RIPPING up the Bute House agreement with the Scottish Greens does nothing to further the cause of independence.

In recent weeks, attacks on the junior partners in the Scottish Government have ramped up from all corners, including the party’s former leader Robin Walker, the Alba party, and from within the SNP ranks.

Detractors such as backbench MSP Fergus Ewing are no surprise, he previously called them “wine bar revolutionaries” in a furious rant in the Holyrood chamber and voted against Greens co-leader and Scottish Government minister Lorna Slater in a no-confidence vote last term.

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Slater survived the vote, as did Ewing from losing the SNP party whip, but the attacks on the Scottish Greens have done nothing but grow over the summer.

It comes as Alba party leader Alex Salmond has demanded that to provide unity in the Yes movement, Humza Yousaf should ditch the agreement with the Greens and work with his pro-independence party instead.

But, it is only one of those parties who gained enough support from the electorate to elect eight MSPs, seven now excluding the politically neutral Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, and to form a pact with the SNP minority government, allowing legislation and budgets to pass easily in a toxic Holyrood where ministers face loud opposition from Unionist parties on almost every issue.

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That’s not to say that there haven’t been issues this past parliamentary term - but pro-independence politicians laying the blame at the feet of the Scottish Greens rather than the real culprits, the Westminster Government, should be transparent about their motivations for doing so.

No matter your view on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill - it was the Scotland Office that escalated the row, blocked the legislation using a Section 35 order and sought to use transgender people’s lives as a wedge issue.

On the Deposit Return Scheme, it was again Alister Jack and UK ministers who intervened and refused to allow certain exemptions to the Internal Market Act to allow the policy to go ahead - now Scotland has to wait at least two more years until Westminster gets its own scheme up and running.

Admittedly, Highly Protected Marine Areas (HMPAs) were scrapped by the Scottish Government - but Unionist parties who were quick to criticise also supported the policy in their Holyrood manifestos, but why let that get in the way of an easy attack on the SNP-Greens deal? 

It’s yet another push against Green policies in the midst of a climate crisis that serves no one but the right.

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Unpicking the Bute House Agreement would only set Yousaf’s government on a shaky footing, making it harder for them to pass their agenda for a progressive Scotland, and to mitigate harmful Tory policies.

Who does that benefit? Those who have called for a vote on the SNP-Green agreement at the party conference are evidently not fans of the First Minister.

Kate Forbes (below), Yousaf’s main contender in the leadership contest, her supporter Ewing, SNP MP Joanna Cherry, and other backbenchers who have remained nameless in the press are known critics of the Greens' policies and did not support Yousaf’s bid for party leader.

Ash Regan, who has also called for a vote on the deal, made it clear during the SNP leadership contest that she wasn't scared of the Greens walking away from the deal. 

The National: Kate Forbes

With the latest Holyrood projection polling predicting the SNP could drop from 64 seats to 49, while the Greens would increase from eight to 15 MSPs, tearing up the pro-independence pact will likely do more damage than good.

It also seems easily forgotten that more than 95% of SNP members voted to support the deal in August 2021. 

It could be argued ditching the pact wouldn’t encourage voters to support independence if politicians are too busy fighting their personal battles in the media rather than focusing on the needs of the electorate.

Or indeed, making a positive case for Yes and bringing a progressive movement together. 

As SNP policy convener Toni Giugliano said, critics should be "transparent" about their motives in scrapping the deal.