I AM entirely in sympathy with the aims of the Green party, here or anywhere else in the world: a cleaner, purer world with breathable air and toxin-free water, fresh or salt, is not only a desirable utopia but a goal we all need to be pursuing if our descendants’ inheritance is going to be other than a poisonous desert.

However I am entirely exasperated, in Scotland, by their holier-than-thou absolutist myopia, which has two branches; one being their self-righteous obstruction in Holyrood of measures that don’t meet their rigid idealistic standards, and the other being their insistence on working primarily in elections to raise their own presence and profile regardless of the wider goals – the first of these being, of course, the attainment of an independent country with a government in sympathy with their aims.

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The former tendency, the “we want it all, now” approach to detoxing the world, is just plain impractical. Even if free to get started on serious (and independent) action now on getting rid of fossil fuels, I would suggest it won’t be possible on a scale of less than decades. While wind power has come on enormously, and tidal is showing definite promise, the latter will need to be in major production before we can have a bedrock public and industrial supply.

Millions of houses, and all the bigger buildings, can’t be freed from dependence on fossil fuel for heat and light for a long time yet; there’s been a start with the spread of domestic solar (now, of course, choked by the ending of feed-in tariffs) but no more than a start.

The really sticky one is going to be road transport, because although battery power for cars has developed somewhat, this is a country with a lot of road a long way from any power source of any sort, so hybrid or hydrogen are going to be as far as you can get towards clean until such time as every croft and clachan has a dependable solar and/or wind charging source, and until such time as vehicles can get into a three-figure mileage without a long pause to recharge. That won’t be cheap; maybe even not affordable at all until Scotland’s own economy can start to show its real strength. Until then, the vast majority of vehicles are going to need a store of fossil fuel that they can carry with them.

In Scotland, we have a government with limited powers and strangled budget that can only do so much to work towards that future world that we can hand on with hope. If the leaders of the Green party could raise their gaze from their own navels for a moment, and look southward, they might realise that they have no chance at all of ever making an impact on the British scene in Westminster – just look at the complete sidelining of and utter disrespect to every SNP member.

If that’s what we get, and got, even when it was 56 MPs, what good would it do the Greens even if they got the same representation UK-wide (which is about as likely, as we all know, as Boris forswearing lies and embracing celibacy)? Zilch, zip and nada.

Their only real hope of real influence on a national policy is assisting, for now and to their utmost, in the election of as many SNP MPs as can be – which may be only one of several steps yet to be taken on the path to independence but, once achieved, that in turn will give the Greens a chance to have real influence on a sympathetic government with a sense of responsibility, to the Scottish nation now and into our future. Being self-appointed gadflies ain’t going to help, not here and now. The big hurdle has to be surmounted first; if the Greens can’t see that, and act strategically for the immediate goal, they don’t deserve even the influence they have now.

Colin Stuart
Saline, Fife