Green Around the Gills

As you’ll understand, a retired gentleman has more to do with his time than follow the daily tittle-tattle in the gutter Press. What with checking the share prices and giving the Burgundy bottles in the cellar a half turn, there’s barely a moment worth wasting on the verbal histrionics of the hacks.

But on putting my feet up on the ottoman in the salon yesterday and opening my Herald – from whom I am in receipt of pension provision after many years dedicated service – I was struck by a tale from Holyrood with the hysterical headline Bloody Nose for SNP.

This was one of those exaggerated coups de theatre common in the Lilliputian world of the politicians in which one gang manoeuvres the other lot to catch them with their pants down so they can point and laugh. If I follow, it means that decisions made by regional health authorities to modify services, no doubt under the relentless burden of reducing budgets, must be ratified by the government. Not, you understand, to change a single one of those decisions but merely to embarrass the government who face either the ignominy of being pointed and laughed at or else will be obliged to ‘defy the will of parliament’. And this is serious politics, we’re told, at least the kind that causes smirks of satisfaction among the plotters.

But if the changes to health services are not to be made, what I wondered is the alternative. I could find no answers from the plotters. If, as everyone agrees, the Westminster cuts to Scotland’s operating budget necessitate spending reductions, where are they to fall if not on some health services which, as I understand, will not in any case disappear but simply gravitate to other centres. They are being rationalised to make better use of dwindling resources. Unfortunate, of course, if you like all your services in a local hospital but too expensive in the current climate, remembering that 85 per cent of the budget is still operated by a London Treasury hell-bent on shredding public spending. In any case, if you face a complex operation, do you want it done in a specialist centre by an expert operating crew who do it every day, or in your local base where the surgeon does the job once a year? Seriously…

So the opposition had a laugh at the government’s expense and Kezia remembered to press the right button this time. You may wonder why that is a ‘splash’ story at all given that the vote changes nothing of substance but the answer to that lies in the newsgathering judgement of an editorial meeting which might as well be Entertainments Committee of the Masonic Lodge as far as we are concerned.

I daresay ‘government loses vote’ is news of a kind but hardly a shock when the party in power has no majority. So it would pass as just one more day at the coalface for Bob Servant and his juvenile chums except for one detail that caught my eye. The result was 64 to 62 which, even by my shaky maths, must mean the motion that defeated the SNP was backed by the Green Party. And indeed it was.

Good for them, I thought. They are quite right to vote to their hearts’ content and for anything they deem appropriate. That’s how parties are supposed to work. If they want to embarrass the government then they should go right ahead. But was this the same Green Party that leafleted my house asking for my second vote last year?

In the log basket I found an old Guardian I use for lighting the fire. There, in May, just before the vote, was Mr Harvie of the Greens. The copy read…. ‘see the Greens as a way of maintaining pressure on the nationalists to match their progressive words with progressive deeds. Bold is the word Harvie uses when he talks about pushing the SNP beyond their comfort zone. At the same time, he is clear that the Greens favour constructive opposition…’ Interesting. He is quoted thus: ‘we’ll be able to do more if people have that sense of boldness and elect a parliament with a good strong group of Green MSPs.’

Well, I agree it’s bold – voting with the Tories to back Anas Sarwar and Kezia Dugdale could hardly be anything else when you tell people you’re a radical. And it’s certainly keeping the SNP on their toes. In or out of their comfort zone.

Can’t help but wonder though at those thousands of nationalists lured into handing their second vote to the Greens because they were told they were blood brothers and soul sisters when it appears they may be more like false friends.

I totally respect the Greens and their agenda but I don’t vote for it. I didn’t vote for it in May because I wanted an SNP majority to prevent exactly the kind of petty gamesmanship we saw this week. If the vote was on a substantive motion, for example to allow fracking to go ahead, I expect Greens to do their duty irrespective of warm words to the SNP pre-vote. But I don’t expect them to play along with the glib and shallow Sarwar in point-scoring. I don’t expect them to show us how bold, daring and progressive they are by voting with the Tories. I don’t expect them to overturn health decisions made by local boards in the interests of the people they serve. Despite my cynicism, expressed forcefully before May last year about spreading votes around, even I am dismayed.

I suspect, had I lent them my vote, I would be fuming. A letter to the editor of the Telegraph would be prepared.

When the Green group failed to back Sturgeon for First Minister I took it to be a statement of intent that ‘we won’t be lobby fodder’. Churlish but forgivable. The pattern emerging is disconcerting.

Yet it won’t be long before Greens are again asking for votes under STV in the council elections and to be fair, I normally deliver for them a second preference. I don’t close my mind to doing that again but I’ll be weighing it more carefully than usual after this week.

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70 thoughts on “Green Around the Gills

  1. Vote SNP at every election and don’t vote for anyone else.

  2. In a nutshell Derek.

  3. I’ve never ever given a Green a vote…Don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  4. Why, oh why, did the National encourage the second vote to be take from the SNP and lose their overall majority? The editor says that on polling day he backed both votes for the SNP majority. Too little and too late, as the cliche goes.

    • Still owned by The Herald? And are they in it for the money or for the cause?

      • Bugger (the Panda)

        The Editor I think is a supporter but the ownership, in Virginia USA, is in it for the money and political influence.

        They are owned by Newsquest PLC which in turn is owned by Gannett Inc.

        Their HQ is right next door to the CIA, coincidentally. They also own USA Today newspaper.

  5. Bugger (the Panda)

    Here was me beginning to think that the Scottish Greens were growing up and the regression to puberty.

    I have learned. 1,2

  6. Made the mistake of giving my second vote to a specific candidate I knew at the last local elections. SNP won the most seats but the LibDems, Tories and Labour combined to keep them out of the administration. Won’t happen again.

    • Could be difficult for you. First, yes, the SNP won more seats than any other party. But they did not win a majority of seats, partly because they lost constituency seats (eg in Edinburgh Western, Edinburgh Central and NE Fife) where their MSPs or candidates had been ineffective and where the winners were strong candidates.

      And remember, the PR system is designed to ensure that, as far as possible, no one party gains a majority – so it’s likely that the 2011 – 2016 parliament will be the anomaly.

  7. Dear God,

    Andy Wightman, author of ‘The Poor Had No Lawyers’ which adorns my book shelf, voted with the tory party of Boris Johnson, Theresa May & Michael Forsyth against the SNP?!

    Talk about nursing a viper tae yer bosum!

    I attended a small pre indyref talk with Harvie as the only speaker. Despite having two uni degrees, I failed to understand most of what Mr Harvie was pontificating upon that evening.

    My alarm bells were ringing when Harvie shrugged in a world weary manner that he was ‘not that bothered one way or another about independence’ and there was a decidedly malicious gleam in his eye when he declared himself, ‘no fan of Alex Salmond’.

    There one saving grace was having Andy Wightman whose land reform I whole heartedly endorse. But now that I know Wightman votes with the Red, Yellow & Blue Tories, ‘just because he can’, well, hell mend the Greens. Hell mend them all.

    • Hid land book read like a grocer’s list. telling us wot we all know..Somebody owns the land, but wot to do about it? Well. it was lauded by those great “socialist thinkers”, Wullie Ross and Bryan Wilson, at the time.

  8. Oh you’re a petty and vindictive lot. You just have absolutely no idea what would’ve been happening if Greens hadn’t been lending their vote to the SNP over the last few years. In particular the general amd SG elections. Similarly what with the SG’s regressive policies on tax and council tax you may find the “compliment ” returned. Especially with the SNP establishment being so lukewarm about independence.

    • This Labour amendment involved shifting authority away form the local toward the centre – this doesn’t strike me as consistent with Green principles of devolving power more to local decision-making.

      So why did the Greens vote for it?

      Your response is a poor one because attempts to distract and obscure by throwing more mud at wall (tax & council? relevance here?) in the hope it covers up the Green support for snarky cheap Labour amendment.

      We are all (you & me, hte rest, irrespective of whether we are petty or vindictive) trying to live in the early days of better nation.

      So – are you guys on board or not?

      The events Holyrood of last week beg this question -and it is a genuine one.

      If you can offer some explanation of what particular Green principle was being advanced by the vote then I’d be glad to hear it. But if you can’t…. then it is isn’t “us lot” who are being petty and vindictive.

      • Perhaps the Greens are voting against the SG (on relatively inconsequential matters) to let the SG know that they can’t be taken for granted. That way, when the SG puts forward some piece of legislation that is really important to them, they’ll know they need to make some serious offers to ensure Green support.

  9. Getting totally pissed off with the childish antics of the establishment parties in Scotland and feeling pretty disappointed with Mr Harvie and the Greens this past week.

    The usual suspects call it ‘holding to account’. I call it wilfully damaging our society and our parliament for purely selfish, self centred and petty reasons. It doesn’t matter what the policy, be it NP, fracking, council budgets, police Scotland, SNHS, their petty politicking and point scoring isn’t about protecting the public interest, or holding to account. Its simply about harming your opposition and as per usual any harm to the public is regarded as collateral damage, acceptable, ‘just politics’.

    There was a time, not so long ago, where I would have at least worked at trying to rationalize their antics, even argued their input would be required in our ongoing constitutional debate. I might even have simply had a laugh at their expense.

    Well, I’m not laughing anymore and bollox to seeing the other point of view. The actions of the establishment parties in particular since the end of indyref1 and more recently the Brexit vote have gone from arrogant triumphalism, to petulant denial and downright dangerous intransigence. In the face of political, economic and constitutional upheaval they still to this very day, put party and self before peoiple and their needs.

    We see our budget diminish by the year and our government rob Peter to Paul with one arm tied behind their backs. Constantly they are faced with new ham fisted central government legislation which they have to provide some form of mitigation for from that diminishing budget. It is well beyond a sick joke at this point. We have people literally starving in our streets, or driven to acts of desperation to make ends meet and we KNOW for a certainty that yet more austerity and hardship is on its way.

    Our opposition parties are nothing short of a disgrace and an embarrassment to our parliament and electorate. These articles consider themselves fit for office? For government?

    They might want to rethink the whole career path thing.

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      Tumbrel, tolling drum and guillotine to return?

    • They tried to bring down the Scottish Government before on the issue of insulating hooses. The Scottish Government got round to it as soon as they could manage. We cannot afford these antics and must get the country first – and I speak as a Scottish Republican Socialist.

    • Oh well said Sam. I agree with every word. I too am scunnered with the behaviour of the red/blue/yellow and now green tories. I always feared this would happen when folk were gulled into giving their second vote to greens. I wish to god that they would all grow bloody well up, or GTF out of politics.

      Thank you Derek, it needed saying.

    • £1.6 billion in Blue Tory Cuts to come, from the last Osborne Budget the vote on which Ian Murray and the Red Tories abstained.
      The Blue Tories cut the SNHS block grant by 5%, and NHS England is to find £20 billion in ‘efficiency savings’ (cuts), with a concomitant reduction in Scotland’s Health budget.
      Yet Patrick Harvie and his Green (but not in a rookie sense) colleagues vote with the Tories, and Dugdale’s New Labour Red Tories.
      I fail to see the Green principles in their strategy; because there are none. They are supping with their arch enemies; the Blair modernisers and the Tory Anti Christ.
      As the author here points out, Harvie is merely playing silly buggers, flexing his imaginary muscles.
      Well, if it’s ‘only politics’, then he will not be surprised that pay back time will be as soon as next May.
      SNP x 2 will be the cry.
      Enjoy the three and a half years left, mes braves verts. I hope it was worth it.

      • What Red Tories? The only thing red about them are their necks and their rosettes. Yellow is their true colour through and through.

  10. Elegant analysis as usual, Derek, and spot on. I was working on polling day, and said to my SNP colleague, I have this awful feeling we won’t have a majority, and the SG spends all its time fighting bullshit. I had that sinking feeling on the day, due exactly to the way the Greens had played it, slyly inferring they were friends to all nationalists.
    That was aided on a number of fronts, as we know.

    If we do one thing, voters need educating about STV, and you don’t have to place all the candidates. Just place the SNP candidates, and nothing more.

    • well said and if we want to avoid the confusion with the Holyrood vote this needs to be out there and out now , you dont have to vote for other parties leave it blank

  11. Yes as Mr Bell commented it needed to be said .
    I have said on other forums actions have consequences Patrick ,and May is fast approaching no longer is your party viewed as harmless acquaintances , your parties sometimes nutty obstruction to certain road construction and improvement projects that in the end just add to the final cost , The usual if you build roads people will just use them aye ok as if we are totally covered with first class roads at the present we can’t stand still , as we would be if your group of protest because thats what it is, backward looking we can’t uninvent the car and trucks ,things at some point have to move the more alternatives the better .

  12. Alasdair Macdonald

    I think we need to get a sense of proportion and a sense of perspective.

    First, my disclosure: in the same constituency as Mr Bateman, I voted SNP for the candidate and Green in the list. I am comfortable with that.

    Secondly, the most recent Scottish Election result resulted in a distribution of seats, which was reasonably proportional. The system was designed to make an absolute majority unlikely, so that there would be more cross party dealings, and, hopefully, more nuanced discussion. In the previous Scottish election, by a statistical quirk, the SNP gained a majority, even though it got a smaller share of the vote than in 201.

    Thirdly, if smaller parties are to have an influence and if they are to signal to the electorate that they have something distinctive to offer then they have to demonstrate their power on the occasions when they can. When SNP was the opposition prior to 2007, it acted in a similar way. So, let’s not wallow in self-righteousness.

    Fourthly, let us consider the three “acts of defiance” by the Greens. In confirming the election of the FM, It is not uncommon for the other parties to abstain or oppose. It is symbolic, indicates to their supporters that they are ‘distinctive’, gives the journalists something to write about, and is seen by the rest of us as a bit of ritual. Nobody dies. In the Welsh Assembly it was much more a shot across Labour’s bows. In opposing the Council Tax proposals, the Greens were on really solid ground. The Council Tax is regressive and unfair and ought to have been rectified years ago by both Lab/LibDem and by SNP. The SNP proposals are timid. And, there is a bigger issue about the local/national, periphery/centre power distribution, which is part of a much wider redistribution of powers. And, the most recent one, was a typical Labour knee jerk oppositionist motion. It demonstrates why so many, including me, got truly pissed off with Labour. It was posturing. It was an amendment that was not going to affect things. It was the kind of debate, which is so precious that it causes most of us outsiders, to shake our heads and despair about the nursery games that politicians waste our time with. We have a serious issue about shaping our health service to deal effectively and efficiently with our changing demographic, geographical distribution, changing practices, in a time when there are increasing numbers of old codgers like me with our chronic conditions. That is what the debate ought to have been about and that is what the local health boards are actually trying to address. So, in this case the greens have let this voter down by their posturing. They are acting like someone who has let their dog crap on my doormat, and chaps my door to draw my attention to it and then asks, “An whit ur ye gaunnae dae about it?”

    Politics is a messy business and from time to time all of the participants leave a sour taste. However, it is a better system than many and there are aspects which we just have to thole

    • The SNP Scottish Government tried to abolish the Council Tax in 2007, the opposition parties combined to vote against it.

    • “That is what the debate ought to have been about and that is what the local health boards are actually trying to address. So, in this case the greens have let this voter down by their posturing. ”

      That’s my thought too. What did their gesture achieve? Nothing worthwhile, unless they thought it would get them some attention.

      I don’t think anyone should be expected to vote for one party and no other if they want to exercise their right of choice, but I do expect the Greens to use their power responsibly when they are given support by the electorate. Were they representing the people who voted for them? I can’t imagine they were.

  13. If the SNP SG were to fall, nobody would be listening to the Greens.

    • There’s always somebody with a woolly bunnet that does nit want Scotland to have decent transport, roads, air, etc. The UN described our facilities as third world. Some would have us back to the stone age and the Ross Harpers are still Better together. The trendy left ones are too enamoured with Jeremiah Corbyn, or this issue, or that to care much about getting Independence first, or at all, or way down the list. Like it or no, the SNP is the only electoral force whilst they are playing around attacking the SNP.

  14. The Greens proving what I always thought they were, that is untrustworthy snakes in the long green grass. Up my way they are just NIMBY Tories in drag. It seems that despite being thoroughly rejected at the ballot box they and the Tories are willing to jump into the same bed along with where is the button Kez and her Red Tories .

    It wasn’t the first time they voted with the Brit Nat Tories recently and I suspect it wont be the last either as the Brit Nat Labour Party is salivating at the thought of putting the boot into the OBFA. Oh and I am a footie fan who is all in favour of the OBFA.

    It is now obvious we have a new shade of nasty Brit Nat Tory colour and it is Green. There is nothing constructive in their opposition voting with the Tory party because the Tories are hell bent on being destructive to anything the SNP SG does.

    Some individuals have suggested that the SNP proposals on several issues dot go far enough and are too timid. Hold on a minute we just had an election this May and the single biggest group of voters voted for the SNP. The SNP won that election in my book so get over yourselves. Those that were dumb enough to give the Greens their second vote certainly didn’t expect the Greens to turn around and whore themselves with the anti Scottish British nationalist Parties.

  15. Let’s face it the truth is that all the parties in in the Scottish parliament are really,anti., Scottish and that is the truth of it every time the S.N.P. Try to improve the life of the Scottish people they try to stop it happening sheer malice nothing else ,,, to them party comes before helping the people and puting their own country down at every turn I know of no other country in the world where so many love to hold their country back and smile about it god help us because they never will

  16. Sorry meant to say all the parties apart from the S.N.P.

  17. The D’hont voting system is hopelessly flawed. The mathematics just do not reflect the voting weightings of the electors.And here we have it, the minority can block the government’s proposals.

    I do not agree with the First Past the Post system but we have sitting in Holyrood some MSPs who were substantially rejected by the electors but D’hont found them seats at Holyrood.

    And Andy Wightman voting with the Unionist parties – Tory, Labour,LibDems and Greens? Who’d ever believe it.

    • I would.

    • d’Hondt is a pretty good system. The Greens tried to persuade people to game it, that was the problem.

      There are improvements that might be made, first by having equal numbers of constituency and list seats, and second by giving the voters some way of influencing the names that go on the party lists. But if you have PR there is always going to be some way to sneer at the “make-weight” MSPs that are necessary to balance the parliament accorging to the voters’ preferences. Either they stand for a constituency and don’t win it, so sneer about “rejected by the voters” or don’t and sneer about parachuted in and too chicken to submit themselves to the voters.

      Bear in mind that in the early years most of the SNP MSPs were from the list, and many of them had fought constituencies and lost. Nicola Sturgeon being one of them, It was getting in on the list that allowed the SNP representatives to get a foothold in parliament, make their mark, and in due course go on to win constituencies.

      Would you rather the SNP had never had list MSPs? Would you rather Nicola had never tried to win the Govan constituency? Would you have barred her from Holyrood when she lost it, and not let her serve as a list MSP?

      Be careful what you wish for. Don’t rubbish the system without looking at it from all sides.

      • IF yer “de havent a bleedng clue” system works then why do failed rejected chancers who make up the “MAJORITY” of the opposition MSPs manage to sneak in the back door at Holyrood , you give as an example it has has benefited the SNP in the past “PROVE IT” go on lets have the evidence to back up yer claim , this is a favourite ploy by the media making claims with little or no backing .
        This bloody stupid way of voting was set up by who Labour the same party that gave us a Parliament building Late-in the wrong place-costing ten times the estimated cost, The Edinburgh tram fiasco final cost £1,000,000,000 , PFI for Schools & Hospitals with an estimated drain on our economy of 30 BILLION pounds annually and rising , and you have the bloody cheek to say “pot kettle black” give us bloody peace with your moaning .

    • First of all, to correct your statement, the minority did not block the government’s proposals – the majority did, however you look at it. The SNP got less than 50% in both the constituency and list votes, and even adding in the Greens wouldn’t have taken the total to more than half. They also got less than half the seats, and required the support of another party to taken them over that 50% which they didn’t get.

      But you’re right, the D’Hondt AMS system is not great. Back in the mid-90s, though, it was the only PR system Labour would consider. Indeed, had Labour had their way, the number of list MSPs would have been less, thus making it even less proportionate (they wanted around 110 MSPs, the Lib Dems were looking at 150ish, and 129 was roughly halfway and the point where the balance tipped more towards proportionality.) The SNP have long supported STV but since going in to government have been remarkedly quiet about it, despite having had the opportunity to push for its introduction on a number of occasions afterwards, such as the recent Scotland Act.

    • Like everything Labour has a hand in -well thought through -well costed -and above all works.
      We wish .

  18. Hopefully there will be better weather in the teacup tomorrow.

  19. Dont get me wrong I get on well with and like Louise Batchelor, but i will never vote for the Greens while they have that wretch Ross Greer in their ranks!

    • donald anderson

      I would never vote for the Greens till after we have consolidated Independence. They and others are not worth the risk.

  20. Spot on, Derek. I have no problem with the Greens choosing to vote against the SNP – I wish they wouldn’t, but it’s their right as a completely separate party – but this kind of thing is exactly what I tried to warn folk about before the election.

    Too many folk pissed about with their list vote, convinced that voting SNP/Green made them, I dunno, morally superior or something. Certainly better than those of us who they decided were dutifully giving both votes to the SNP like obedient little robots. There was too much complacency, too much belief in the “the SNP are going to get a majority purely from constituency seats” argument that was being propagated by the media – without asking themselves why the unionist media might be promoting such a view.

    Well I hope such folk are kicking themselves at finding out, as folk like me said all along, that the Greens were not just some subsidiary of the SNP.

    Just imagine if the SNP had done as such folk demanded and refused to stand in the list to maximise the Green vote…

  21. I heard recently that Green voters often give Labour their second preference in local government elections. If that happens this time, in the full knowledge they will be aiding and abetting the “anyone but the SNP” lobby then I will truly give up on the Greens for good.

  22. No problem with Green’s playing the game what I do find annoying is how they used their involvement in Yes to suggest they would work with the SNP. I didn’t give them my second vote as I went for the party I wanted not one that tried to bluff me into lending them my vote and I’m glad I did.

    In the council elections it’ll be interesting if they try the same scam or will be honest that their role is to embarrass the SNP and then demand that they implement their ‘progressive’ policies.

  23. Seems to me that we Greens are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I live in the Highlands and don’t know what the merits or otherwise are of the cuts/rationalisations which the SNP govenrment was trying to carry out. They have a difficult job to do of trying to make ends meet with a slashed budget.

    But if the Scottish Greens genuinely think that the axe should not fall where the SNP say it should, then we should vote that way. It does not matter that the Tories and Labour and the LibDems vote against for reasons of their own. This is not a matter like independence, it’s day to day administration which even the SNP might possibly get wrong. To damn the Greens for not voting with the SNP on a minor matter is childish, and to conclude that we are really Tories in disguise is ridiculous.

    If we voted the same way as the SNP every time one might conclude that we did not have minds of our own and were safe lobby fodder. We do want most of what the SNP want, including a fair and just society and independence. But do not expect blind loyalty and don’t expect support for more roads. This is a democratic parliament with different opinions being expressed. It gets messy but is the stronger for it.

    • That’s ok for you to say this was a .minor matter , except it really wasn’t was it ? What Green principle was it that made the Greens go against the scotsgovt.with the Tories and Labour against the SNP to centralise the NHS when the Greens have made such a production of more local govt. and less centralisation ? … I no longer have any faith in Patrick Harvie or the Scottish Green Party…they asked for SNP 2nd votes for a progressive party in Holyrood , a lot of SNP people gave them their votes on that premise.. I now think that was a mistake.I will not make that mistake again.

    • You miss the entire point. Health Boards make these decisions, not SG, so nobody was being asked to vote on something that will actually change what has been proposed.

      Labour wasted valuable time doing nothing but trying to point score and the Greens played along with them.

      Justify that.

    • Let’s Face it the Greens are a protest group , I predict this is as far your Green vote will go , because your protest group hitched a ride on the back of SNP supporters lets see how you fair cast adrift , maybe we should start paying attention to some of the more harebrained schemes of the Green protest group most are blocking protests and just add to the final cost of an already stretched budget if we followed this agenda the whole country would grind to a halt ,no new Forth Crossing that offers an alternative route if required into Edinburgh or to the west.
      This totally baffling concept that is always offered up “build more roads and traffic will increase” get a f/n grip it means less congestion ,more room ,alternative routes ,less cars and busses at a standstill causing pollution dont you people get it , by all means increase where possible public transport but until this public transport starts goes and stops where people want it to it wont be used .

  24. Too many people were convinced that their 2nd vote to the greens or the ssp was a safe bet. We’ve now learned it was anything but. By doing what they did, they forced decisions that should be made at the local level and transferred it back to parliament. If you were dealing with rational opposition parties – the greens defence of what they did would pass muster. But we know we’re not dealing with rational opposition parties. Labour spent a the last two parliaments trying like mad to force a no confidence vote through, remember?

    I can see a nightmare scenario were labour tries to force the SNP into raising taxes – with disastrous consequences for Scotland. or worse simply block any and all attempts to safeguard the NHS from further Westminster cuts. The tories will help because they love cuts. Labour will gladly push the self destruct button on Scotland because of their tribal hatred of the SNP. Is Patrick Harvie seriously telling us that he and his party have not been paying attention to what the UK parties in Scotland have been trying to do?
    Can they really not see that they have put Scotland’s NHS in harms way? He asked SNP voters to place their faith in his party to deliver for Scotland. Not hand cheap point scoring victories to the like of Anas Sarwar and living smirk that is Jackie Baillie. I think a lot of SNP voters who loaned their votes to the Greens are going to feel very disappointed. I would also like to remind any green voter who reads this, is that yes…those votes were on loan. Your party is now in danger of taking the goodwill of those voters and pissing it down the drain.

    I just wish to God that the Green leadership would show just a little bit of political nous here. To try and and see that the situation with Scotland’s opposition parties relationship with the parliament, is dangerously dysfunctional. Perhaps consider the long term ramifications of lending support to these parties who desire nothing else that to unseat the SNP, and bury the independence movement for generations.

    The SNP lost its majority for the sake of a single addition to the Greens of one msp. It could so easily cost Scotland a lot more.

  25. Steve Asaneilean

    Taking this back to the fundamental issue – the ludicrousness of this stance from the Opposition parties is that what they are saying is that (a) local health boards should not have control over local service configuration and (b) Scottish Government should not allow changes to the configuration of local health services.

    That’s the stupidity that the Greens supported.

    We have a 21st century NHS trying to deliver care using a 19th century model and a lot of crumbling 19th and 20th century infrastructure.

    So a town might have to.lose 3 out of date facilities to be replaced by a brand new state of the art facility but the SG should block it because the Opposition thinks some folk shouldn’t have to walk an extra half a mile or spend another on a bus.

    Childish is the word – it’s just plain nuts.

  26. katherine hamilton

    Why didn’t they just abstain? It’s not even a big deal. Like it or lump it, services are going to be rationalised. The Tories are making sure of that. Cut, cut and cut. Wotyagonnado, Patrick? Attack the SNP all the time as the cash declines? What are your alternative proposals to rationalisation? Come on, I’m sure Derek will publish your article.
    Or are you just another opportunist?

    Just a thot, Derek. You’ve got the contacts. Ask him – “What if Greens had got more seats? What if it was a Green/SNP coalition? What if he had been given the Health portfolio? What would he do?”

    Like I say, just a thot.

  27. I have always thought the Greens are faux amis of the SNP. They will turn on us at the first sign of empowerment from elsewhere.

  28. Andy Wightman is the only Green MSP I know personally …. and I know he is not an independence supporter

    • I wonder how he expects ever to effect land reform then because there’s no way in hell a Westminster government will do it. Nor will the Greens ever achieve enough influence there to make it. So, is he just happy to have something to carp about (and make a political career out of) but never do anything practical to resolve?

  29. Back at 12.28pm Ian sald:

    “If you can offer some explanation of what particular Green principle was being advanced by the vote then I’d be glad to hear it”

    Still waiting …

  30. Derek, if the SNP wished a formal arrangement with the Greens to have an operating majority they could have initiated talks. Nicola could have rung Patrick and invited him around to set some parameters and see if they might fly.

    She did not do that, thus giving up any right to them or any of their slavish acolytes to criticise their choices. Making health boards report their changes is not a Yes/No issue, as you point out so why the flaming fuck should the Greens be expected to troop through the electronic lobbies with the government? Maybe they thought it was a reasonable move and backed on principle. Did you do some journalism and ask Patrick Harvie why they voted thus? If not your assumptions are just that.

    I will reiterate, the Greens were not even offered so much as a confidence and supply deal. Which to this voter well versed in New Zealand multiparty PR politics looks like dereliction. The NZ Greens have kept Centre-Left coalitions in power as minority governments with confidence and supply deals on a number of occasions. The German Greens likewise.

    I detect some pique in operation. The SNP high heid yins have the hump over so many of us choosing, as is our democratic right, to vote Green on the list and let that pique trump their duty to the country to provide stable government.

    If they wanted to yoke the Greens to a great grand Yes coalition they never even tried. That is what would have been needed for them to operate slavishly on the SNP’s whim as you want them to.

    Has age got into your brain? Do you seriously expect an independent party to voluntarily yoke itself to one that couldn’t even pick up a phone? Are you a democrat or a supporter of tyranny by the majority.

    I am disappointed in you. Take off the tribalist specs. Give up the idea that the SNP are the only Indy fruit, they so very clearly are not. You are making yourself look silly.

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      Whilst I agree with you, perhaps she does not have the confidence in the Greens to make the same and be able to stick to it, BTW I think some elements of NZ + Scandienav democracy could be incorporated

    • I fear you may have misunderstood!

      • No I have not. You criticised the Greens, an independent party, as though they owed slavish devotion to every measure the SNP might bring forward.

        You pinned this to a fairly trivial point with no Yes/No side to it except that a unionist party proposed it. Making your point tribalist.

        Why even mention the Greens in this rant? Especially in the way you did unless you have this expectation of them? From whence does this come? Rack your democrat brain and tell me your expectation is not unreasonable.

      • Bugger (the Panda)


    • I would not be happy with any “deal” made with the greens…I’m not the only one.

  31. Sadly, they either wanted the status quo, or had a chummy meetup with the Brits and decided to rock the sinking boat.

    Green 2nd vote gone. I am truly annoyed, but its simple huh!

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