Monday, 16 February 2015

Just What Is The Point In Voting SNP In May?

Amongst the mountain-out-of-molehillary of the Mhari Black stuff, one thing popped out.  At 20, she might be the youngest MP in the next House of Commons.  Hardly believable, given that wee Douglas Alexander holds the 8th safest Labour seat in Scotland.  If she’s good enough and all that… In the meantime though Sturgeon has been attempting to flesh out her parties pitch to voters come May.

Interestingly, Sturgeon has outlined the approach that I said Labour should adopt back in 2011 of pitching an alternative to Osborne’s “Scorched Earth” austerity programme.  The Sturgeon alternative could see and extra £180bn spent on extra on public services – through 0.5% spending rises, or real terms cuts as some might spin this.  The biggest target of savings would be coming from the UK’s non renewal of Trident.

Of course the unspoken issue with Austerity is that it’s exclusive focus has scared many horses and led to continued drought with regard to the flow of money.  The centrepiece of Thatcherism – trickledown – is not happening as rich people continue to save and salt away their “hard earned” money.  Probably in Switzerland’s branches of HSBC.  Only the rich are spending money, which is why the likes of Tesco, Morrison’s et all are beginning to struggle.  Pro-unionists point to a growing economy.  Where, cause it ain’t here?

Sturgeon’s position is possibly undermined by her (assumed continued) belief in the Laffer Curve which is the bedrock of the SNP policy of lowering corporation taxes.  A read of Richard Murphy’s own blogpost on the subject shows how false this belief is.  Both the SNP (if they support it) and Labour’s position is undermined by the belief in a 50% tax rate at £150,000.  If anything, a higher rate should be starting at £100,000.

So, if the SNP are putting together some welcome bones to their pitch to voters, why the sceptical title?  See, I’m just not convinced that the SNP will have that much influence come after the election.

Jim Fairlie has long argued that the SNP’s policy of only backing Labour in the event of a hung parliament is not tenable as SNP policy.  Indeed in a previous post, Fairlie has hypothesised about a Labour/SNP coalition splitting the SNP.  Certainly the Lib Dems have been poisoned by the experience of coalition with the Tories at Westminster – a much more chastening experience that 8 years in coalition with Labour as part of what laughably was called “The Scottish Executive”.  I completely agree with his analysis, but don’t think the SNP will get a sniff of government.

From the Labour point of view, the SNP are trouble.  They represent a throwback, anarchy and worse.  In their heartlands (that’ll be here then), where they weight votes, they are the enemy.  An irritating enemy that stops them from focusing on the real enemy – the Tories – but still the enemy. I can’t believe that having gotten so much wrong about the referendum, and been consistently been barracked about it, that they’re going to be as accommodating as Sturgeon thinks they’ll be.

If anything if things go wrong, and the Tories end up in bed with Clegg and his Orange Bookers again, I think Labour will blame the SNP for it.  After all they blamed Clegg for not wanting to talk to Labour when Reid and Harris pushed them into Cameron’s loving arms 5 years ago – though admittedly it does take two to tango as Clegg wanted Brown out of the way first…

If Labour somehow end up as largest party though and get second dibs at forming a government…  then I still think Labour will conspire to freeze out the ‘nationalist bloc’ from any potential coalition.  I just can’t see Labour passing up the opportunity to deliberately marginalize the influence of the SNP – and that’s even if the SNP somehow win upwards of 30 seats.

As has been said before, neither Milliband or Cameron lead parties that look like government’s in waiting – hence the rise in small parties.  Whether the SNP have broken the Labour hegemony remains to be seen.  What will happen without question will be that the views of Scotland will be sidelined, whatever happens and in spite of the claims of Sturgeon and the SNP.

1 comment:

George Waddell said...

Thing is though if the SNP do swing through the red Torry , sorry labour heartlands would that not force labour to react? I think that your right labour wouldn't want to join with the SNP but I think if they lost their Scottish base they would be faced with a choice of moving back to the left or ignoring Scotland. In which case the SNP win longer term or labour actually become socialist again.