Last week, following news that the SNP had given the green light to the highly controversial Beauly to Denny powerline upgrade, thousands of people found themselves being called all kinds of childish things, as bloggers, opinion writers and internet trolls began their systematic mocking of those who are anxious about the fragility of our Scottish landscape. A staggering 18,000 people had been sufficiently concerned by the damaging environmental implications of the scheme to object through official channels, and these protestors were the target for abuse. As well as being labelled “morons”, “bobbly hats” and “luddites”, objectors were referred to by pro-SNP posters as, “these idiots who don’t know where their power comes from, and should have their electricity cut off”. The most common accusation was that they were Nimbys, the acronym, of course, for Not In My Back Yard.

Even the poorest mathematician, without the tool of Google Earth, could still easily work out that there are not 18,000 back yards in the way of the proposed giant pylons, and therefore deduce that these objectors do so because they care about Scotland in general. Attacking them is Alice Through The Looking Glass thinking, that bizarre contrary philosophy that continually baffles in the rhetoric of the Nationalists. When did caring about Scotland become anti-Scottish? And when did Friends Of The Earth, one of the lobbying agencies which helped push the scheme through, become Friends Of Corporate Management, Capitalist Shareholders And Vested Political Interests? Has someone laced the black bun with a hallucinogenic this Hogmanay?

Let’s do a shorthand of the issue. To meet ambitious, admirable, but largely self-imposed targets on renewable energy, the Scottish Government has been persuaded by a private power company that, for starters, the existing power line from the Highlands to the central belt needs upgraded to allow for the transference of proposed and existing schemes’ power to the grid. To upgrade without environmental disruption, for instance laying undersea cables, the power company would have to pay millions more, would not make as much profit, and its shareholders would be cross.

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The Government has looked at the arguments against the cheaper upgrade, which include the undermining of the fundamental principles of a national park, and the wrecking of important and previously unsullied views, but has been told by the power company that it will get no help in meeting its targets if it doesn’t do what it says. Unsurprisingly, the Government has decided that this is somewhat more persuasive. After all, Mr Salmond travelled most usefully to Copenhagen recently, solely to reassure the Maldives president, Mohamed Nasheed, that the Scots would help in their darkest hour. (Well, actually, Salmond went to get photographed with Arnold Schwarzenegger, or anyone important and famous, but sadly poor Mr Nasheed must have been the only one without advisers telling him to sprint away from the unknown, embarrassing, publicity-seeking little man.) However, a promise is a promise, and if our Government doesn’t urgently assist Scottish and Southern to produce good quarterly share reports, it will be on all our consciences when the high tides start lapping at those beach huts. Or something.

Can anyone remember when the environmental debate contorted into this mess? Sustainability and renewable energy used to be words that indicated concern, intelligent forward thinking and global altruism. Now they more usually mean profiteering, exploitation, and subsidy junkies. We should have been forewarned of the Orwellian hypocrisies of governments and big business taking up “environmental” issues the moment BP changed its logo to a green flower and airlines said they would plant trees if we gave them an extra 40p on our ticket price. Terribly convincing, wasn’t it?

And when carpetbaggers enter the stage the first thing they do is offer the classic “either/or” situation. Either we rip up Scotland’s landscape, and pox it over with foreign-bought, partially developed, low-tech renewable energy schemes, working at poor efficiencies that will be outdated in a decade or less, or we all die of cold, or flooding, or both in our selfish, Nimbyist little beds. Choose, damn you!

That’s it folks. Nothing in between. No wisdom or reflection to examine a long-term strategy for how the unique and precious landscape of Scotland might look, how it should be used, preserved and repaired, or what we will leave to our grandchildren. No questioning whether our utterly miniscule contribution to emission targets is really quite as globally important as our custodianship of one of the last areas of wild and spectacular land in Europe. No waiting a little longer for the next generation of renewable technology to fully develop, because that might happen under another government and they might get the credit. Nope. Green is good, even if it means, er ... we won’t have anything green left.

Green campaigners were always a welcome addition to the political process, given that their genuine passion and alarm eventually awakened the kraken of superpowers and global corporations to what was coming, and what it might mean for their economies and national security. But is the greens’ current stubborn, immovable position a continuation of that tenacity, or are they secretly irritated that the agenda-ridden grown-ups in the big powerful countries have thanked them and taken over now, leaving them to do little but tell you how they can’t drive and would never own a car as you give them a lift back from the conference?

So in this new world of upside-down principles, where a party tasked with standing up for Scotland is proving that it will happily take a wrecking ball to it if the price is right from Texan millionaires or powerful corporations, where 18,000 lovers of wild Scotland are written off as white settlers with holiday homes (18,000 white settlers? Have the government’s internet henchmen gone quite mad?), and where planet-saving activists decide that our little bit of the planet doesn’t count ... where do we go from here?

I really don’t know. Shall we try the ballot box?