THERE’S a sort of horrible amusement to be had in watching the SNP harrumphing over Boris Johnson’s Scottish trip, given that Nicola Sturgeon’s party has all but completed its Tartan Tory metamorphosis.

Support for the SNP among the left is as baffling as working class Red Wall voters offering themselves to Boris Johnson’s rapacious, feral incarnation of Conservativism.

There’s been a slow but sure movement of the SNP rightwards. The ScotWind deal which auctioned the nation’s seabed to private and foreign companies will be remembered as a clear line in the sand. The SNP was, if you recall, the party which promised a state energy firm. Instead, we got a Thatcherite fire sale of national assets.

Now the SNP has embraced Mr Johnson’s freeports policy. There’s no evidence freeports will help the economy or aid the poorest in society, and plenty of evidence they will provide corporations with cosy state-backing in the shape of tax breaks and public money.

How ironic that Mr Johnson’s Scottish trip promoted freeports, while the SNP poses as his ideological enemy. The SNP is simply a cosier, quainter version of old school Conservatism under the likes of John Major.

When it still had principles which a progressive voter could respect, the SNP opposed freeports, saying they were “tarnished” and linked to crime, smuggling, tax-dodging, low pay and bad conditions for workers.

Read more: How can the left support the SNP Thatcher-lite indy vision?

Now the party puts a phoney spin on its freeport u-turn. Freeports in Scotland will be called "green ports". Well, it sounds so much nicer doesn’t it? Employers will be encouraged to adopt fair work practices and pay real living wages, but there’s no legal obligation to do so. Giant corporations aren’t really renowned for looking after workers unless there’s a gun at their head.

Whitehall sources say the "green port" tag is “cosmetic” and there’s a “level playing field” between Scottish freeports and the rest of the UK.

Ross Greer, the Green Party’s finance spokesperson, says: “A little greenwashing won’t change the grim reality of these ‘freeports’.” It’s a “corporate giveaway”, he says. “Instead of working with the Tories, we’d urge SNP colleagues to collaborate with those of us who want to build an economy which serves, rather than exploits, people and the planet.”

If freeports are just the latest in a long line of slipped masks for the SNP, they’re also humiliating for the Green Party after it climbed into bed with nationalists. The Greens look like fools and dupes. Be sure: it’ll be the Greens who take the hit on this at the ballot box, not the SNP. Nationalists are motivated by nationalism, Green voters by the environment – and all Green voters currently see is their party being compromised in government when it comes to the issues they care about.

The SNP isn’t just sucking up to corporations and selling Scotland off, the party is also failing this country’s poorest citizens. Charities say the Scottish Government’s cost of living payment scheme lets down families most in need.

SNP Finance Minister Kate Forbes has announced a £150-per-household council tax payment over the spiralling rises in prices. The Poverty Alliance says it’s “deeply disappointing” that the Scottish Government scheme mirrors the UK Government scheme. The measures fail to target support at the poorest and are a “missed opportunity to protect people living in poverty”. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says “governments can make different choices to support low-income families and both the Chancellor and Kate Forbes have let them down by spreading this far too thin”.

The National Union of Students in Scotland is “absolutely stunned” that its members aren’t eligible for the support as they don’t pay council tax – even though they face the same energy bill hikes and rises in the cost of living.

At the weekend, The Herald published an investigation I’ve been working on looking at whether or not the relationship between Judy Murray and Nicola Sturgeon influenced a controversial decision by the Scottish Government to override the rejection of a multi-million pound luxury housing and tennis development.

The development – backed by Judy Murray, mother of tennis star Andy Murray – was given approval by the Scottish Government even though it faced widespread opposition, had been rejected by Stirling Council, and then rejected again, after developers launched an appeal, following an inquiry by a Government-appointed reporter.

Ministers called the matter in so they could make the final decision. Campaigners and the Green Party raised a series of questions over the planned use of public funds to support the development, the decision to build on greenbelt land, the overriding of local democracy, and a number of matters which they claim could be seen as a conflict of interest. There’s real concerns raised about how power is used, and where influence lies, in Scotland. Sportscotland – the public body answerable to the Scottish Government – has made a “provisional allocation of up to £5million” for the development.

Read more: Murray-backed housing development in row over ScotGov approval

Does this not smack of the Tory favour-bank? We’re used to these sorts of pimples popping up on the body politic when the Conservative Party is in charge. Now the same rash is breaking out under SNP rule.

Even on relatively bland policies, the SNP comes across as Tory-lite. It seems the plastic bottles collected as part of the nation’s deposit return scheme will most likely “be exported for reprocessing” to England. So there will be no real economic or jobs benefit for Scotland.

A private company, Circulatory Scotland, has been set up to roll out the scheme. Why not a public body? Once again, the Greens are left looking like patsies for the Government’s Thatcheresque policies. Friends of the Earth has said a dedicated Scottish recycling plant “could work in tandem” with the deposit return scheme to “inject fresh impetus into Scotland’s drive towards a circular economy”. But why hope for economic sense from the SNP? They can’t even run a ferry service for the islands, so supermarket shelves there lie empty.

Forget Mr Johnson and simply think what "old school" Conservatism once meant … is there really much difference to the SNP now? Increasingly, we’re just getting a gentler, kinder form of Toryism. Behind the tartan mask, a Conservative heart beats within the SNP.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald