Divided Loyalties

Is the SNP right to declare it won’t shore up a Tory government?

Perhaps this time Scotland’s votes will count’, said Nicola Sturgeon. ‘Scotland could well hold the balance of power in a Westminster parliament with no overall majority. If that happens, I promise you this – you won’t need to have voted Labour to keep the Tories out, because that’s what we’ll do. My pledge to Scotland today is this – the SNP will never put the Tories into government.’

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Mmm. Really? Two points occur. First, is it democratic to deny the country a government? If the people have voted thus, is it really up to the MPs to declare themselves hors de combat and claim they weren’t standing for government but merely for election?

Isn’t that what the voters are doing – giving their backing to the people they want to form a government… That the votes create a mash-up of different parties and individuals is the serendipity of democracy. If everyone said No Thanks, we’d end up like Belgium. (Although it ran pretty well without a government at all for 600 days).

As a democrat, I’m left uneasy at politicians saying that the choice of some voters is unacceptable to them, especially when this isn’t a repugnant outlier like the BNP but a mainstream grouping already in government, part of the constitutional tapestry of Britain, and with members of the Scottish parliament with whom the SNP does regular business when it suits.

I was scathing about the Lib Dems refusing even to enter talks with the SNP in 2007 when they could have formed a coalition (and reserved the right to leave whenever independence became cabinet policy). They ‘preferred opposition’ they said, and the people agreed four years later, putting them into permanent opposition – outside Holyrood.

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Secondly, what happens if the Tories, as both sitting government and potentially largest party, can’t do a deal with Lib Dems or UKIP and turn to the SNP – whose numbers would ensure stability – and the Tories offer a serious package of concessions?

Clearly that is unlikely. The pollsters say Labour looks most likely to have most MPs given its geographic advantage but I still fancy it will be the Tories with just enough Lib Dems (minus Highland Danny) to maintain the Coalition.

But what if it isn’t? What if there aren’t enough Lib Dems which pretty much means there won’t be enough UKIP – even if Cameron wanted to work with them. No, I think it is the Nats the big parties will be eyeing up, both Dave and Ed sidling along the benches towards them from either side.

It is surely less damaging to Cameron with a single (none?) MP to cut off Scotland by allowing it to do more and more on its own and by demanding SNP MPs return to not voting on English laws, so he gets his EVEL way.

To counter English fury he makes sure Scotland is raising and keeping all its own taxes without a Barnett formula in place (or at least binning the name and keeping open a financial support account in reserve but buried in the detail). You can create your own assortment of powers and responsibilities which could fairly be named Devo Max.

So little has in reality been offered in new powers that Cameron could shower the Scots with gifts including a separate rate of corporation tax which make it impossible for the SNP to turn down, committed as it is to getting the best deal for Scotland in all circumstances.

So, Devo Max delivered – but in return for keeping a Tory government in place. What do you say…Yes or No? If No, then how do you continue to make the case for Home Rule when it was offered but you turned it down because of political prejudice? On the other hand, if you accept the deal, you go into the Holyrood elections as the Tartan Tories keeping the austerity-driven Conservatives in power.

I suppose they have to hope that the Tories don’t come calling and, if they do, lack the imagination to offer a killer a deal which, to be fair, is Cameron’s hallmark – no vision and no courage.

You can’t say Jim Murphy lacks vision. If Cameron is short-sighted, Jim has X-ray eyes. He can see through every policy and every statement and find a paper-thin space into which he can work a Labour angle. Jim the superhero – who goes into leadership as Mr Right-wing Sensible and comes out totally transformed into Mad-as-Fuck McMurphy, in a Scotland top, with X-ray eyes and anti-Tory powers.

X Man with X-Ray Eyes 1963 movie pic2

He’s had some good ideas lately and so has Ed. (Must be an election imminent). But is that the problem? I’m with Ed on abolition of the Lords and parental time off; with Jim on powers to the cities and income tax to Holyrood. But am I convinced they mean it and will deliver? Both have become incontinent with new ideas which are thrown out into the ether…and then what?

How many times have Labour offered reform/replacement of the Lords? Did Labour go for subsidiarity to councils when in power? (Jim is praising previous governments for writing off Glasgow’s housing debt. That was done by the Tories – in exchange for removing responsibility over housing from elected members, hardly appropriate for his council empowerment strategy today).

Now I know I’m biased but I’m not a fool. (Most of the time). I see a feverish rush to come out with something – anything – to keep up visibility and create the idea of an effective opposition, and at the same time a slew of last-minute special offers to dam the flow of support. God knows, they have to try.

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But, you know, I think it would take an extraordinary individual to have any chance of pulling this off with less than 100 days to go. Unfairly to Murphy, I imagined Donald Dewar as captain of the listing ship, a man known throughout Scotland, who commanded respect beyond party and class, who carried a popular warmth and, despite some personal failings, a weight of authority that was unrivalled in my view (more so than Smith, for example).

If Donald metaphorically went down on his knees, confessed grievous errors of judgment and pleaded with the Scots for another chance, he might win back just enough to avoid humiliation.

Jim Murphy has no such well of affection and respect however competent he is, not even in his own party, or indeed his leadership team. And there is in all this a deeper and human question I‘ve been pondering. What happens to Jim Murphy the man if this goes wrong? He has taken a huge risk with this task and in so doing, showed more courage than the armchair critic Douglas Alexander. But his credibility is at stake with this confetti of policies and a frenetic splurge of promises which everyone knows is a cardboard cut-out compared to the reality of a New Labour careerist. Tough as politicians have to be, they have feelings and families like everybody else and I wonder what toll wholesale rejection of his efforts might take on him personally. If it does fail, he will take the flak, not the Ian Davidsons and Sandra Osbornes, they will make sure of that. Nor do I believe Murphy is short of self-doubt and introspection. Unfolding before us could be a Greek tragedy in the making…perhaps his PR team have a toga ready.

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37 thoughts on “Divided Loyalties

  1. I don’t think it is unreasonable at all for the SNP to declare they would never form a coalition with the English Tories, a party which commands a huge amount of unseen power and is basically just a front for hedge funds and the City and acts in these interests. Touch pitch and ye will be defiled. It’s not the English Tory electors who are the problem (or those who vote Tory in Scotland) but those who actually control the Tories. Douglas Carswell complained in his blog that the reason he left was that at Tory Party conferences the number of delegates was less than the number of lobbyists and that the party no longer represented the voters. It was being controlled by corporate interests and MPs were just fronts. Membership has fallen dramatically and the party is funded by rich corporate donors. Cash for questions, lobbyists, MPs with directorships and interests in companies seeking government patronage are all part of the venal system.

    It was one thing for the SNP to be occadionally aided by Scottish Conservatives under Annabel Goldie in 2007. Scottish Conservatives had no power in Scotland, they simply represented voters. They were, if you like, de-fanged, they had no corrupt associations. It was right and proper that the SNP were assisted by Annabel and her colleagues on pragmatic matters where they were able to find common ground. It wasn’t a formal coalition either.

    If neither major party really is unable to form a majority or a coalition (which I find hard to believe) then they could contemplate a National Government or they could hold another election.

  2. ‘Unfolding before us could be a Greek tragedy in the making’. Lord, lets hope so.

    • I see no problem helping the Tories to form a Government…if their offer were good enough, though not in a Coalition. When you are in a thieves kitchen you have to deal with thieves. The Tories are far more amenable to Scotland going its own way than Labour. The latter will VOW to give everything then procrastinate and even renege on it.

      Meanwhile, the SNP, for electoral purposes have to continue to rule out working with the Tories.

  3. Jim Murphy has no ‘vision’. He is eagle-eyed (and sharp-clawed) and can spot an opportunity out of thin air. But that’s not the same thing as ‘vision’.

    Why would he bother with ‘vision’ when he can just steal other people’s ideas and pass them off as his own, and nobody challenges him?

  4. I can’t believe you are feeling sorry for Murphy! Murphy is a born survivor, a street-fighter whose sharp eyes, opportunism, flexibility, energy and fighting skills will readily find him employment just about anywhere.

    If he fails it won’t be any reflection on the man, but simply that the task of rescuing Labour in Scotland was not humanly possible. I certainly won’t be branding him a failure if he doesn’t succeed.

    I expect he will retain his Eastwood seat in any case.

    • Curiously I just found out that Ian Murray, MP, (Edinburgh South) who is the Labour shadow trade and industry spokesman, has had £45,000 given to run his Westminster office for six months by Price Waterhouse Cooper, the giant accountancy firm, who are also involved in the TTIP deal for their US clients, and Murray is Labour’s man on TTIP.

      This was in Private Eye, 23 January, 2015.

    • You might be right about him retaining his Eastwood seat but his jaiket is on a shoogly nail. We’ve been out canvassing and support for Labour in areas like Busby and Thornliebank is thin to non-existent.

      He has some peculiar support specific to him; he goes down well with Scotland’s largest Jewish community for obvious reasons which gives him an immediate headstart. This however may be leveled out by a realistic Tory challenge that will give the orangemen and middle-class unionists an alternative option to the SNP. Eastwood is going to be very tight.

      btw I can’t believe Derek sounds almost sympathetic to his plight. Murphy epitomes so much of what has gone wrong with UK politics and directly or indirectly has blood on his hands and pain and inequality to answer for. I hope he rots.

  5. The answer to your question isn’t just “No!” it’s ” Hell NO!”. SNP supporters and members simply wouldn’t stand for it. Given that the GE is only 80 days out, and barring some political earthquake (which whilst possible must look increasingly unlikely) all the polls suggest that neither Labour or Tories will be anywhere close to a majority. Most seem to suggest them both on around 270/280 seats, well short of the 320-odd they’d need. Only the SNP are likely to give the 2 major parties a majority, and if the SNP have already ruled out a deal with the Tories, people know what they are voting for. Your argument against this doesn’t bear any real scrutiny I’m afraid – it’s just democracy, and a calculation of the odds about whether this stance is more dangerous than actually propping the Tories up.

    Evidence is that the LDs got this calculation spectacularly wrong in 2010. Similarly, I reckon the Labour party are calculating that ruling out deal with the SNP post GE15 would be a bad move (see Duncan Hothersall’s laughable piece on Labour Hame today and the comprehensive rubbishing of it BTL by virtually every poster), and that similarly they realise any Grand Coalition would be a disastrous choice and lead to a similar extinction level event in Northern England as they are currently suffering in Scotland.

    The britnat establishment will have only 2 realistic choices on 8th May 2015: a Labour minority government propped up by SNP confidence & supply support, or a rapid descent into ungovernability and a second GE irrespective of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. UK voters are unlikely to take kindly to the party seen as being responsible for provoking such a rapid re-run, whether Labour or the Tories are the immediate cause. In 2010 Labour were rightly criticised for spiking the guns of a rainbow coalition before it even got off the ground in a fit of pique at the electorate for rejecting them. The difference then was that the Tories & LDs had the numbers to form a stable coalition. In 2015 this is unlikely to be the case due to the LD meltdown. A Labour refusal to do a deal with the SNP just because they hated them is potentially MUCH more dangerous for them this time than their lack of “cojones” in 2010.

  6. Firstly, I doubt if failure to form a coalition with the SNP in 2007 damaged the LibDems electoral prospects significantly, compared with their jumping into bed with the Tories in 2010.

    Secondly, I am in broad agreement with the previous comment by MBC, but I wonder whether Labour is much less in thrall to Big Business and their lobbyists than the Tories. They seem to be just as committed to austerity.

    Personally, I would support an SNP deal Tories if the price was right – devo-max, or something very close to it, with a strict timetable – but I doubt doubt if the Tories will risk half their backbenchers dying of apoplexy or defecting to UKIP by offering enough to Scotland.

    In the event of a hung parliament, the SNP is under no obligation to do a deal with any party, especially not with one whose policies are as repugnant to many SNP voters as the Tories; they do not owe it to democracy to provide the UK with a government, when any deal the SNP make will be bitterly resented by many English voters who will argue that Scotland should not be allowed to decide who governs England.

    Asa for a Tory/Labour coalition, it would be intersting. I suspect that it might damage both those parties, and break their current duopoly, and also that it could be the last straw for the Union.

  7. But what powers to cities, Derek? That’s far from clear. I heard Red Tory philosopher, Phillip Blond, talking vaguely about the need for cities to have powers over planning and housing on Good Morning Scotland this morning. As local authorities, cities already have powers over planning and housing, so where’s the beef?

  8. “Politicians saying the choice of some voters is unacceptable to them” is the very basis of FPTP, which UK voters just voted to keep. As a democrat, one may very well be uneasy about FPTP, but *within it* what the SNP have done is proper and principled (just as what the LibDems did, in *implying* they would not coalesce with the Tories, then doing it, was the opposite. Sturgeon is simply cutting through all this vote x get y rubbish, to say that if you want a Tory government, vote Tory. If this was after folk had voted, there would be a problem. Beforehand, they have a free choice). UK politics is full of impossible partnerships – the LibDems and UKIP (at least in theory) could not team up and remain who they are, as one is committed to the EU, the other to Brexit. It’s perfectly reasonable to point out that the party of Scotland’s independence (in abeyance as the issue may be for this Parliament) and the Conservative Unionist party simply would not be able to work together on any issue regarding Scotland.

    Further, while it is entirely (in theory) possible that a Tory government could see their way clear to Home Rule given sufficient electoral advantage, it is not, even in theory, possible that a Tory/SNP government could deliver that – Tory MPs do defy the Whip on the suggestion of being ‘forced to cede power’. The Tories have volunteered to be the party with whom coalition equals political suicide *for anyone*, and their voters have voted them there. It’s a valid position in FPTP (and could well win them the votes in England they need for a majority, if it comes to a second election this year.) Indeed, although Home Rule is quite likely after May, surely it is more likely – from either Labour or Tories – to be used to render irrelevant SNP MPs, rather than gain their co-operation? (That, at least, is the logical implication of both EVEL and Labour’s insistence that it will not deal on Trident.) It’s not like the UK doesn’t already have a nation with a wholly separate political system at Westminster. And it’s not like the Labour Party are unable to deliver this unilaterally by splitting off their Scottish branch.

  9. “Captain Video” Murphy with the reputed vision to see through all but lead. Of course he has many henchmen “plumbers” helping with that problem. It’s deleterious effects could,however,provide yet another source of taint in Murphy’s Machiavellian Mix.

  10. The SNP have declared their intent not to support a Conservative government. The democratic choice is now surely ours to decide whether we agree with this or not? As for the thought that Dave may sidle up to the SNP bench whispering promises of devo max in exchange for the big chair?

    The likelihood of the establishment doing this is, IMO anyway, zero. I reckon they’d rather pull their own teeth out with rusty pliars than be seen to make such a deal, most especially after the strategy applied and risk taken in the recent referendum. Oh I’m sure they’d make an offer or two over some significant powers, but FFA would never, under any circumstances, be on the cards. Neither can I see a failure to form government being allowed to happen, they’d simply move on to GE number two, or more likely, in return for a shot at the big chair, Ed would come to a deal with the more progressive parties including the SNP.

    There is a third option of course which is the emergency govt. Tory/Labour deal floated in one or two titles recently. This however truly would sound the death knell of the union, for its only reason to exist would be to block a pro Scottish vote. The last flimsy shred of partnership and democracy would disappear like sna aff a dyke. I’m fairly certain that core membership of both parties and all parties wouldn’t feel too cheery about such a prospect either.

    You can see the furore and fear though, that the prospect of such an SNP block has caused. The thought that either/both establishment parties may have to concede anything has stirred up a rare old hornets nest. Now when was the last time Scottish representation to Westminster did that? Not in my lifetime certainly and I can’t even think of such a scenario occurring historically.

    One thing I believe we can be sure of, whatever votes come about and from whatever source, benches filled with SNP representation for Scotland will only vote for those measures which benefit the Scottish electorate.

  11. I agree with you Derek. We shouldn’t stigmitise nor stereotype people just because they vote Tory. We can disagree with their policies as individuals. But lets say if 16% of Scots vote Tory we just refuse them any recofgnition and refer them as right wing fascists. Then we are no better than they are for declaring the majority which is the SNP, as bigots , zealots,nationalists and even Stalinists. Toleration is what we preach. Therefore I would have no problem in the SNP agreeing with Tories when there is common ground.

    Look at the labour party in Scotland. They won’t work with the SNP and they protest for the sake of protesting. This makes the look petulant and silly. I suppose the problem with the Tories is pecerption. They have been labelled as vengefull and anti Scottish for so long. Most Scots even moderate ones detest them.

    I don’t detest their honesty. We know where we stand with a Tory. They are right wing and very British. But Gordon Brown is very British and some would say he was a right winger in government. I have more problem with the labour party in scotland. They are dishonest and childish. They have held Scotland back not the Tories. We voted labour for 50 years and they betrayed Scotland over and over again.

  12. Steve Asaneilean

    I don’t quite understand where you are coming from Derek – sorry. If the SNP stand on a manifesto of not supporting a Tory Government in Westminster (and people vote for them on that basis) and then do so on the back of some bribes how is that democratic?
    Likewise the democratic will of Scotland as a whole has been clear for the last 3 or 4 decades – they didn’t want to be ruled by the Tories – so how would it be democratic for the SNP to force a Tory Westminster Government on Scotland?
    The only basis on which I could accept the SNP now supporting a Cameron government is if the offer on the table was full, unconditional independence. But of course that’s not going to happen ever.
    As for Murphy’s promises – he has made loads and loads that are on devolved matters so he has no prospect on implementing them until at least 2016. But this is not a Scottish Parliament election – it’s a Westminster one. So why is no-one pulling up Murphy every time along the lines of “How can you promise that during this election campaign when it is clearly a devolved matter which, until at least 2016, only the SNP government in Holyrood could institute?”

  13. Agree with the comments above.

    RE: Donald Dewar

    The only reasons Donald Dewar is given any respect by the public is

    a) the media fawning over him & effectively ‘demanding’ he is respected.

    b) because Joe Public is generally unaware of his despicable back-door
    dealing with Blair to shift maritime boundaries on the eve of the Scottish
    Parliament being resumed. That in itself is most definitely something NOT
    to be respected, but to be derided.

    I could never RESPECT someone who has been involved in such sneaky,
    quivering actions, done behind the public’s back.

    Just another Labour liar as far as I’m concerned.

    • I could not agree more Scotsgeoff,
      I think back to the debacle of the new parliament and Dewar’s involvement in it and it was then that I found I couldn’t trust a word the Labour party said, and the despicable act of acceding to a move of the maritime boundary the eve of the opening of the Holyrood parliament was a quid pro quo too far for me.

  14. SORRY Derek,but in trying to view from another angle this seems a muddled piece of perspective,perhaps its impossible to fathom such shallow people with no plan except get in power

  15. Correct me if I am wrong Derek. I took from the piece that you were saying, we shouldn’t castigate and alienate people. Just becuase they have different views to ourselves. I don’t think you meant you liked the Tories or espoused their views. Nor I think did you mean the Tories and SNP should form a coalition. The general point was not to give up and alienate and ignore the percentage of the population that you may disagree with.

    Do I hate the Tories? No because to me unionists are all the same, in terms of where they see Scotlands place. Labour are just slightly more moderate unionists than the Torie, as are the Lib Dems. I hate Scotland being deprived of democracy. I hate Scotland being prevented from flourishing as an independent nation. Therefore I hate British unionism as a concept not the parties or individuals.

  16. Have you lost your mind, Derek? It is clear to me that the conservatives are clearly owned by the Financiers and the Multinationals. They are not to be trusted under any circumstances.

    The SNP know it and they also know that the membership new and old would desert them in droves if such a thing came to pass.

    If the conservatives cannot get an overall majority in any coalition, and Labour will not do a Confidence and Supply deal with SNP, then they will have to accept the consequences.

    • Exactly. It’s not the Tory voters we despise and reject (we simply disagree with them) but rather the entire corrupt Tory party machine which makes co-operation with it toxic and dangerous. Carswell saw that up close which is why he jumped ship. I think the voters are simply brainwashed or sadly, brain dead.

  17. It is not undemocratic to vote against a confidence motion for a minority Conservative Goverment. If nobody has an overall majority then no potential minority Government has any divine right to demand support (not to mention the unfair votoing system means they will probably have only around one third of the votes). And the vast majority of Scottish voters, including the vast majority of those who had just voted SNP, would prefer not to have a Tory UK Govt.

    The difference with the Liberals and SNP in2007 is that then there was broad agreement on a range of policy issues except on the right to hold a referendum. By refusing to even discuss coalition unless the SNP ruled out a referendum the LibDems were being spitefully absurd (as well as self-defeating).

    Minority Governments should use their votes and influence to get the best deal for their constituents in accordance with their political principles and electoral mandate. For the SNP that should never involve supporting the Tories. We should vote on each issue on its merits if there is no possibility of a deal with Labour.

    Which is different from negotiating with whatever UK Govt emerges for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

  18. Let’s scotch this idea of UK “democracy” right away. It is a highly dysfunctional and risible reality. Voting every 5 years for the name of Mr Murdoch’s next poodle is not democracy and in effect only a very few constituencies decide the outcome while the vast majority of votes count for nothing.

    As others have said the UK parties are in thrall to big business, billionaires and lobbyists, especially the Tories. See Donnachadh McCarthy for the full horror story. Many MP’s, Lords and former civil servants are in the pay of business.

    But even allowing for that, the Tories actually believe in inequality, they believe the rich should get more and the poor less; they want to dismantle the NHS (to benefit their cronies in business and the HoL); they will privatise anything which isn’t nailed down to benefit their rich friends; they favour finance (which brought the country to its knees) over manufacturing; they are fully paid-up members of the neo-liberal consensus and believe the 99% should pay for the follies of the 1% and enable the already rich to become even richer.

    We cannot work with these people in parliament.

  19. Wow Derek. What are you on? You mean principle should never get in the way of pragmatism?

  20. You say tomato , I say tomato . You say your’ a democrat and your left uneasy at some politicians saying the choice of voters is unacceptable to them ‘
    Well I’m a democrat and I wanted my vote to count but the leaders of the three Westminster parties ( and Gordon Brown) behind closed doors democratically agreed to ‘ lend ‘ their signatures to a privately owned tabloid newspaper, promising well, whatever .
    They then democratically decided what those new powers would be and when they would be democratically implemented.
    Mr Cameron then decided in the name of democracy , EVEL is more important .
    So Nicola Sturgeon being up front to me is being open and transparent to use the other old cliche and dare I say it democratic. If people don’t agree with her , don’t vote SNP .
    My choice may be unacceptable to our politicians but they would still take my vote in their definition of democracy

  21. Derek, you badly undersell Jim Murphy. The man is demonstrably a politician of some moment, and consummate skill.

    And he has now has exceeded his own lofty standards. Just how awesome is Jim Murphy?

    Well, if one were to ask: Who IS Jim Murphy? I doubt there could be a more accurate appraisal/account than the following:

    Sunday Herald
    “However, although Murphy claimed he was re-writing Clause 4 – with clear echoes of Tony Blair’s iconic move in 1994 – it emerged he had re-drafted a different section and then persuaded his party’s executive to renumber the clauses.”

    Brilliant!

    Jim Murphy has raised Machiavellian cynicism to the level of a clinical disorder.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/revealed-jim-murphy-will-try-to-turn-labour-into-party-of-yes.117966622

  22. You know where you stand with a tory – unpopular but principled? We could work with them, and get concessions? The end justifies the means right?

    I am sure thats how the Scottish Unionists were thinking about it, when the idea was pitched that they should stop being Scottish Unionists, merge with the English Tory party and become Scottish Conservatives and Unionists. Almost the very next day, they lost support of the Daily Record and their vote has been bleeding away ever since. From that day on, the remnants blame the Scottish electorate for not “getting the message”. It’s that sort of stupidity, where you go from being a pragmatic party seeking Scotlands best interests, to being a party that thinks Scots are a burden on the state.

    The SNP also found out what support for conservatives meant back in the 70’s. Thatcher was supposed to have said mockingly “their vote will melt like snow in the spring sunshine”. Back in the mid 90s Salmond made a misstep of backing the tories over some grand talking shop fudge, and were widely ridiculed in Scotland because of it.

    The Lib Dems went into coalition in 2010, by 2011 they saw their vote share shrink as did the tories. But the Lib dems had the most to lose. The tories at this stage have been pushed onto their core vote. Cameron has ensured that the Lib Dems have been in the frame for every item of austerity thats been pushed through. The lib dems went along with it, as the seat at the table was too important to pass up. I am sure the voters will bear that in mind.

    Labour – particularly labour in Scotland – have been playing silly childish games. But they did it with tory money, tory backing and tory know how. They stood with the tories, got standing ovations from tories, attacked universalism like tories and increasingly, they sound and act like tories. As a result their support has collapsed in Scotland. In England, people despair because labour have pledged to be worse than the tories.

    They might not be the source of all evil. But they are responsible for a lot misery and pain. It would be the height of stupidity for the SNP to take that new found support and piss it all away by acting like Aesops frog and giving the scorpion a lift across the lake.

  23. I’m totally flummoxed by your piece Derek. For how long now has Scotland been suffering from a deficit of democracy, where we keep voting for one party and ending up with a UK Tory government that we didn’t vote for?

    As for your thoughts on Murphy, well I’m at a loss for words.

  24. At first Derek, I thought god no! The SNP can’t back the Tories, ever! Then I thought hold on, if the Tories won a majority in England and the SNP got significant concessions from the Tories then maybe it does make sense. After all it could be argued that the SNP would be ensuring that England got the government that England voted for.

    But then I thought no (again) – firstly, it would have be massive concessions which would involve Scotland never receiving ANY of the Tory policies, or else the SNP would be destroyed by the accusation that they allowed Tory policies to be inflicted on Scotland. Therefore that only leaves at a very minimum Devo-Max/federalism on the table. And what if the Tories drag the UK into another unpopular war that Labour claim they wouldn’t have entered? Well, that would still result in Scotland being dragged into said war thanks to Tory policies chosen by the SNP as part of the coalition deal and so only complete independence would avoid that and we all know that’s not on the cards, not by this route anyway – if the Tories really wanted to rule rUK they could easily have done so by supporting independence given their single MP in Scotland.

    Secondly, what about the rest of the UK? It’s easy to refer to the great behemoth that’s England and forget about Wales and Northern Ireland, both of whom will almost certainly never vote for a Tory government. Is their independence also a pre-requisite for backing a Tory minority party to ensure they don’t get Tory policies they didn’t vote for? Or do we stab them in the back in our grab for more power?

    And of course, the above completely ignores how ANY Scottish MPs would be able to vote on English-only matters if Scotland has devo-max (god, how I hate that term) or independence.

    And lastly, this is what consensus politics looks like, something Labour should be familiar with when they tried to form a government in 2010 with less MPs than the Tories. They didn’t seem too concerned about not reflecting the voters wishes. Besides, parties with e.g. 30% and 10% of the electoral vote are more reflective of the voters than a single party with 35% of the vote.

  25. “perhaps his PR team have a toga ready.”
    I suspect a (metaphorical ) dagger in the back is more likely

  26. Some of you are forgetting that Politics is basically the art of gaining power, and forming alliances to protect and enhance that power in order to advance particular ideas and goals. It would be remiss of the SNP and its supporters to spurn a deal with the Tories if such a deal would lead to much enhanced powers for Scotland. Surely that is what Independence supporters want? And in Politics the end DOES justify the means.

    But power has to be gained first. And to that end during the election period the SNP will have to continue to reject any deal with the Tories.

    • I understand what your saying Jacquescolman but surely one of the biggest points of wanting independence was to change how politics is done? You say it would be remiss of the SNP and it’s supporters to spurn a deal with the Tories, I would say it’s common sense to spurn a deal with the Tories.
      Do you seriously think the Tories would give any enhanced powers to Scotland ?
      Mm our financial backers wishes or Scotland ? Oh what to do ?
      The other downside would be, by agreeing to work with the Tories and to a certain extent Labour , you buy into / or reinforce a system that is crumbling before our eyes, run by people who have no idea or wish to improve it.
      This morning I noticed Nicola Sturgeon is shifting the debate on. You can stick with the calamitous austerity measures or you can say , this isn’t working , let’s tackle it in a different way. Surely that is using your power in politics to persuade , offer a different choice rather than just having power for the sake of it? That’s kind of why we’re scunnered with Westminster , the being in power has become more important than what to do with the power, it seems.

      • “I would say it’s common sense to spurn a deal with the Tories.”

        I would say it would be nonsense to spurn a deal if it would be in SCOTLAND’S BEST INTEREST.

        Your stuff is all pie in the sky without power. The meat of what I said is in DEAL. If a deal is done the Tories will stick to it. If not SNP could force them out of Government by voting against a finance bill.

  27. Politically, do anything, as long as it furthers the cause of Scottish independence.

  28. You obviously don’t have enough experience of living in coalition territory Derek. It is normal in multiparty polities with PR for the parties to indicate in advance which parties they prefer to be in coalition with so the voters can take that into account when voting for their preferred outcome. There is nothing ‘anti-democratic’ about it in the least and in fact it is refreshingly honest.

    That is even before we get to the main reason the SNP will not be doing a deal with the Tories, it would doom them in Scotland and cause huge sections of their support to leave. Only IFF the deal is that at the end of the parliament Scotland will be independent, no iffs, not buts not maybes. But even then there is no way to ste that in stone to stop it being reneged on.

    • Disagree with most of your post. I would be quite happy to have a deal with the Tories if it meant much more REAL power for Scotland. And I’m sure the huge bulk of YESSERS would agree.

      Anyway let’s get more MPs elected first and discussions like this won’t help that.

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