Just in case my polemic on the SNP-Green deal appears wholly subjective,or way over the top, (see link below) here is the five-pound iron ball shot from journalist Kevin McKenna’s cannon, a man who became an independence believer late in his career, whereas I began in my teens and never wavered. Converts are usually the most fervent of supporters but demonstrates when it comes to faith in the SNP he’s the auto dealer’s inflated plastic mascot waving in the wind.
A TAWDRY DEAL
by Kevin McKenna
THE usual government glove-puppets in media and politics have scarce been able to contain their excitement at the prospect of the Scottish Greens’ supply-and-roll-over deal with the SNP.In the course of the next few days, we’ll be told that it’s ‘radical’.
This, though, is a new, highly-elasticated Scottish version of what is normally understood by ‘radical’. This is sleepy radicalism travelling slowly and quietly on a path of least resistance to what ails our neediest communities.
Power by gift
Let’s set aside for a few moments that a party which has never won a single seat in six Scottish elections over 21 years – nor even come close – has now managed to secure a couple of ministerial posts. One of their co-leaders, Lorna Slater, couldn’t even win enough support in her own party originally to gain a list seat in May’s Holyrood elections. She picked up only 36 votes but was elevated to second place on the regional list for Lothian.
But only after Andy Wightman, one of Scotland’s most respected politicians and an authentic environmentalist, was forced out for expressing reasonable concern about the Greens’ sinister views on women’s sex-based rights. There can only be one big personality in this party, you understand.
For many women in the SNP this tawdry arrangement with the Scottish Greens is a declaration of cold intent. Much of the misogyny that’s been directed at them for standing up for women’s protected characteristics in the debate over transgender rights has come via the sewer than runs beneath the Scottish Greens. This was most recently evident following a column written last week by the journalist Ruth Wishart in The National.
Ms Wishart – like Mr Wightman – had chosen her words and position carefully on the clear and present danger of the proposed Gender Recognition Act to women’s rights. Simply for expressing this view she was accused of being a transphobe in a co-ordinated and frenzied social media attack led by Patrick Harvie, the man who rules the Scottish Greens as his personal fiefdom.
It was bitter, juvenile stuff targeting a woman who was exposing social inequality and discrimination against minorities while Mr Harvie was saving up for his first bicycle repair kit.
All those women in the SNP waiting for their two-year-old complaints about threatened violence to be investigated by the party leadership will have to wait a lot longer. Their cause won’t be advanced by this deal with the Greens, some of whose members have been venting their rage against women for years on social media platforms.
Presumably, one of the SNP’s main reasons for concluding this deal is to safeguard any future vote on holding a second referendum on independence. As such, it could be argued that it’s in keeping with the settled outcome of May’s elections.
Wake me up, though, if there’s any sign of a referendum before the next Scottish election.Like the SNP, the Scottish Greens have adopted a supine approach to another referendum: ask for a Section 30; receive an inevitable knock-back; go away quietly; get Ian Blackford to screech about Brexit at Westminster and pledge to ask again “when the Covid is over”.
Thus the pandemic is imbued with a degree of elasticity similar to that which defines the SNP and Greens’ concept of ‘radical’. But then the art of being supine gets you into government and, as the SNP knows, let’s you stay there for a generation.
Radicalism in a tea cup
So, let’s examine more closely the radicalism of the Scottish Greens. This new deal merely codifies the arrangement between this pair that’s been in place for the last five years. In this period the Greens, in supporting the SNP, have nodded through the cuts imposed by Westminster. All of these have seen Scotland’s poorest communities most adversely affected, as reports by voluntary organisations in the field have consistently shown
Yet, the SNP have refused to mitigate these with the considerable devolved powers they possess. Instead, we had a raft of closures, such as the children’s ward in Paisley’s Royal Alexandria Hospital and the threatened closure of libraries and other community hubs in Glasgow.
In Glasgow, the council leader, Susan Aitken wants us to ditch what she describes as our reliance on state paternalism and accuses trade union leaders of behaving like fascists. Who knew that the spirit of Margaret Thatcher would emerge triumphant in 21st century Glasgow?
The Greens are complicit in this too, backing Glasgow’s implementation of savage cuts to the city’s social work budget, again to the detriment of the poor.
Other options were available which could truly have been described as ‘radical’; such as imposing a windfall tax on companies who saw their profits rise during Covid, or ‘radically’ increased taxes on millionaires. Here again though, they chose that well-worn path of least resistance, in this case a trifling increase of 1%.
More gas than a geyser
Even the Scottish Greens’ signature environmentalism is a gaseous and ethereal concept. Like the SNP they have a sweetly naïve belief that the big energy cartels can be made to transition to renewables if you give them enough financial sweeties. Nowhere are there truly radical demands that any moves towards transition occur without job cuts and pay reductions.
Of course, the only way to guarantee this is to support state ownership of all the means of energy production rather than parcelling it up in a cut-price auction for the cartels and global multi-nationals. When you play that game with capitalism there can only be one winner, as the Scottish Government’s lamentable betrayal of the BiFab workers at Burntisland showed.
Showy gestures like opposing licences in the Cambo oil-field might sound good over the hand-dived scallops in Glasgow’s fanciest restaurants in November but it will barely register in saving the planet from a full-blown climate crisis.
Only a commitment to dismantling the power structures that permit the world’s biggest corporations to produce most of the planet’s carbon emissions will do that.
But then this fluidity in the Scottish Greens’ concept of environmentalism is of a piece with the elasticity of their ‘radicalism’ and the biological fact of sex. Welcome to Scotland, the most flexible, wee make-believe country in the world.
‘SNP: A Hundred False Dawns’: https://wp.me/p4fd9j-qqr
Kevin McKenna is a columnist for the Herald newspaper where this article first appeared.