Nicola’s Gonna Eat Her Greens

We need to roll up our sleeves and practise the grown-up politics of negotiation, co-operation and consensus building.

That was Lorna Slater’s public response, in her kinda cute mid-Atlantic accent, to Nicola Sturgeon’s invitation to snuggle up to her. In private I’m sure this Very Nova Scotian and Patrick Harvie are already giddy at the prospect of biking to some Scottish Government department with their vegan lunch boxes tucked in their rucksacks. Minister for Recycling Press Releases Headlined ‘IndyRef2 Imminent’? Who could possibly turn down such an opportunity to tackle climate change? Just think how many Caledonian Pine forests have been needlessly felled over the past seven years to maintain false hope among all those glaikit souls still firmly under the First Minister’s sleekit spell.

The announcement of “exploratory talks” between the two pretend pro-Indy parties at Holyrood might have come as a surprise to most Scottish political pundits, but there wasn’t an ounce of originality in this machination. If copyright protection applied to political spin, Ms Sturgeon could be getting sued by the premier of New Zealand. In November last year, Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party signed an identical “cooperation” agreement that stopped short of coalition but granted the Green contingent in Wellington two ministries outside Cabinet level. What was remarkable about that pact was that it wasn’t at all necessary: the NZ PM had just led Labour to a landslide election victory so didn’t need to cut a deal with anyone. Her justification for doing so was that she hoped it would provide an extra layer of stability for her second term in government. 

Ms Sturgeon is clearly in far more need of such a safety net than her Kiwi counterpart, having failed for the second time to match Alex Salmond’s achievement of an outright majority. A deal with the Scottish Greens would give her a six-strong cushion. Something she desperately needs as she knows the remainder of her time in office could be extremely unstable. As jaggy exclusively revealed the moment the polls closed on May 6 (and the Sunday Times later confirmed), a handful of SNP MSPs stood poised to defect to Alba. They planned to cross the floor at Holyrood within weeks of being sworn in. Their aim was to apply immediate pressure on the FM to push for indyref2 without any further dithering or delay. But this secret plan was scuppered when Mr Salmond failed to win a seat. It has, however, only been placed on the back burner. Even some friends and admirers of the First Minister are beginning to fear they’ll never see independence in their lifetimes. 

If Alba can get its act together at its inaugural party conference in the autumn, providing a welcoming refuge for a more muscular form of nationalism, it might not need Mr Salmond’s presence at Holyrood to trigger the creation of a breakaway faction there. In fact, a fresh new Alba leader untainted by any scandal could conceivably make defections more likely. Even a mini exodus from the SNP would quickly call the FM’s position into question. It would certainly weaken her negotiating hand if she had to turn to other parties at that point to shore up her administration. Better to buy Green support now at a bargain price.

Nicola has never shared power with anyone in her own party, never mind any other other party

If Mr Harvie and Ms Slater fall for the Covid Queen’s royal invitation to “come out of our comfort zones to find new ways of working for the common good” then they really are green, as in naive and easily deceived or conned. Nicola Sturgeon has never shared power with anyone in her own party – apart from its chief executive (who also just happens to be her husband) – so she assuredly won’t be ceding any smidgen of autonomy to seven members of another political gang. Nor will any of them be stealing any of the limelight when she does her inevitable global grandstanding at the upcoming COP summit on climate change in Glasgow.

None of this will stop a deal being struck in “structured talks”, supported by the civil service, which are are expected to conclude before the next parliamentary recess in a month’s time. If the Scottish Greens were split into the same factions as their German counterparts Die Grünen used to be, Patrick Harvie would definitely be among the realos rather than the fundis. Like those weary pragmatists, he long ago lost his political purity and is eager to move from protest to power. A list MSP for the Glasgow region since 2003, this could be his one and only opportunity to sample ministerial office. After almost two decades on the back-benches at Holyrood, he will leap like a kitten at anything dangled before him.

The Scottish Greens will soon live to regret that. The former LibDem leader Nick Clegg could tell them what happens to the junior partners in a coalition government. So could those members of Ireland’s Green Party who lived through their party hitching itself to Fianna Fáil from 2007 to  2011. “To them, we were the bit part players who were not expected to change the script,” reflected Dan Boyle, an experienced Green parliamentarian. The title of his book about that loss of political innocence summed up the painful predicament he and his colleagues got themselves into – Without Power or Glory. All the blame for the SNP Government’s failures to meet its glorious carbon reduction targets through concrete actions will henceforth be attributed to the Scottish Greens’ selling out to them.

The fact that they aren’t entering into a formal coalition with the SNP won’t save them from misery and rejection at the next Holyrood election. However they choose to describe their dalliance, the Greens will be seen to have crawled into bed with the decadent and debauched nationalist chieftains. Swings against incumbent governments are the norm in multi-party democracies. The fact this hasn’t happened to the SNP in three successive Holyrood elections doesn’t mean they can continue to defy the laws of political gravity. When they next seek a mandate to govern Scotland, in 2026, the Nats will have been in power for almost two decades. Their default argument that they could govern far better, if only they had sufficient levers of power to do so, will definitely have worn mighty thin by then – especially if they’ve failed yet again for a further five years to wrest those vitally needed powers from Westminster. 

A drubbing at the polls for her party won’t be any problem for a final term FM who will doubtless have landed herself some plum international sinecure well before then. When the SNP leader stated yesterday that “we are setting no limits on our ambition” what she meant was that she was setting no limits on her personal ambition. Her name is Nicola Sturgeon and her favourite words are I, my and me. The moment they fall for her First Ministerial flattery, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater will be her Greens. And she’ll eat them for breakfast.

29 thoughts on “Nicola’s Gonna Eat Her Greens

  1. Difference between the other coalitions mentioned is that the PR in Scotland and in particular the D’Hondt method means no government is in majority, it’s designed for coalition! Clegg had his time in the sun but it completely scuppered the Lib Dem’s subsequently. SDP will always need a party to support them .

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    1. Actually, vote for vote, the system in Scotland is much more likely to produce a majority government than the one in NZ. If we used the NZ system here, the SNP would have got nothing on the list at all. Indeed, the NZ formula suggests that the SNP were already 8 or 9 seats ahead of their overall entitlement through the constituency vote.

      The NZ system awarded Ardern additional list seats because she won her list vote MUCH more convincingly than Sturgeon won hers.

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      1. Just for completeness, if the NZ system has been in operation in Scotland in 2011, the SNP would have been right on the borderline of a majority; either 64 or 65 seats rather than than the 69 seats it actually got.

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  2. Harvie and Sturgeon are both juvenile student-intellect-level ‘politicians’. I truly do think there is a demarcation zone between youth and adulthood for people who have children. Neither of these risible self-serving narcissists has ever achieved it, or will ever achieve it, ‘indulgent auntie and uncle’ rubbish aside.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Sturgeon will milk the COP summit for all it’s worth to her image. The appalling irony is that if she’d pushed hard for indy from 2016 then we’d likely have been free of Westminster by now, and forging ahead with renewable energy projects.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “A handful of SNP MSPs stood poised to defect to Alba. They planned to cross the floor at Holyrood within weeks of being sworn in.”

    No doubt true, but a kick in the teeth for their constituency voters regardless. I can’t summon up much enthusiasm for con merchants who get themselves voted in under a false flag.

    The ends never justify the means. We’ve just been through all of that with the “Wheesht for Indy” arguments.

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    1. ‘con merchants who get themselves voted in under a false flag’ Well that’s a description of the SNP so why shouldn’t SNP MSP’s jump ship to a party that actually wants independence when it becomes clear that the promises were just carrots. Some may still plan to do that at crucial points within the next 18 months.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I guess you might change your tune if your current squeeze announced his/her decision to transition within a month of hooking up with you.

        Claim my analogy is false if you wish. I don’t agree.

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      2. You are quite correct Kit.
        Regarding independence, the SNP is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
        Time will allow more people to see this.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. “Regarding independence, the SNP is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.”

        Yep, The Scots have now returned six pro-independence majorities in Scotland since 2011 – 3 @ Holyrood and 3 @ Westminster – and still oor daeless national representatives daes naethin aboot independence. Instead they aye tak their vows tae the union an the union shilling and look for constitutional instruction from Downing Street. And before anyone says we (also) need over 50% of the vote, that was achieved a couple of week back.

        Which begs the question: How many nationalist majorities does it take for Scottish independence? 10? 20? 100? In any other ex colony one nationalist majority would be sufficient.

        There is nothing in the party tin noo but it probably disnae maiter because they nivver dae whi’ts written on the tin onywey!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point Neil, I’d like to see the AUOB become a more proactive demo march rather than its current bagpipe playing, happy clappy, flag waving tourist attraction that its become. If Sturgeon looks like breaking her promise on holding an indyref, I’d also like to see the AUOB demonstrate outside Holyrood, Bute House and even in Sturgeon constituency to get the point across.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Sturgeon might also be tag-teaming with the Greens to give her party a bit more credibility with the public on environmental issues, and of course she’s an advocate of the Greens gender issues as well.

    What I want to know come 2023 and no groundwork has been laid for an indyref, will the Scottish public be savvy enough to know that they’ve been duped. I mean the English public were duped (well most of them were, I refuse to believe England is populated by a majority of bigots) by Johnson and Brexit, will we (present company excluded of course) suffer a similar fate?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. your tag team phrase is very apt for what we are witnessing with regards to indy
      Remember the wrestling on a Saturday afternoon, where we had tag teams?
      Only the wrestling was more convincing than the current SNP rhetoric

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is becoming increasingly clear what a pantomime the Scottish administration (which pretends it is a government) is. More PR fluff about ‘what the people want’, although I don’t remember anybody saying they wanted a coalition, or voting for one. If the Greens looked and acted like a party that was serious about climate change and even more serious about the major structural changes we need, then this would be something. Sadly, there is no evidence that they are, and of course if they were they would not be getting anywhere near the nice office jobs Nikla is lining them up with.

    Of course a serious party would demand a quid pro quo for entering such an arrangement. The most obvious one would be real land reform, a concept once promised by the SNP and quietly relegated to a few PR initiatives. The last thing the now neoliberal SNP want is to upset the big landowners, as Fergus Ewing famously declared (“over my dead body”). But they won’t, when you can hear the desperate panting of Harvie for a salaried position with a nice brass plate on his door. This is the man, let us not forget, who said he was not that bothered about independence, it wasn’t a priority. So he should fit in like a glove with the similarly inclined SNP hierarchy.

    Even better, he is more exercised about the great gender debate than most of his constituents or the general population. Why? Because it is something they can pass legislation on to burnish their credentials as progressive social warriors, while ignoring the difficult stuff like the aforementioned land reform, education, health, jobs etc. After all, they can just parrot Nikla and blame all that stuff on the evil Westminster Tories, while posing as right on cheerleaders of the Twitter sphere. They do love gesture politics, the biggest gesture being that they are a ‘government’, while at the same time conceding that Westminster control all of the big decisions, and thus affirming that they are a glorified parish council. But on spectacular wages and benefits. Who wouldn’t want a slice of that?
    Don’t rock the boat, eh, Patrick?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That baldy Windsor guy apparently had talks with Gordon Brown, Nicola Sturgeon and Alistair Carmichael during his week long propaganda tour. So no meeting with any Scottish nationalist then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I wrote in a previous post titled “Independence Within the UK?”, I feel a New Union Treaty coming on. Only wondering now whether I should have bothered with the question mark.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are probably not wrong, Rob, and this would ‘fit’ postcolonial theory in the sense that a Scottish “Independence Within the UK” delivered by the SNP seems awfully like Fanon’s dominant national party and its pampered bourgeois elite making their own “accommodation with colonialism”. Unfortunately such a compromise rather depends on the forlorn “hope that the almighty power of the colonizer might bear the fruit of infinite goodness” (Memmi).

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    2. “had talks with Gordon Brown, Nicola Sturgeon and Alistair Carmichael”

      So, Wills chatted with a busted flush, a flustered bush and a crusted lush. Bet it went well…

      Liked by 1 person

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