Ah, those pop references just keep on coming…
I’d never heard the phrase “Imperial moment” until fairly recently – a moment where a pop star can do no wrong & where they do something just a wee bit far fetched and it still sells by the truck load. Taylor Swift just now in the USA is the current example, though the above quote refers to John Lydon and Public Image Ltd in 1979.
Not that the SNP general election leaflet is akin to that in any way (Gary Mulholland’s exact quote - “Despite turning his back on the Sex Pistols audience, John Lydon could’ve farted into a paper bag and made the British charts in early 1979.”) though what is surprising is how vague on the policy front the SNP are in this leaflet. Lets not forget that this constituency is very much on a knife edge and by no means are the SNP a stick on to win this seat even if this is the SNP’s own Westminster “Imperial moment”.
Maybe it is because Black has been a controversial figure, certainly among pro unionists and the 'SN Pout' brigade on twitter, that the leaflet downplays any policies, instead promoting policy positions – “I will campaign against austerity cuts and the draconian benefits sanctions… it is immoral to spend over £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons…” It is strange to see no policies, even if the SNP’s commitment to raise public spending by 0.5% (still a real terms cut) is a likely vote winner & will put much needed cash into the economy. Or the fact that the SNP’s taxation policies (and we will see if this lasts until next years Holyrood elections) dovetail rather nicely with Labour’s policies. Some unkind Labour supporting souls accuse the SNP of cutting and pasting their policies, I tend to think that the SNP think that those are good ideas (that attract votes), but like I say whether they remain good ideas when the next Holyrood elections roll about next year remains to be seen.
On the policy stakes, it’s still not as good a leaflet as either Labour’s or the SSP’s leaflets. Indeed the only policy that does get a mention is that policy on renewing the UK’s not very Independent nuclear deterrent… which is about as much use as the title of this blogpost when it comes to the guerrilla style warfare tactics of Al-Quaida or the new Wahhabists of ISIL. There is talk about wanting real powers to come to Scotland, but again the assumption here is that Black agrees with the SNP’s line in aspiring to have full fiscal autonomy for Scotland.
Overall, it’s a very strange leaflet for a party to produce that is ahead but not certain of victory in this seat by any means. There is a definite feel of ‘lets not scare the horses’ about this leaflet. It could even be described as a tad conservative. Not a description you can use about “Death Disco”, which is the PIL song Mulholland made his comments about.