More Divided Loyalties

A lot of interest and hot feeling about the previous post on Divided Loyalties displaying exactly what the title says. Some believe there should be no support for a Tory government – ever – and others are already on the pragmatic road.

As I said, I think it unlikely there will be the opportunity for the SNP to prop up a Conservative administration and my guess is a return of the current Coalition under Cameron with the reduced Lib Dems and possibly one other. (The DUP are pouting at all-comers, although their total might not be enough and I’m not sure there would be a deal between them and the UU given tensions over candidates in key seats).


It’s probably safe enough for the SNP to take the short-term gamble of distancing themselves from the Tories before the election since the chance of them being needed to form a government (or at least buttress it by no confidence votes) is remote.

But it is possible, if enough of them are elected, as any leader would prefer a stable platform with one partner with easily enough votes to scraping through with an assortment of disparate groupings. That would seem a recipe for failure and a new election.

The right deal with the SNP though could guarantee a full term. I have no doubt that Miliband would work with the SNP and there have been no direct contradictions of this in principle, as far as I can find, from Labour – only the exclusion of any removal of Trident (but not ruling out a fudge like a time delay on renewal).

This is where some professional forecasters are looking – a Labour/SNP arrangement – and they may well be right. In which case, there are any amount of deals to be done and even, in theory, new working relationships to be formed between bitter enemies who will find themselves effectively on the same side against Tories (and their Lib Dem fellow travellers) and UKIP.

Personally, I find that an attractive prospect in that many real Labour Party members would ditch the pro-Tory austerity and seek an alliance with another party which is closer to their own core values and support than the leadership dare admit. All this would be to the benefit to the Scottish voters who are turned off by the tribal acrimony and can discern joint advantage now the referendum is over.


A period of years of shaping policy jointly – if that were possible with the likes of Ed Balls – would inevitably ease inter-party tensions and maybe both sides could become truly themselves. That means ditching the automatic hostility and demonisation and focussing on the UK’s needs and finding solutions which satisfy the majority. In such arrangements the rougher edges of each partner are rubbed smooth so is it possible Labour could be released from its relentless right-wing path by joining with the SNP and could Nationalists concentrate on making the presumed prize of Home Rule work fully? It could also mean that in future voting SNP at Westminster elections is less of a threat to Labour if there is an established working relationship in place. (Am I sounding too much like Henry McLeish?)

A general election run-in may not be the time for this thinking but on the other hand, perhaps it is exactly the right time to open up minds to new ways of thinking which could deliver real benefits for Scots.

Back to the Tories though, and it is the SNP’s obligation to work for the advance of the Scottish nation in all circumstances. The possibility must be faced…that Cameron makes an approach with a package so attractive that the SNP knows in its heart it shouldn’t be turned down because this chance may not come again. It can’t be dismissed as only theoretical because all of the above is surmise. This is the first election where even the experts admit they don’t know how the cards will fall.

So if it does happen, how does Nicola wriggle out from her ‘No deal with Tories’ assertion? Or did she really mean ‘No propping up’ and is there a clever use of words here that leaves open the possibility.

We may not to want to consider the idea but this is the sharp end of politics and, despite the fury of critics, I believe a deal would have to be done. In fact, you could argue that by declaring No Deal she is actually upping the ante with the Tories who know they really would have to offer something jaw-dropping to force an understanding.

Then it would come down to how much you ‘hate the Tories’. Do you hate them so much you’d disadvantage Scotland? Say no to full tax-raising powers? Oil revenues? Would you turn down everything but macro economics and foreign affairs? Would you punish Scotland because you hated the Tories so much and couldn’t work with them even if you could effectively disconnect the country from them?

I don’t believe this is likely to happen and even Labour would try the Lib Dems first, but you know this election is a roller coaster and once under way, there is no stopping till you come out the other end. Hold on tight…

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43 thoughts on “More Divided Loyalties

  1. As the Tories will very likely have a majority in rUK, the SNP need only abstain in confidence votes if the deal really is too good to refuse. Any confidence vote would be an ‘England only’ matter after all.

  2. Any deal to either prop up or coalesce with the Tories would be a disaster, it would kill SNP credibility with voters. Even a Labour deal will have to be done at arm’s length. The LibDem example shows what happens when you get too close to the ‘main’ party. The lesser party won’t get to implement key policies and will be blamed by their own supporters, the bigger party and the bigger party’s supporters will blame them for holding back changes THEY want to implement. Cameron seeks to score points against SNP and knows his support wouldn’t tolerate a deal. Labour don’t have the luxury of going to any other parties. On the other hand Scottish Labour would find this especially hard to stomach. Would the Tory/Labour parties rather go to the country a second time? Probably..

  3. Its not a question of “do we hate them so much” – its an issue of trust.

    Any party thats done a deal with them has come out the worse for it. Thats not my own visceral dislike for their politics speaking, nor am I giving myth the weight of history, it actually is a simple matter of history. They are deeply and intensely distrusted by the majority of voters in Scotland. In some areas it is fair to say, they are actively hated. That sentiment has taken deep roots and would take generations to repair. It would also take the Conservatives to finally admit their many mistakes and mend bridges. The conservatives however, have spent the last 30 odd years sneering at us for our unrealistic lifestyles instead. Its very hard to accept that they meant well by it. I certainly do not want someone representing me when they consider me & my family a burden to be tolerated, for no other reason than being Scottish.

    Remember, this is a party that is on record (more than once) of claiming that the scots have contributed nothing to the success of the UK. They are instinctively against any kind of federalism, so it is not a stretch to suggest that they will not surrender any powers to us. But even if we ask “what if they did?” the next question is: “what would it cost us?” What would we have to agree to do, to secure that freedom from the UK state? I fear it would be to enable far a worse austerity regime than what the hapless Lib Dems agreed to. They sacrificed everything for a seat at the table. History and the electorate will not judge them kindly.

    I think the UK is in its death throes. I would have that end be dignified, not something wretched and squalid. I don’t us to take a few powers, at the cost of trashing our reputation as a Nation who enabled the tories to do their very worst to the rest of the UK.

    Lastly I am increasingly unhappy of propping up labour. I think the SNP would do well to keep the westminster parties at arms length.

  4. Derek, I am a pragmatist and it is on pragmatic grounds that I would rule out any kind of alliance with the Tories at Westminster. The Tories in our own Holyrood chamber are a different matter entirely. It is not Tory voters, it is not their conservative values or principles, (there’s a bit of a conservative with a small ‘c’ in all of us) but their Westminster party machine which is so toxic, venal, scheming, mendacious, and that is what I am extremely wary of.

    When you have a PM who announces EVEL within hours of the referendum result, despite (as we now learn) protestations and warnings of erstwhile BT allies Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown, and poisonous backbenchers like John Redmond, and party hacks like Allan Massie spouting rubbish about the SNP baying for English blood in the Daily Mail (and there’s 86 days still to go) how on earth can you trust these people to be similarly fair, broad-minded, and pragmatic? Any deal would be in order to trip the SNP up, and to tie Scotland even more firmly to the Union.

    Just as Carswell learned that Cameron was insincere in his promise to hold an EU referendum. Which was why he defected to UKIP. He learned that Cameron had already approached Whitehall to arrange that they would hold a referendum but they would fix it so that there would be a No result. The Scottish referendum was a dry run for the EU ref. They have form.

    Plus, a further pragmatic reason is the political cost to the SNP. Labour would have a field day with it. They are still accusing us of the ‘stab in the back’ for the No Confidence vote back in 1979 in the last failing days of the Callaghan administration.

    Really, there can be no alliance with the Tories. They are just not to be trusted. Don’t underestimate Cameron. He is as wily as they come. He certainly outwitted Gordon Brown, who saw immediately that EVEL was ‘a stitch-up’.

  5. Derek, you should read Carswell’s blog, and what he had to say about Whitehall and the Sir Humphreys who run the government, and why he left the Tory Party because, with Whitehall’s behind the scenes scheming, it was working against the interests of the country and of the voters. Cameron can get Whitehall and its media allies to stitch us up if we enter any deal with him.

    I don’t hate Tories per se. I hate what Tory governments have done since 1979, and their being in league with corporate power, but that’s entirely different from their voters and most of their local councillors and MSPs here in Scotland. They are nowhere near to the corridors of power. Or tainted by it.

  6. Eh, and where does that leave independence Derek?, at lest independence would be clear cut, but once the S.N.P. enters the murky waters of Westminster and Whitehall in any power sharing deal, they better be very, very weary of the shear nastiness of the “system”, in which the prime objective would be to discredit the S.N.P., ah well, in that case nothing will have changed!.

  7. Compromise is a bugger right enough.

    I have no problem with the SNP working with anyone other than UKIP personally. All things in life are compromise to one degree or another, but a formal coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives (same diff. shrugs), would really require that jaw dropping offer. 🙂

    For the sake of fun though and turning your own question back on you; knowing how detrimental the Conservative and Labour governments have been to the whole UK and most especially the most disadvantaged and under privileged in these isles. Would you support a coalition deal which benefitted Scotland and yet secured a Tory government and all the austerity legislation it represents, for the whole UK for another five years? 😉

  8. I am pragmatic over most things Derek. But I grew up in North Lanarkshire and I saw what Thatcher’s policies did to my community. When you walk to high school past lines of sad-looking men on street corners trying to flag down any passing van or lorry in the vain hope of work and when you know that half of all the adult males in your community are on the dole and when you know of families directly affected by breakdown and suicide as a consequence there is no room for pragmatism. The Tories want to talk about EVEL? But what they did to my community was EVIL.

    As others have said I don’t hate Tory voters – they are just trying to look after their own interests. But as a political machine I do loathe the Tories and, as I said in comment to your last piece, the only way I could accept the SNP sustaining them (in clear contradiction to the wishes of the vast majority of Scottish people for the last three decades) is if the Tories were agreeing to let us go our own way completely and unconditionally. That just isn’t going to happen – ever.

  9. Before Nicola and the SNP consider doing any sort of deal with either Labour or the Tories, they would do well to bear in mind a saying of my auld granny, “If ye sup wi’ the deil, mak sure ye tak a lang spoon wi’ ye!”

    Before supping with either of these Westminster-oriented parties, the SNP would need to have a spoon the length of Sauchiehall Street!

    • I can’t say I’m overly excited by the prospect of having to be a ‘minor’ partner with either Labour or their cousins the Tories. I can only hope that Nicola has learned by the example of the Lib Dems and the damage their coalition with the Tories has done to that party. That particular grab for power has spectacularly back fired on them in that they have no credibility left, a decrease in membership,as well as the loss of trust in general because of their “dance with the Devil” .We must hope that the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon in particular do not fall victim to this probable scenario without any thought of how it will be perceived by opponents as well as Party members.

  10. Both Tories and Labour have swallowed the neo-liberal economics hook, line and sinker. They believe in inequality; that the rich need to be made richer and the poor poorer; they believe markets are perfect and that governments mustn’t interfere and must be made smaller; they believe in stripping workers of almost all rights; they believe private enterprise must be allowed to cream off all the profits from institutions that were formerly run by the State & the NHS is next in line and after that Education; they hate the EHRC and want to withdraw; they believe there is no such thing as “Society” only individual self-interest; they believe corporate power should not be regulated; they believe in austerity. They are in the pay of the rich and powerful.

    They are despicable. How could we abandon our principles in a Faustian pact with either of these devils?

  11. Would you put your child’s pet rabbit in with a rattlesnake?

    It might be alright for a while
    after the snake has had a very big dinner.
    But, after a couple of days, perhaps during the night,
    the snake gets hungry.

    You can’t stop a snake from being a snake.

    You can’t stop a Tory ….

  12. Just as Aberdeen Council’s Labour and Tory councillors joined forces, in a nanosecond, to keep SNP from power, so Labour & Tory parties will form a ‘grand coalition’ to keep power firmly where it is, and they can carry on with their austerity regime and protect the super rich at the same time. (Lord Green can relax). Interestingly, who forms H (purring) M’s Opposition, when we have Labour/Tory in govt? The SNP, Greens, UKIP & Plaid? Assuming the Libs are wiped out entirely, which many predict. (Apart from thon numpties up in Shetland & Orkney). Interesting times indeed.

  13. P.S. there’s a depressing chart reproduced on Wings showing how far right and authoritarian the UK political firmament has become. Going into coalition with any of these reminds me of a John Finnemore sketch in which the mayor of a small town tries to bargain with Genghis Khan who, naturally, want to put the inhabitants to the sword. Although he makes a few concessions to the mayor in the end he still decides to put them all to the sword.

  14. Remember the Referendum Panic?
    Without Scotland, England is finished.

    Westminster knows it; Europe knows it.
    The Americans know it; The Russians know it.

    Everybody knows it, it seems,
    except the UK electorate.

    Cameron doesn’t have a deal with the SNP
    which both countries will accept.
    For one to live, the other has to die.

    As for the English Ruling Classes power sharing with the northern natives?

    Really, darling! You do say such awful things.

  15. Sorry Derek, I just don’t see any of this as valid. I believe that no matter how many SNP MPs we send to Westminster, any negotiations will end in pain for Scotland, even if they at first appear attractive. I think that the only reason to send a majority of SNP MPs is to demonstrate how we are disregarded, even when the proposals from the SNP are sensible. In that light, any coalition is not just a poisoned chalice, but a suicide note.

    We in Scotland have moved so far away from neo-liberal, Austerity pseudo-economics, and devil-take-the-hindmost politics of the major Westminster parties that any compromise is unlikely in any case.

  16. Any kind of supposed pragmatism/non-pragmatism is a straw-opposition here. Good for stimulating debate, yes. Particularly useful for thinking about late-May? No. Two points: 1. It’s easy to draw a veil over the ‘Tartan Tories’ slur, but in reality, the SNP’s only hope of *having* enough MPs to do any deal *is* to promise not to ‘do a Clegg’. 2. The last part of the article raises the real issue creating the apparent paradox: any deal worth having would have to neuter the SNP at Westminster, which *also* rules out a deal.

    The SNP have promised not to help the Tories pass legislation for the UK (which rules out a governing coalition, c&s, etc. and vv). They have not – and according to their same well-established policy regarding the WLQ, *cannot* – therefore promise to oppose any potential minority Tory government at every turn. The other half of the SDO is, of course, that SNP MPs vote for Scotland on legislation *concerning Scotland*. Therefore, should the Tories propose Home Rule in order to effectively have a majority among rUK MPs, nothing in the SNP’s established policy, or this promise, *does* prevent SNP MPs voting for that. No deal would be required, no quid pro quo agreed – indeed, the SNP could vote against it and have no hope of stopping it, because this outcome is actually party-neutral, and just as likely to be attractive to Labour (who’ll be feeling the need to split off SLAB anyway, and are looking somewhat more likely to have such a potential majority).

    The thing about ‘true’ HR is that it can be sold to Unionists and the rUK as a) not dissolution, b) likely to destroy the SNP, and c) likely to have Scotland crawling back (or at least electing MPs begging to go into compliant coalition) by 2020. We really are thought so little of. In contrast to EVEL – which HR delivers automatically – any aspirant government by this route would have major incentive to just get it done, by offering enough powers to distract the SNP, then hiking the costs of our UK-contribution later (which we would, of course, have no say in). It’s a mistake to imagine that the UK parties (individually or collectively) have any position on ‘the Scottish problem’ that outweighs self-interest – both their failure to campaign for the Union (as opposed to against independence) and their capitulation on promising whatever it took *to keep the choice in their hands* as much as shouted this. Why keep imagining that principles – or promises – have anything to do with it?

  17. Sorry, Derek – but your wishful thinking makes Henry McLeish look like a political genius, as there is no way that anyTory government is going to abandon an austerity agenda, never mind offer an SNP Government full economic powers (with defence and foreign policy being retained in London) as this would automatically lead to conflict with a politically enlightened Scotland embarking on literate economic policies – the exact opposite of those being promoted, and followed, by ALL THREE Tory Amigos in Westminster. Indeed, your proposal that an SNP government should “deal” with such a UK Tory government would reduce the SNP to a parody of New Labour in Scotland, and destroy all the good work done for Scottish independence at a stroke. So, those like me, who have abandoned (New) Labour, will wonder why we even bothered voting for the SNP if they are just going to emulate the LibDems who were so easily bought off with a few ministerial limousines.
    I don’t see the SNP being party to any formal coalition with either of the Westminster Tory Parties; rather, I believe it will vote on an issue by issue basis, and hold to account whichever Tory government is elected at the General Election. I believe this to be the way forward – otherwise, Jim “Lurch” Murphy MP/MSP?, will have his way, and reduce the Scottish working-class to its former and “natural” role as “cannon-fodder”, so that New Labour can attain an electoral majority and pander to Middle-England again, by sacrificing the social-democratic beliefs and principles of their loyal vassals! Other than this issue, and your touching defence of old colleagues at the indefensible BBC Scotland, I agree with most of what you say – keep up the good work; at least here, an honest political discussion and argument can still be had!

  18. this is definately where our ideas part company,SNP would not could not do a deal with tories,better to support UDI and never be beholden to the tories
    I am blown away by this article,we both know that without our revenue England is bankrupt,and I trust the SNP to have more moral fibre than you give them credit for

  19. When circumstances change I may need to change my view, however a crocodile will still be a crocodile.

    Do not trust them, stick with the objective. Independence

  20. I’m with Bibbit (@allwasdark). Both the Tories and Labour would rather form a grand coalition, however short term, than let the SNP have a seat at their table. The good news here would be it would finish Labour in Scotland even more than now (if that’s possible) and make 2016 a virtual walkover. Whoever knew post referendum politics was going to be so much fun!

  21. O/T or maybe not.

    You folks might like to hear what the lady has to say on the way forward.

  22. Have I entered the Twilight Zone?

    The Tories have proven over and over that they simply cannot be trusted.

    They could promise me anything they like and I would never trust them.
    Why would you trust someone/thing that continually reneges on its promises?

    Frankly, Labour aren’t much better and are perhaps more sneaky BUT at least
    there are some left-wing Labour supporters around that would welcome a shift
    back towards left-wing policies. At the moment they just don’t have anywhere
    to go (esp. in England).

  23. I think Nicola has well and truly scuppered this scenario Derek. She was absolutely magnificent tonight, and quite emphatic on how the representatives from the SNP would take each issue on a policy by policy basis. No deal with either red or blue Tories.
    The London audience seemed to be impressed with a straight talking politician, which must be quite a novelty for them. Superb.

  24. A partially acceptable deal could be to swap independence for a new Treaty of Union on our terms which could be subject to renewal every say 10 years if both parliaments agreed.
    This would help drag a substantial number of “No” voters over to the “Yes” camp.

    I have been in businesses where there have been differences of opinion along similar lines and inevitably a lot of undermining goes on. It is much more sensible to provide a substantial block of Naes to come along on the journey rather than to have them continually sniping in the event of a 50% + 1 or other razor thin majority for independence.

    With an offer like the above you may find that either red or blue tories would be interested. It all depends on what is in the Treaty document. Any suggestions?

  25. Derek, you are indulging in “How can I shock?ism’. Yes, I know that is a common journalistic trait, but you are still a very naughty boy.

  26. I was looking for a “grownup” response to the question about how we could possibly enter into a formal coalition with the Tories, I tried to take my own personal feelings out of it, I attempted to forget I lost a decade of family life due to Tory policies of the early eighties when I had no choice but to take work which took me away from my young family and for me to see my wife and children for 2 days a month for years after Thatcher thought it would be a spiffing wheeze to reduce Scotland to a bronze age economy as payback for all the oil wealth she helped herself to, from which she managed to build the biggest casino economy in the world.

    Then I thought FUCK THEM I’D RATHER DIE!

  27. The problem with your scenario is it implies there is such a thing as a palatable deal to be made with the Tories. But there isn’t.

    One of the fundamental drivers behind the referendum was the undemocratic nature of the union towards Scotland, namely that we keep getting Tory governments that we didn’t vote for imposed on us. The SNP simply cannot spend two years shouting about having Tory governments imposed on us, only to put another one in place at the first opportunity. That completely destroys the argument, the SNP’s popularity, and most likely the party, because it would be a massive betrayal to many of the membership. The policy change over NATO lost us 3 MSPs – doing a deal with the Tories would make that pale in significance.

  28. If the Tories deliver Home Rule for Scotland and by so doing keep English Tory policies out of Scotland,then what’s the problem?
    England has completely ignored Scottish wishes for many decades under the guise of “UK” policy so if we have the opportunity to use a system loaded against us for our benefit then we should grab it with both hands.
    There will be some red lines for this e.g. Trident but by and large we should deal with whoever is going to help achieve our objective.
    Thanks Derek.

    • So spot on with everything. But we need a coalition right now. It’s less than 90 days now and still none of the alternative Media are listening to GA Ponsonby and getting together. It’s going to be September 18th all over again.

  29. this makes a great deal of sense, and I completely understand the reasoning. however, I am still 100%, categorically, against the SNP making any kind of deal with the tories. ever. also, as far as I know the party is currently forbidden from making such deals and I approve of this. if there ever were even the hint of such a deal being considered, the credibility of the snp would evaporate.

  30. Well Derek in the days following the 7th May one things is for sure frustration levels are likely to go off the scale. So many permutations…. If I may crave a small indulgence here from fellow commentators who in the main will be looking at GE2015 through a Scottish prism?

    I have lived in England for nigh on 38 years and in Tory Suffolk (7 constituencies 7 Tory MP’s returned) indeed my Constituency has been in Tory hands since 1885! Only once in recent history has that position been threatened when on the back of the 1997 Labour victory the Tory won but only by 368 seats from the Labour candidate.

    Now here’s the problem for Labour in England today…a party that looks and sounds a lot like a version of the Tories….Tory Lite….no landslide this time round they just can’t get clear red water between them and the Conservatives. They can still manage to get a good number of seats if not quite a majority but only if they get their act into gear….gaff limitation required…

    I suspect that many English voters will say “oh sod it” and stick with the Tories maybe some as they walk into the polling booth…..yes they will also vote for the minority parties. The Greens will like UKIP get a greatly increased vote but unless they start polling in the 20’s I can’t see that being converted into a great number of seats. It still looks like a hung parliament.

    I don’t see the Tories wanting to deal with the SNP – never mind that they have stated they won’t prop them up. The Tory leadership have credibility to maintain on retaining the Union. Conceding yet more “powers” won’t play well with the party.

    You see in the coming weeks as Nicola Sturgeon…who is playing down here very well…receives greater UK wide coverage there is only one route for unionists led by the Tories to follow…their six word mantra….save the union at all costs…..Project Fear gathering momentum….as you say Derek buckle up we are in for a bumpy ride……..exciting isn’t it!

  31. Derek, I have followed your postings with great interest in the run in to the referendum and since. I am sorry to say that this is the first posting of yours where I think you have taken leave of your senses. I think is was Stewart Hosie who said at the Perth conference that SNP MP’s would head to Westminster to settle up, not settle in. It would be a grave mistake for the SNP to enter any sort of formal pact with Labour and simply out of the question with the Tories. Whilst Labour detest the SNP because the SNP have stolen their fiefdom, the Tories loathe and detest Scotland and its people full stop. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary Tories, particularly craven Scottish Tories, see everything Scottish as second rate, second class and inferior to anything that comes from the English parliament. The SNP should concentrate on getting to Westminster in numbers and once there focus at every turn exposing the incompetence, corruption, and downright criminality at the heart of the UK. No cosy deals, no back room compromises. Grit in the wheels of Westminster until the wheels fall off.

  32. Project Fear on full Tap,Labour Scottish NHS


  33. Any deal with the Tories at Westminster will be poison for the SNP.

    The idea that a strong SNP MP cabal at Westminster can bring Labour to its senses has a certain appeal to those in Scotland who still can not believe Labour are just another right wing party.

    The reality is the British Establishment will pressure Labour and the Tories into some form of coalition in May 2015 because anything other but an outright Tory win pulls the plug on the current neo-liberal / neo-con scam and an end to centuries of hegemony amongst the ‘important’ families in the UK.

    We are being peddled all this crap about the Magna Carta and its supposed ‘importance’ and yet the self same Magna Carta never made it into law in England at any point, it is in fact the biggest con trick ever played – unlike the Declaration of Arbroath which was written into Scots Law in 1328.

    As an SNP member I believe I can say with confidence I doubt any SNP Conference will give any SNP leader permission to treat with the Westminster Tories, short of independence for Scotland.

  34. There is a scenario where no party, red tories or blue tories are able to reach an agreement that pushes them over the line into governance.

    What do they tell the Queen?

    In our democracy a proposed PM is supposed to get the blessing of the Monarch. (Some such twaddle,anyway) So, if he or she has no proposal to put?

    Apparently they are given grace to try to form the aforesaid government.

    How desperate would either Blue Ed or Red Cameron become, to do a deal, I mean?

    These folk are there for the opportunity to exercise power. I would expect them to do a deal with the de’il if they thought it would get them over the line.

    Your mileage may vary.

  35. If we assume the SNP want an EU referendum to take place so they can use the results to make a second independence referendum seem more reasonable. How exactly would a coalition with the Tories or Labour aid in that goal?

    • Would an exit from the EU not leave Scotland wide open to more u democratic processes to the point of dissolving The Scottish (and Welsh) Parliament? I am led to believe that The Scotland-UN Committee held the UK Parliaments feet to the fire from 1979 till devolution over the undemocratic way that UK was governed and ultimately forced UK Parliament to give us devolution upon pain of being expelled from The Council Of Europe. I may be misguided in this knowledge , sourced at .

  36. There is no way the SNP could possible turn down real Home Rule, which would see most taxation and welfare powers, along with broadcasting, energy being transferred to Holyrood. Now, you can argue that whoever forms the next government at Westminster is very, very unlikely to offer this, it is a view I agree with. However, as has been said before politics is the art of the possible. If an offer is made that is too good to turn down, real Devo max/ FFA, and the terms are fair, then it should not be.

    • If the big boys are prepared to offer that kind of stuff then we can take independence instead. If breaking up the Union is seen by either Labour or Conservatives as a way of keeping power in England/rUK then they will do it, separately or together.
      We have seen that it is impossible to underestimate the depths to which these guys will stoop, have we not? And oil is even more worthless now, right?

  37. Actually Derek it comes down to how much can you trust the Tories. Despite what they offered and I’m sure they offered Clegg a pile, then stabbed him in the back. Plenty of time in a parliament for them to plead legislative overload, overlap with the Euro referendum etc to kick things into the future then in the interim kick up English resentment against the SNP then goad them into bringing them down then going to the country with a pro-English message and getting a majority (or close enough to deal with the NI unionists and the LibDems) and then reneging on what they promised the SNP.

    The LibDems found out that a coalition agreement isn’t worth the lawyerly way it is written. They have had ample provocation to bring this government down but their polling numbers went south and have still not recovered so no chance of them actually doing so.

    Then there’s the Holyrood election just over a year hence, is that long enough to persuade a VERY sceptical electorate that you DID A DEAL WITH THE TORIES for all the right reasons? Sounds more like a suicide note to me.

    Besides, in a loose arrangement with Labour there is nothing to stop the SNP doing a deal with the Welsh and Northern Irish parties (from all sides), the Greens, federalist LibDems and the Tories who offered the deal and pushing it through anyway? (with goodies for Wales and NI etc to boot and maybe English Devo for the LibDems). The NZ experience shows that building coalitions of the willing that get serious stuff done. NZ decriminalised prostitutions and introduced regulated brothels AND completely reformed civil marriage into a Civil Partnership system that is a flexible social contracts system for all, not just gayz entirely through private members bills in a parliament where the Greens offered only confidence and supply. They were passed by coalitions of the willing from right across the political spectrum (libertarians on the right voted for both for eg).

  38. If the SNP do any kind of a deal to support Labour or the Conservative parties at Westminster then they will be committing political suicide in Scotland. No compromise is possible without compromise, and compromise comes at a very high price.
    If the SNP do get a substantial number of MPs at Westminster then they should use any power that that gives them to force another General Election. Then repeat as necessary. At some point it will be plain that the UK cannot be governed in such a scenario and the Westminster Parliament will be forced to vote on Scottish independence. Messy but it will give us what we want within the year. Why cringe and haggle for scraps when you can take the whole kitchen?

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