA PARTY………which is fine by me!

      Liked by 10 people

    2. I did spoil my first vote, & am an ALBA member joined on the day of launch, but after voting the SNP for 54yrs of my political life, also a member and activist. I left the party in 2018, held on from 2015, when I “thought” there was something wrong, after sending 56MPs to WM there was never a mention of Independence by Sturgeon, & her lack of interest in fighting for Indy cost us 21Mps in 2017. But by 2018, I could not stand her, so left the party, Then the Alex Salmond stitch up happened.

      It was obvious to everyone that had an open mind that this was just that a STITCH UP.. Full of lies, full of corruption.

      What happened? How could she go from being that Lassie we all loved, deputy leader that held The ran circles around the Lab/Lib coalition when sitting in for Alex.. The hundreds of selfies taken with her, I loved seeing her on telly at the conferences listening to her was always up-lifting. Now I can’t even watch her at all, I have stopped tuning into FMQ I never watch her Covid updates. I see her as a traitor to our cause..

      So I just could not bring myself to vote SNP in May, I know it would have been a great thing to have that super majority, but the hatefulness the nastiness that oozes from Sturgeon, and the LIES we know she told to destroy Alex, was sickening. She has ruined the party, it can NOT be saved, because to do that it has to come from within, & IF there were or still are any decent MP/MSPs left in that party, I can’t see them. They have most definitely settled, looking after themselves, with their high salaries and great pensions.. So much for the members party..

      The branches are nothing but a talking shop these days, their voices ignored as well.

      And now we have the Greens as part of whatever nasty plan she has dreamt up again..

      I agree with Ian Lawson that her real intention is to destroy the yes movement, sickens the people to where they just won’t be bothered anymore. And in truth I have read so many people saying just that. Some even saying we might as well just vote TORY because they are NO worse than the SNP with Sturgeon as leader..

      I will always vote for Indy, I am living in hope that ALBA, ISP make a breakthrough, and destroy Sturgeon and her wokerati pals.. But this is Scotland, I hope, but do not have real faith in this country anymore. At 72yrs old I do not expect to ever see Indy in my life now, & I DO blame Sturgeon for that, she had majorities in two Parliaments, she had the change of Circumstance she kept on about.. And she allowed us to be dragged out of the EU.. She is a danger to this country not an asset..

      Liked by 20 people

      1. Things have in the past moved very slowly in politics, but that’s no longer the case. The support for Labour and Libdems suddenly collapsed in 2015 and switched to the SNP, as they were the real alternative to the clearly broken UK Party’s at the time.

        Now after seven years of SNP ‘inaction’, the SNP are also clearly broken and since the support that Labour and the Libdems lost in 2015 hasn’t been recovered by them (hardly surprising since they even more broken now than they were then), and with the SNP also clearly having a huge amount of dissatisfied ‘supporters’, I don’t doubt that the same sudden collapse in support for the SNP that happened to Labour and the Libdems in 2015 will happen quickly to the SNP when there is an alternative to support. And it looks like there will be. After all why would the SNP have been so desperate to remove Alex Salmond as a political threat.

        Expecting the SNP to be reasonable and work with Alba at the May election only highlighted the sheer maliciousness and power madness of the SNP now. For me that was the conclusive evidence that the SNP had completely lost the plot and could not be changed from within. For seven years we have relied on the UK screwing up pretty much everything they touched to keep the flame of independence burning brightly. The SNP did nothing during that time. Sturgeon took people for mugs and got away with it far longer than hindsight says she should have. I was a mug too, but fortunately it was only temporary and I’ve fully recovered. It’s time to focus on a real Party and on independence. That door barely needs a push to get it wide open. Roll on the coming elections and the chance to dump the SNP and get the grown ups back on the case for independence.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. I think it is all about perception. I’m not sure the general public will distinguish which bits have been left out of the coalition agreement. If it smells like a coalition, it is. If the cambo oil field goes ahead, the only credible option for the greens is to resign their positions. Saying “it doesn’t include that bit”, won’t wash – certainly not with the mainstream press.

    Both parties have declared a climate emergency, but I don’t think either party believes in such a thing tbh. Nicola certainly did it to boost her portfolio. She courts the big property developers, running roughshod over council planning decisions. She courts ‘big land’ in the form of Benny Higgins, and of course, Charlotte street partners An ‘emergency’ demands massive direct action and yet both parties have placed the gender recognition act above that, and independence (arguably the course of action which would allow massive climate adaptions and mitigation to take place), is some way down the list.

    So I don’t think the greens get off with this one.

    Liked by 10 people

  3. I’m thinking this is all about trying to make the GP the alternative vote to the SNP. All designed to try and prevent the rise of ALBA.

    The only ones who will be thinking this is a good idea is the gender punters. Those who know what sex they are probably aren’t so enthused.

    This will ultimately damage the SNP party and the independence movement, which is exactly what is seems designed to do.

    Liked by 15 people

  4. In years to come it will be recognised that Sturgeon is an abuser. She achieved her power by means of cleverly placed promises,maintains it thru more promises, bribes and persecutions.

    Abusers are devoid of any sense of responsibility. Every action and word is designed to maintain or enhance their grip on things. Lip service to independence being the obvious example with Sturgeon. The lies as truth that is now the message the MSM is trying to persuade us of is an example of her power.

    Meanwhile she paints herself as the victim, while her victims scurry round to appease her, wondering what they are doing wrong.

    They get away with it, abusers do, usually. If you, personally, have the means to bring down this abuser, yet do not employ this means, well, you have to live with that. It’s a hard road either way, for you.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Jim asks why did she do it? My opinion – she knows several MSPs would rebel or perhaps become an independent/defect to Alba over GRA reform. Whilst all but the Tories and a few rebels will vote for it, that would make her vulnerable to votes of no confidence on other matters.

    This is about HER political survival. This is HER sending a message to elected members – don’t even think about it. This agreement will taint both parties in the medium to long term and that is a godsend to those who want to clip Scotland’s wings and continue to drain her resources like a good little colony.

    “Green book climate change covers everything”

    In theory but for Harvie/Slater Queer theory covers everything. That is their priority. They take the votes of those who are concerned about climate change and will use them to deliver something else. Mmm, sound like another party we could mention!

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Why do some people think the world revolves around the modernisation of the gender recognition act? It is difficult to think of anything that is less relevant to most people’s lives.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Money. This has the backing of multi-billion corporations in the US. If you are a medico-pharma company you are always looking out for income streams that are stable and long term and where drug patents aren’t an issue. So life long medication and continual conveyer of folk wanting surgery = Goldmine.

        And if they detransition, money from reconstructive surgery and psychological therapies/medications means the income stream never ends.

        There aren’t enough people genuinely affected by gender dysphoria to make big bucks so convincing folk that normal dissatisfaction with your body (few of us are supermodels!) and the psychological issues we all faced during puberty mean that you are in the wrong body is a very lucrative money-spinner.

        Liked by 9 people

      2. Disagree entirely.
        The GRA reforms are entirely relevant to 51% to Scotland’s population.
        Especially if you’ve got a legal male CEO of Rape Crisis Scotland who thinks that victims are bigots for requesting a female Councillor. Or patients in hospital for objecting to sex offenders being treated in the same supposedly ‘women only’ ward. Or women in single sex prisons being housed with penis owners. Or even girl guides sleeping arrangements being effectively mixed sex to accommodate trans girls (aka boys) and trans women guide leaders. All with parents not being informed. I won’t even go into detail about why the SG’s schools guidance is a charter for grooming.
        If you think all of this is irrelevant to the lives of women and girls in Scotland, all I can suggest is you educate yourself on the issues.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. If that is the case, panda paws, this is criminal, or should be; it is certainly immoral, though clearly follows on from a series of crazy unwanted SNP policy agendas and abject failure with many others. What kind of UK/Scottish government is this? Like much else in Scotland besides, this seems part of an imported UK-wide (UK civil service/Stonewall) agenda which reflects our oppressive colonial reality and a complicit SNP elite.

        However this and other aspects of oppression coming our way via Westminster or Holyrood should not really surprise us given our continuing subordinate colonial status. As Cesaire put it: “a nation which colonizes, a civilization which justifies colonization – and therefore force – is already a sick civilization, a civilization which is morally diseased.. “

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I see it as highly cynical by both party’s. Of all the party’s in Holyrood, the Greens’ policies are the furtherest away from the SNP’s. I guess the point of the complete miss-match is that the SNP get greenwashed and the Greens get Clegged (assuming that their membership actually vote for it).

    Apparently, the Greens would have to vote for road-expansion. That would be their Clegg/education moment. Closely followed by Council funding cuts. Closely followed by no change to the Council tax. Closely followed by no change to land ownership, etc. etc. As for responsibility – they will be given that by the public.

    I think all the SNP have to do is say ‘We’re so net zero – look at our pet Greens’.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. If the SNP were smart, they’d give a Green minister responsibility for GRA and let the other party suffer any potential public backlash. However I fear the Sturgeonites are naive enough politically to want to take credit for it themselves.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Craig. I believe that is Sturgeon’s plan. The Greens will take the rap for the GRA reforms and she/her will absolve herself of any responsibility.
        The Greens would always have supported the new legislation but a formal agreement/coalition puts a new spin on it.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. The deal with the Greens is not about Independence, it is not even about Scotland’s future. It is simply further social engineering. It guarantees a “NO” vote in the unlikely event of a Referendum. It enables GRA and Hate Crime legislation to be rapidly pushed through Holyrood.

    It is simply a device to keep Sturgeon and her clique in power. Her once proud claim that Education was her key target was a play on words. The education she seeks in our schools is that driven by Stonewall.

    She never comments on a WMD based a few miles from Glasgow. She attends Pride Marches but never anti nuclear or Independence marches. It appears the latter issues are not suitable for the FM role/image.

    The Party democracy model is the one she seeks to impose on Scotland – “I know best and only those who agree with me can vote”

    She has surrounded herself with self interested career sycophants- adding the Greens is in line with that behaviour.

    Scotland should be shaped by the People of Scotland NOT by the manipulation of a few self appointed “Demi Gods”

    Her entire strategy lies on her belief we have no one else to vote for. She now beliefs the adulation of her clique is shared by the population.

    If you are still a member of the SNP and you joined the Party in order to achieve Scottish Independence – “Wake Up”


    Liked by 16 people

    1. “I know best and only those who agree with me can vote”

      That’s it in a nutshell!

      Also ‘Anybody but Alba’. Cosying up to the Greens is a continuation of the non-platforming of Alex Salmond and Alba, a way of further shielding herself from hard questions on independence and Scotland’s future.

      Liked by 6 people

  8. Fanon’s postcolonial perspective perhaps also explains the SNP’s mystifying policies and inertia on independence, and now the Greens collaboration, and their collective priorities, post their election under the guise of a ‘claim to nationhood’:

    “This fight for democracy against the oppression of mankind will slowly leave the confusion of neo-liberal universalism to emerge, sometimes laboriously, as a claim to nationhood.”

    Liked by 8 people

  9. I always found Jim an unnecessarily negative squeaky gate in the indy movement, but the older I get, the more I agree with him…

    Liked by 9 people

  10. Jim is spot on. At Holyrood, we have done deals with the Tories to get our budget through. Now we will have the Greens crowing about implementing policies which the SNP have had for years but not implemented. Land Reform, CT replacement, renewables. The SNP have the biggest group in Holyrood by far, they could accommodate an arrangement with any party to pass the Budget.
    As Jim correctly points out, this does nothing for the arithmetic on Independence nor will it ‘influence’ others. The Greens have been forced to accept ‘collective responsibility’ but for how long.
    Will be interesting if the membership reject the Green proposal. Will they be like the SNP and say it is non binding?

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Jim is right “it is a political wasp’s nest,” and you know what happened when you poke a wasp’s nest with a big stick. The SNP are in trouble, they know it. they have the local elections coming up, no real radical policies to get us out of this mess (like independence), no money and to do any big deals to push the economy forward, (Boris will look after all that) cuts to subsides when Brexit is played out, whilst the cost of living is soaring. all this and we still have coronavirus to cope with, so more long queues and waiting lists for minor operations for, at least, the next five years. I believe many are still willing to give her more rope – but wait until the Alba party have their conference in a few weeks time, How many more will abandon Nicolas sinking ship and sign up for independence, for you know what they say about giving someone more rope.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Politics would be unable to produce change, without compromise and negotiation. However, is it wise to negotiate and compromise with a party that thinks it possible to protect the natural world from man, while denying the biological nature of human females?

    If sex and race based discrimination did not exist, there would be no need for equalities law. Which would suggest biological difference is significant, and a gender-critical approach to law and legal practice essential to legal best-practice. No? Gender-critical does not mean trans-intolerant, though it has no time for the denial of biological sex differences, and their significance in establishing the potential for social justice.

    Intersectionality as Theory and Practice

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Take it from me folks, spelling your own name incorrectly might be embarrassing, but not as much as imagining you can support democracy through law which is grounded in ideology that’s hostile towards the theory of evolution. Though some obviously have the neck for it.

    Self-determination of peoples
    and sovereignty over natural wealth
    and resources

    Liked by 3 people

  14. This, in the draft agreement under Equality, Inclusion & Human Rights:
    “that we consider non-binary people to be members of the wider trans
    community, and will work to achieve improvements to their rights and
    wellbeing, along with those of all trans people. We support the Non-Binary
    Working Group and look forward to receiving their recommendations to
    improve non-binary equality next year. Following from that, we will develop an
    action plan by spring 2023, setting out how we will take forward their
    recommendations and our next steps in achieving equality for non-binary
    people.” wtaf anyone?

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Aye, the tactical pros and cons of inviting the Greens into government, but Patrick Harvie as a Minister of government, is simply ludicrous.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Yes, it seems crystal clear now. The FM has no respect for the history or traditions of democracy that made the SNP the most important political party in Scotland.

    Said traditions of democracy, fairness, creativity and compassion all trashed.

    There is hardly a paragraph of Jim Sillar’s analysis that doesn’t ring alarm bells. This isn’t a deal… This is a gift to come in to government given to a party that have been soundly rejected, except on list seats.

    How hard it was to read some of those statements above… What was done to Andy Wightman… And it is clearly laid out in his blog, was despicable. The pressures put on him and lies told about him make the Greens natural partners to those who so successfully sought to cancel Alex Salmond and his legacy.

    If JS thinks this Government will collapse in 12-18 months that is a real concern. If the UK does find a way to run Holyrood, or to bypass it, bet your life they will want a 4-nations approach to Scottish Water that will see it privatised, and the final touches of destruction on the NHS will be smoothly introduced.

    For anyone worried about the Scottish NHS, I would highly recommend reading Allyson Pollock’s blog-post… What is happening is the removal of universal coverage and preparations to bring in companies to make decisions in spending and then the US providers of service.

    Our next 12-18 months will be months of existential crisis.

    Liked by 3 people

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