Humza must show some leadership and boot the wretched Greens out of Bute House, writes EDDIE BARNES

Well, they had it coming.’ If the Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman was to speak honestly and candidly about her position on the murder of 900 defenceless Israeli citizens, that is what she’d say.

It is, after all, what her position implies. The children gunned down alongside their parents in their homes: they had it coming. 

The women shot and paraded around the streets of Gaza like trophies: they had it coming. 

The hundreds of hostages who wait in agony this week, fearing the inevitable: they all have it coming too.

If, as Ms Chapman argued in her notorious tweet on Sunday, you believe that ‘what’s happening in Palestine is the consequence of apartheid, of illegal occupation and of imperial aggression by the Israeli State’, and if you approve of other tweets that argue Hamas’s actions weren’t acts of terrorism but of ‘decolonization’, then your position is clear.

Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman’s views on the terrorist attack in Israel sparked outrage

It is that the barbarism seen at the weekend can be explained away by the way Palestine has been treated. It’s that ordinary Israeli citizens reap what their state sows. Sorry to all those parents and ­families grieving over their dead this week: tough.

The atrocities carried out by Hamas terrorists in Israel on Saturday morning were, like the 9/11 attacks just over 20 years ago, a clarifying moment. For most of us, I suspect, the first response is shock – and deep human sympathy.

Whatever your position on Israel and Palestine, most people will have felt little but disgust at the men who charged over the border between Gaza and Israel to kill entire families in their homes and to murder young people enjoying themselves at a rave.

But then – mercifully few in number – there are the Chapmans of this world, for whom such acts are opportunities to underscore your pre-existing political ideology.

I remember how, within hours of the twin towers coming down in 2001, the same people were blaming America, declaring that the US’s ­disregard for the countries of the Middle East was the core reason behind the killing of 2,000 innocent people in New York. They had it coming too.


Now, with bodies piling ever higher in the morgues of the Middle East, they are back, excusing the inexcusable, ­justifying the unjustifiable.

The only difference today is that, with the rise of social media, they don’t even have the decency to wait a few days.

It’s ironic how it is often morally righteous people such as Ms Chapman who are the ones capable of such a callous response. It comes, fundament­ally, from a hatred of our way of life.

These ‘wine bar revolutionaries’ – as Nationalist MSP Fergus Ewing memorably dubbed the Scottish Greens – see the injustice and inequalities in the world and, with sophomore simplicity, conclude that western ‘imperialism’ is to blame.

The undeniable challenge of climate change has only increased their fervour and loathing of the modern ­capitalist societies in which they live. From there, it is but a short step to see dead Israeli bodies on the TV and type ‘#VivaPalestine’ on your Twitter account.

I wonder if Ms Chapman has the courage to shout these words into the faces of those Israeli families grieving their dead at countless funerals this week. I doubt it somehow… #coward.

Hearteningly, our main ­political leaders in the UK, irrespective of political ­allegiance, have shunned Ms Chapman’s awful example over the past few days and risen to the moment, making it clear there can be no justification for the slaughter.

They include First Minister Humza Yousaf, who spoke bravely on Monday both to condemn the attacks and to reveal that his wife’s parents are trapped in Gaza, unable to escape.

It brought home vividly the human cost of war – one that has already claimed one Scottish life, that of Bernard Cowan, murdered in his home by Hamas terrorists.

Violent conflict will, as always, create thousands of victims on both sides.

It is a ghastly position for Mr Yousaf and his family.

Asked yesterday about his view of Ms Chapman’s tweet, he distanced himself from her comments. And pressed about calls by the Scottish Conservatives for him to sever his ­coalition agreement with the Scottish Greens, he described such talk as ‘crass’.

It is easy to sympathise with that view. As people are killed in Gaza and as the conflict threatens to escalate, the question of the grandly titled Bute House Agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens here at home is, as he suggests, utterly trivial.

But Mr Yousaf, at some point, needs to confront this head-on. On this occasion, that’s true both for his own party’s interests and for the country as a whole. Ms ­Chapman’s words show he should get on with it.


The Scottish Greens are not a cuddly, pro-environmentalist party.

This, remember, is a party so ideologically puritanical that it not so long ago decided to formally suspend ties with the Green Party of England and Wales over its position on trans rights.

As its former leader Robin Harper recently pointed out, not long after tearing up his membership card, it’s a movement that is intrinsically divisive, ‘arrogant and abrasive’ in his words. It’s a party that takes a childish delight in recruiting enemies, all the ­better for it to feel relevant and just.

We know why the SNP went into government with them. After being scarred by numerous parliamentary battles in the previous parliament, the Nationalists saw an opportunity to lock down Holyrood by running as a majority administration.

Doubtless, Nicola Sturgeon also spied the ­opportunity to burnish her international environmentalist credentials.

But, as they have proved over their mismanagement of green projects in Scotland, they’re not even helping to support the environment, never mind anything else.


They’re now only damaging both the SNP’s reputation and Scotland’s too. That was the inevitable consequence of putting an extreme anti-growth, anti-western party at the centre of power.

Mr Yousaf has an immediate test facing him this coming weekend when he will attend his first SNP conference as party leader.

The ‘Mr Continuity’ act hasn’t cut it so far. He should therefore change tack. If he wants to establish himself as a leader of seriousness, there would be no better time to tell his coalition partners that it’s over.

In its place, he should make a big open offer to opposition parties to work on a new plan to grow Scotland’s flatlining economy and fix our ailing health service.

Put the Scottish Greens where they belong, on the backbenches and the fringes.

It is, after this week, the very least they deserve.