SCOTLAND’S election last week threw up few surprises.

We again have a SNP-led government, which this time fell short of an outright majority by just one seat in Holyrood. This, in turn, puts their ‘partners’ for the last term, the Green Party, in a position of some power, despite them not winning any first-past-the-post seats.

It must grieve the LibDems, in particular, that while they won four constituency seats and a total of 325,000 votes (between that and the regional vote), and yet the Greens, with 255,000 total votes, will have eight bottoms sitting in Parliament. How does that work?

But that is what the voting procedures have produced and we will have to live with that for another full term. There is an opportunity here for the Greens to ‘grow’ into this exalted position that they have achieved and prove that they are not the anti-farming party that they have been widely perceived to be.

First off, they can acknowledge that some kind of control is needed with regard to the burgeoning and destructive population of white tailed sea eagles that is centred off our West Coast, but which is spreading rapidly into other areas.

They need to see that balance is required in their numbers because it is not just sheep farming that is being nailed by these sharp talons, they are also having a destructive effect on other bird populations. For instance, there is growing evidence that they have plundered stable and world class-rated fulmar populations in their search for protein on the West Coast, amongst others birds.

Then there’s the significant generational cumulative effect that is often forgotten. The fact that WTEs do not reach sexual maturity until they are five or six, means there are several generations out there which will know nothing but eating anything other than lambs in the spring and other birds. There may even be some of them that have never tasted what should be their staple diet, which should be fish.

This means that the ‘breeding pair’ stats regularly trotted out tend to mask the fact that there could be many times that number scavenging and killing for food. It is widely thought that there could soon be 200 breeding pairs – at an average 1.5 chicks reared, then it could be thousands of birds that are out there.

So, if the Greens want to be taken seriously, they must be seen to address the imbalances that are occurring and even accept the destructive nature of badgers and foxes on ground-nesting birds. It is not just ‘changes in farming practice’ that are to blame!

Similarly, there will be much common ground in what they wish to achieve as a party within the climate change reports that have been made by the various farmer-led groups (FLGs). In a lot of ways, there are many parts to what is being proposed by these groups that should dovetail into their way of thinking and there’s a strong argument for the industry to put forward that overall production need not be compromised by the many sensible proposals being made therein.

Some acknowledgement of such by the Greens would go a long way towards their ambitions of becoming a more mainstream party.