As the debate around what the future holds for the Bute House Agreement, SNP MSP Fergus Ewing writing exclusively for the Herald on Sunday raises his concerns.

Former Green MSP, Robin Harper and Fergus Ewing make an unlikely political alliance - an odd couple indeed! But we  share the most serious concerns  about the  current Scottish Green Party.

It’s crystal clear to me that the Scottish public increasingly see the Scottish Greens as hard left extremists who should be never be anywhere near government. Furthermore, they believe the greens, who have never won a single parliamentary seat in Scotland, have far too much influence on the  Scottish Government. The green tail is wagging the dog.  

Moreover, the Greens are seen as primarily responsible for a whole series of policy disasters over the last two years. These including Gender Reform -now facing likely defeat in the Courts; the Deposit Return Scheme, Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), and now imposition of heating systems on people at huge cost to them - which according to leading expert Lord Haughey in many cases  and types of property won’t work or work well enough. 

Frankly the views of many folk about the Greens, as expressed to me are unprintable in a family newspaper.

The Herald: Fergus Ewing is an SNP MSP but has frequently rebelled against the party line

So, the father figure of the Scottish greens, Robin Harper, himself, has  recently resigned from his party, saying that his former colleagues have “lost the plot”. In his letter of resignation he even compared them to Tommy Sheridan’s Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) - in both “content of policy and stridency of expression.”   

Robin in his time as MSP, was genial, well liked and respected. Now his former party colleagues appear dour, dogmatic and disapproving.

Its hard to think of a more damning verdict. 

I’ve spent much of the summer attending farmers shows and game fairs.   So from many many discussions there, I can say with absolute certainty that in rural Scotland  the Greens are feared, mistrusted or even hated by an overwhelming majority of our farmers, fishermen, game keepers ghillies land managers and salmon farm workers. That's rural Scotland - totally hacked off with the Scottish Government because of the Green deal. But urban Scotland is in their sights too. The Greens also want to shut down our world class oil and gas industry putting tens of thousands of hard working  people out of work. It's actually difficult to identify any sector of business they fully support. And profit seems to be for them, a four letter word.  

Read More: SNP MSPs call for review of Bute House Agreement with Scottish Greens

The Greens  basically would destroy our economy. The relationship between the Scottish Government and business has, largely because of our dalliance with the Greens, broken down - in many cases, irretrievably. Over the past two years, I spent hundreds of hours speaking to businesses of all kinds regarding the impact of the Deposit Return Scheme. I have never encountered such universal contempt for a dreadful  and irremediably flawed policy.

It ended in tears like many others, consigned to the burgeoning policy recycling unit in the Scottish Government. We won’t win independence without the broad support and trust of business. 

Because of all of this, the SNP are tarnished, damaged and diminished  by our continuing voluntary association with these hard left extremists -  and  unless the deal is scrapped this will only get  far worse. Our polling support has dropped. The evidence is there for all to see.  

The SNP are the National party of Scotland and to win independence we must by definition reach out to and win the trust of most folk - of a clear majority of the people. But now our support for these  hard left extremists  greens has narrowed our appeal to a minority of the populace - and with it our ability to persuade people to our cause.

The Herald: Fergus Ewing 

Some ask: “what’s the alternative?”  - that’s  simple. Alex Salmond governed Scotland  from 2007 for the four full year Parliamentary term to 2011 with only 47 MSPs.  In 2011 he went on to secure our best ever Holyrood result. Many of the public actually liked the approach in those four years  of our working with other parties, including the Tories. I know. I was there.

Now we have not 47 but 64 MSPs - just one short of an absolute majority.   It should be much easier to govern now in minority administration. The only votes that really count are on the budget, losing a few others here  and there does not matter much if at all.

Read More: Kate Forbes calls for SNP conference debate on agreement with Greens

The idea it’s impossible to govern with 64 out of 129 MSPs  is simply not borne out by the evidence of that experience - and from a far far weaker position. 

We in the SNP gain absolutely nothing from the deal except an easy life at Decision Time in Holyrood. But we are nonetheless being dragged down by it.

With a more mainstream approach focussing on competent government and the key issues that actually matter to most folk, we can continue to govern by sensible discussion and grown up negotiation with other main parties.

So, in my view Humza should scrap the deal now.  But if as appears the case he refuses to do that - there should surely now be a further vote put to our membership.  After all the original vote was taken before the deal was put into effect, and following the recommendation of the Former First Minister at the peak of her popularity. 

And now we are half way through this Session of Parliament.  Now we have all seen just how damaging the deal has been for us and the country. So, now is exactly the right  time to take stock and let our Members have their say. What are they afraid of? 

A refusal to hold such a vote may look like cowardice: indicative of a fear amongst the party top brass in the Cabinet that the membership would call a halt on the deal.

The official party line now seems to be that the SNP leadership contest was somehow a mandate for the continuance of the deal. This, I am afraid, is balderdash and bunkum.   

In fact, if anything, the opposite is the case. Members supported by a majority the two candidates who would likely have scrapped the deal.   

A majority of those members who voted in their  first preferences  - 52% - voted for either Ash Regan or Kate Forbes. Both expressed serious concerns about the deal. So if that contest proves anything - it’s that the green deal was NOT supported by SNP members.    

And of course that leadership contest took place before further carnage resulted from the deal. 

 It occurred before the HPMA issue reared its ugly head - one which has  totally alienated whole communities around our coast. It was also before the latest green ruse - to force people to replace domestic heating systems with pumps which for many types of property of wont work properly and  - incredibly  even seek to ban  some people from selling their own homes 

I have been a member of the SNP for about half a century. For the first 48 years we put Scotland first. That was our unique selling point, our USP.  It meant we  put the people first. Now we are bedfellows with a party that disapproves of what  many if not most of our people do for a living, and wish to decimate our economy whilst increasingly controlling our lives. 

Its time to end this dreadful deal before it brings us down.