It’s almost impossible to quell feelings of sheer, bleak nihilism when contemplating the state of government at both a Scottish and UK level.

The SNP and the Conservatives have failed on multiple fronts, multiple times. In fact, both parties destroy pretty much whatever they touch. Evidently, their sins are of different magnitudes and degrees - the SNP merely useless, the Tories darkly malevolent - but neither should be in power any longer.

Unlike the nationalists and Tories, the Greens have only really one job when in comes to why they’re in power: protect the environment.

Clearly, they’ll tell you they stand for so much more, but in truth the small numbers of voters who back them lend support because they want to see Greens mitigate the climate crisis.

Those who voted Green expect them to do exactly what it says on the tin: be Green.

In a week in which the citizens of the desert city Dubai found themselves knee-deep in floodwaters, however, the Scottish Greens have been exposed as complete and utter failures when it comes to their core mission.

They had one job to do and they couldn’t even do that. The sight of the Scottish government ditching its key climate targets marked the moment the leadership of Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater should come to an end.


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Friends of the Earth Scotland described it as “the worst environmental decision in the history of the Scottish Parliament”.

Oxfam called it “an acute global embarrassment” and blamed the “Scottish government’s own dilly-dallying on climate action”.

Scotland has had to put up with the SNP and the Greens endlessly grandstanding as saviours of the world in the era of climate crisis.

Like many citizens, I put climate action fairly high on my list of priorities. To watch the SNP and Greens shred their own legally-biding commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 75% come 2030 frankly spits in the face of voters.

Members of the Scottish Greens are now demanding emergency talks on the party leaving government with the SNP. It’s an entirely understandable position.

They’ve been lied to, and whether the Greens quit government or not, it’s time for Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to step down.

Green Party members should make that happen. At minimum, a change of leadership is needed at the top of the party. Perhaps the Greens can rescue some dignity with new faces at the helm. To maintain the status quo will mean butchery at the ballot box for a party which already has only marginal support.

Back in 2021, ahead of Harvie and Slater entering government, members of the Green Party told me that I should look at just how successful their sister party in New Zealand had been in coalition.

It sounded an interesting avenue to explore so I spoke to James Shaw, the New Zealand Green’s co-leader. Shaw urged the Scottish Greens to demonstrate they could be “capable ministers” who “stretched government” in an environmental direction, but didn’t “overplay their hand” or become the “tail that wags the dog”.

Achieve a few “significant” policy wins and it would be a political success story. The NZ Greens saw their own vote go up after their first term in government as they could boast about the Zero Carbon Act.

Key to making coalition a success is “maintaining your integrity and value set”. Greens in government should, Shaw said, be prepared to “eat some dead rats”, in other words compromise where needed.

Shaw added: “It’s really important to have some tangible things that you achieve in government so that you can campaign on your track record.”

Evidently, the Scottish Greens didn’t pay a blind bit of attention to the advice of their much more seasoned Kiwi counterparts. What is the track record of Harvie and Slater but failure, failure, failure?

The tragedy for Scotland is that having a green voice in government is - at least theoretically - good for the country. Amid climate change, a nation needs an environmental perspective at the heart of policy.

The Greens haven’t provided that; they’ve failed at their principle task. They don’t deserve to remain in power.

Evidently, many in the SNP will be cock-a-hoop at the disaster now engulfing the Greens. Perhaps, they should avoid the glee.

At at time when every single policy of the Scottish government is torn to bits and subjected to culture war, SNP ministers depend on the Greens for their majority. The end of the Greens will be the beginning of the end for the SNP.

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