THE first sign that the Greens were interested in going into government with the SNP was back in March this year when the party's co-convener Patrick Harvie told The National he was open to a formal working arrangement with the larger party.

Harvie had said he would be in favour of a pro-independence coalition government with the SNP if Nicola Sturgeon’s party did not win a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament in the forthcoming election.

His intervention came as something of a surprise to Holyrood watchers who had assumed the Greens were content enough with their position as "constructive critic" as Harvie himself liked to portray the relationship and enjoyed the leverage they could exercise over the minority administration, most notably in the annual budget talks.

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Within weeks SNP strategists were briefing the media that they too would be open to coalition talks, indeed even if the party was to win a majority of MSPs - a hefty feat under the form of proportional representation voting system used in Scottish Parliament elections.

The reasons given by the insiders was that a deal with the Greens could help "refresh" the SNP government and bring new ideas to the table to a party in power since 2007.

Observers also noted that it would mean the end of the annual haggling for Scottish ministers with other parties to get their budget passed in Holyrood were the SNP to continue as a minority administration.

And with the UK's hosting the UN's COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November, a deal with the Greens would allow the Scottish Government to demonstrate to the world its seriousness on environmental issues.

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A further reason given by some was that a formal agreement would help strengthen the independence referendum mandate. Should Boris Johnson refuse to agree a new vote on Scotland's future, he would be rejecting the will of both a pro independence majority parliament and a pro independence majority government, was the thinking.

It's also possible that both parties looked at how, in New Zealand, Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had formed a working co operation agreeement with the Greens and liked what they saw.

In the end, the SNP came just one seat short of a majority and said they would not form a coalition with the Greens but rather it was their intention to form a "co operation agreement".

Speaking in Holyrood at the end of May the First Minister said by working together the two parties “can help build a better future for Scotland”.

She stressed the parties were “agreeing to come out of our comfort zones to find new ways of working for the common good”.

She added: “As we embark on this process, we are setting no limits on our ambition.

“So in that vein let me be clear that while this is not a guaranteed or a pre-agreed outcome, it is not inconceivable that a co-operation agreement could lead in future to a Green minister or ministers being part of this Government.”

Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater said she hoped the talks with the SNP on a formal co-operation agreement would allow them to “deliver real change”.

She said: “The Scottish Greens have always worked constructively with other parties, delivering meaningful change like free bus travel for young people."

Fellow Green co-leader Patrick Harvie added: “Politics does not have to be about point-scoring and short-termism. Green parties across Europe and in countries like New Zealand have in recent years rolled up their sleeves and worked with other parties to deliver a better future.

“But they have also shown that there is more than one way for government and opposition parties to work together, without losing the ability to challenge one another.

“We believe the people of Scotland want to see grown-up politics like this, and will approach the forthcoming talks in this spirit.”

If the deal is struck - and approved by Green members - it will the first time the Greens have been in power in any part of the UK. It presents the prospect of ushering in a new era of politics in Scotland and one that will be closely watched by other nations in the UK, Europe and the world.