The typical consensus is that coalition governments do the junior partners no favours.
With the SNP having danced for years to a tune of Patrick Harvie’s choosing, it seems reasonable to assume that today’s announcement of an Scottish Greens-SNP hookup may prove to be an exception.
With its prioritisation of transgender over all other group rights; its legislative agenda to suppress free speech; and its hustling of pornographic teaching materials in schools, the SNP has already bent over far enough to accommodate its far-woke wing without a formal alliance with the Greens.
In Holyrood, Harvie already calls the shots. With a formal seat at the table, and a ministerial brief, there appears to be no constraints on how much further woke the SNP will drift.
While this may make sense to an elite bubble of apparatchiks and PR types who exercise outsized influence on Scottish politics and public opinion, the drift makes little electoral sense for the SNP.
On the schemes, in the farms, and in the fishing villages, the mainstream of Scottish society is being left behind. We’re comfortable with things that make the wokerati squirm, like national identity, borders, manual labour, factories, marriage, petrol vehicles, eating meat, and going to football matches. We expect government to be working to address issues like poverty, unemployment, drugs, the court system and national security, not radically reshaping society and brainwashing kids in school. We resent being characterised as bigots or neds or alkies or drones.
We also lean left, and have tended since the sixties at least to give left-leaning governments the benefit of the doubt. We’re sceptical about clerics, but still have a deep attachment to our Christian heritage. We’re comfortable with a larger state that provides a social security safety network.
But we’re not woke.
The SNP is a chameleon-like creature, continuously courting disparate constituencies, including even Scottish nationalists (at least when an election swings round.) Its ruling clique, which we understand revolves around a particular Whatsapp chat, possesses all the insecurity, groupthink and vindictiveness typical of intellectual lesser lights.
The inclusion of fanatics determined to build a brave new Scottish society from the rubble of their failed social and educational policies will change all that. How to explain to traditional families in Glasgow your promotion of porn in schools? Or to families dependent on the oil industry your opposition to further development of Scottish oilfields? Or to farmers in rural Moray your war on meat? Or future taxpayers your blow-through budgets that squander the national wealth? Or small-business owners your obsession with shutting their shops?
What will the quid pro quo of the Greens be, if not a greater focus on social engineering? The Greens depend on being able to divide society into rival factions based on protected characteristics, and then picking favourites in their intersectional hierarchy. Dispatching the elderly, sick or just despairing of life will be painted as compassion. The feelings of men wanting to visit ladies’ toilets will be placed above the safety of women and girls.
And although the SNP’s proclaimed intention of bouncing Scotland into the EU without a referendum means true independence won’t be on the table, with the coalition devoted to solving society, solving the coronavirus, solving the climate emergency, and solving whatever crisis next appears over the horizon, no one believes that a second referendum for Scottish independence will be on the table, despite the repeated mandates given to the SNP to deliver one.
Instead, the coalition will be busying itself mandating inclusion for those of “all genders and none”, tearing down “existing public monuments”, and jockeying for more immigration, while ignoring real crises like our housing shortage, falling life expectancy, the drugs deaths epidemic, plummeting educational attainment levels, our national debt, burgeoning suicide rates, and the carcrash that is the SNP and Tories failed economic and health policies towards COVID-19.
It does not take bravery to predict that almost everything the coalition touches will turn to dust, the SNP’s electoral Midas touch included.
David McHutchon, Leader, Restore Scotland