ONE of the architects of the SNP-Green joint government deal has expressed her delight that it has “unionists frothing at the mouth”.
Maggie Chapman said it was a “high accolade” for her party to be dubbed “anti-monarchy, anti-Britain, anti-wealth, eco-zealot Marxists” by one commentator.
“That’ll do for me, especially as the agreement has many unionists frothing at the mouth,” she writes in the forthcoming 125th issue of the Scottish Left Review.
Ms Chapman, who led the negotiations for her party alongside fellow MSP Ross Greer, also says the deal lets the Greens be both in government and in opposition.
She writes: “The deal is historic, seeing Greens in government for the first time anywhere in Britain.
“It also sees a new kind of cooperation arrangement in British politics – not a full coalition, not minority government supported by a confidence and supply arrangement – but a ‘short of coalition’ arrangement that sees the SGP [Scottish Green Party] have both government ministers and opposition MSPs. These two facts are not insignificant.
“One hard-won element of the Agreement is it secures the space for Scottish Greens to oppose the SNP where we most need to.
“Whether this is on the speed of the just transition needed [to net zero carbon emissions], reliance upon failed economic metrics like GDP, our approach to defence and security, or any other issue in the ‘Excluded Matters’ [opt-outs] section, Green MSPs must hold on to our radical principles.”
Ms Chapman, elected a North East list MSP in May, said she was sceptical during two months of talks with deputy First Minister John Swinney, and remains so, with the SNP’s approach “very difficult to challenge after 14 years in power, and the Greens’ decentralised method “very alien to the SNP”.
Andrew Neil’s excoriating review of Sturgeon’s tawdry deal with the Greens. pic.twitter.com/CVlIu5udzN
— Agent P 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 🇬🇧 (@AgentP22) August 28, 2021
She warned her party “runs the risk of taking the blame for anything that goes wrong in the next four and a half years, and not having the communications apparatus to take the credit for the good things.”
She said the “relative disparity in power between the two parties” was likely to be source of greatest strain, with the deal challenging Green “structures, processes and capacity”.
Inexperienced in directing civil servants, she said Greens would “not be in an equivalent position of powers to other junior ministers”, and would have to work to avoid being “co-opted by either the government of parliament machines”.
She said the Scottish Greens must stay true to their radical ideals, and continue to work with Extinction Rebellion and other movements, “to keep one foot in the street and one in Parliament”.
She said: “Some on the left have wondered about the SGP left credentials, but the day SNP and SGP members both accepted the Cooperation Agreement, Andrew Neil, in the Daily Mail, gave a high accolade: ‘Anti-monarchy, anti-Britain, anti-wealth, eco-zealot Marxists’.
“That’ll do for me, especially as the agreement has many unionists frothing at the mouth.”