Look Up! – the sequel

Saturday April 27th 2024

Climate Change Fighting for our future

This View has been written by Midlothian Reader Bill Kerr-Smith

It seems only yesterday that audiences were commenting knowingly on the follies of the authorities and pundits who were ignoring the obvious dangers presented by an oncoming asteroid, on course to impact the Earth.

The parallels with the inevitable oncoming climate catastrophe we face were clear for all to see and, for a short time, there appeared to be a heightened awareness of the existential risks inherent in our collective failure to address the climate challenge. Then the circus moved on, as one eye-catching “dead cat” after another landed in our media on an almost daily basis.

I’m prompted to revisit this theme by the astonishing outpouring of scorn, ridicule and outright glee being expressed over the collapse of the Bute House Agreement and the ousting of the Scottish Greens from Government.

To read most of the commentary this week, it would appear that almost every mis-step made by the SNP in government has been caused by the Greens and that our politics is much improved by their removal from the Government ranks. In particular, scorn has been poured on the Gender Recognition Bill, the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and proposals for de-carbonising home heating.

It’s worth pointing out that every one of these issues was included in the SNP manifesto for 2021, and were not imposed on an unwilling SNP by the Scottish Greens.

In government office, for the first time anywhere in the UK, there is no denying that the Greens have sometimes faltered and, to quote The Guardian, had “a tendency to legislate ambitiously and to consider the implementation problems, and sometimes the public’s anxieties, only afterwards.”

I would add that they also failed to take large numbers of their members with them, specifically regarding gender reform concerns, which led to a large number of resignations (including mine) from the party.

Having said all that, I would make the plea; “give them a break”.

The SNP will abandon none of those policies now that the Greens are gone, because they all still make sense, but they are likely to take the short-term decision to delay some implementation, particularly now that they are running scared of the climate sceptics.

With only two first-time appointed (Junior) Minister posts embedded in a 17-year-old established government how much responsibility do the Greens really bear for the ongoing cavalcade of chaos in Scottish government performance? And how does Greens’ performance compare with the epic fiascos that are on display across the UK and have cost us hundreds of Billions of £££?

There is little doubt that Humza Yousaf ditched the Greens because he was afraid that they would ditch him first, and make him look weak.

Harvey and Slater deserve much of the criticism being levelled at them, but they are now out of a job because it looked very likely that the Green membership would reject the Bute House agreement, after the SNP abandoned Scotland’s climate targets.

At a time when the main UK parties are busy abandoning every principle they ever had, I think we’ll miss the Green influence in Scotland, but not until we get over the gloating and decide to Look Up, once again.

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