BACK in the early years of the devolution era, in the midst of the nasty, homophobic campaign to save Section 28, I knew I wanted to get more involved in Scottish politics.

When I looked at the Scottish Greens, the party I saw was one that recognised the urgency of the environmental crisis and the transformational change it demanded.

The party I saw was unequivocal on equalities, never having entertained the idea of a grubby compromise with the bigoted Keep the Clause mob.

Most clearly of all, the party I saw recognised that independence wasn't an end in itself, but was only a starting point for a more sustainable and more equal Scotland.

READ MORE: Ripping up Bute House Agreement will do nothing to further the cause of independence

When I look at the Scottish Greens today, a lot has changed - for the better.

We have far more members, more experience at national and local level, and more profile. Most importantly, unprecedented electoral success has brought us the opportunity to put policies into practice as never before.

And that scares some people. Some of them are from the right wing of the independence movement, who never moved on from the "Scotland's oil" generation despite the reality of the climate emergency fossil fuels have caused.

Sadly, some are even former Greens who never really embraced the social or economic dimension of Green politics and wanted us to be little more than an environmental pressure group. Both those viewpoints end up helping only the status quo, and the parties which aim to protect it.

The National: Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Government's minister for zero carbon buildings, is adamant that

The Tories expect defeat next year, and it's predictable that they are trying to burn the house down behind them and do all they can to scuttle Scotland’s right to govern itself.

At the same time, they have manufactured a toxic culture war against marginalised minorities like migrants and transgender people, and branding anyone demanding climate action as "eco zealots" while their Prime Minister travels the country in a private jet and approves hundreds of new oil and gas licences.

Labour meanwhile have been grazing in the wilderness for so long that some have forgotten what it’s like to govern, while others are terrified of offering any kind of change at all.

If Keir Starmer does get the keys to Downing Street, he has already said he'll keep those oil and gas licences in place, not to mention the hostile environment against asylum seekers, hideous welfare policies like the two-child limit, and the same transphobic rhetoric we hear from the Tories.

So it’s little wonder both sides are attacking the most progressive political cooperation deal the UK has ever witnessed.

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They can’t win on policy, they have lost on credibility, so finger-pointing and name-calling is all they have left.

They know that the partnership between Scottish Greens and the SNP, and the promise of a continued pro-independence majority, is all that stands against them and whoever takes Number 10 come the looming General Election, so of course they are going to attack us. It’s as predictable as it is desperate.

While we are leading action on the climate crisis, supporting children and the least well off against the Tory cost of living crisis, standing up for equality and offering a helping hand to asylum seekers, and ensuring a future for younger generations, others are living in the past and want to drag us back there.

As we continue our work on buffer zones, a ban on disposable vapes, on animal welfare, delivering a publicly owned railway, taking action on community housing, protecting our firefighters, and standing up against the far right and bigots, all other parties want to do is talk about the Scottish Greens and the SNP, misleading people about our policies because they envy our ability to work together.

The National:

Our country still bears the scars of Thatcherism and the last dozen years or so of Cameron, May, Johnson, Truss and now Sunak, leading today what is perhaps the cruellest, most right-wing UK Government in history.

And having come so far in putting children and families first, in creating a renewables sector the envy of the world, of restoring nature and the environment, bringing in free bus travel for young people and scrapping peak rail fares for all, banning coal and new incinerators, lifting 90,000 children out of poverty, standing up for equal rights and refusing to turn our backs on the marginalised trans community, ensuring people kept a roof over their heads with action on rents and preventing evictions, and driving reform of our education system, we know the good that has come from the Bute House Agreement - the most progressive and meaningful example of political cooperation ever in any of the UK nations.

It is and remains an exemplar of how politics can and should be. It is our biggest asset in ensuring the policies of pro-independence parties are furthered, and ultimately in delivering independence itself.

To see Labour side with the Tories and the Tories lean into the far right, makes this a dangerous time in politics. Perhaps the most dangerous in our history.

Our nation cannot and must not revert to a time where governments simply accepted that people walking down the street could be abused for their sexuality, their race, their gender or where they come from - we have surely moved beyond those bad old days; politicians of the past have to accept responsibility for failing to act over the climate crisis sooner and understand there is no future - for anyone - in drilling for more oil and gas; and we must understand those politicians and powerful allies against independence will stop at nothing to prevent it happening - which is why our partnership in government is so potent.

READ MORE: FM wants unit to respond to misleading independence claims to be ready by autumn

Little wonder a Westminster system in utter chaos fears what we can achieve together, and no wonder those stuck in the past are bewildered by the opportunities that cooperation can create.

The cooperation deal that brought our two pro-independence political parties with a shared vision of a fairer, greener, more equal and independent Scotland together, that sees us delivering for the people of our nation, could never have even been imagined in the outdated, obsolete politics of the past.

But it is reality. Look how far we have come. Look at our journey ahead. It’s the future that matters now.