The problem with Vote SNP get Tories
Bad for Labour , good for the SNP and great for David Cameron
The above lamentation from Jim Murphy on the current position of Scottish Labour in the opinion polls tells us all we need to know about the state of the Party in Scotland. The main thrust of their campaign has been this idea that a vote for the SNP will help the Tories obtain power by the back door. The reason this is not true is obvious. The SNP won’t work with the Tories but they will support Labour on a Confidence and Supply basis. It doesn’t matter whether we send 52 Labour or 52 SNP MP’s, none of them are going to support the Conservatives.
The assertion from Scottish Labour is incredibly wrong headed. Not only is it an overly negative message to hear after a long referendum campaign in which many Scots became habituated to a constant barrage of such messages. It is also patronising to the extreme to think that people would be stupid enough to be taken in by it. And, more importantly, by constantly being on the defensive instead of delivering progressive policies of their own, they look weak and defeated before a vote is even cast.
Cameron may well find himself back in power after this election. The conservatives are currently predicted to get ten more seats than Labour. And, they may be able to cobble together an unholy alliance of DUP, Libdems and Ukip in order to prop them up. This scenario would be a nightmare for progressive citizens and the Labour core support. However, in terms of numbers, a Confidence and Supply arrangement between Labour, The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green party is a far more manageable outcome. Not least because of the common, left of centre ground, shared by the people who support those parties. So, if the current polls are correct, the only possible reason that a vote for the SNP will help the Tories would be if post election, Labour refused to do a deal with a progressive alliance. Which is the unfortunately current stance of Ed Miliband.
If the price of having a Labour government was a deal or a coalition with the Scottish National Party then it is not going to happen.
This threat to ignore the voice of the nation will not play well in Scotland although it is not meant for the Scots. It is designed to rally floating voters in the South and it highlights the main problem faced by Labour. Why is it, after all of the Tory cuts and the promise of more, after extreme hikes in the cost of living, with spectre of privatisation looming over the health service and a stuttering race to the bottom we call an economy, are Labour only polling one third of the UK vote? The answer to this question is again obvious. People don’t see them as much different from the Conservatives. They lurched to the right of centre during the Blair era, chasing a few marginal seats and taking the rest of the country and their core vote for granted. They traded principle and policy for electioneering and spin and now they are paying the price. They are lost, not able to connect their socialist roots with their neoconservative branches. Every bit as beholden to wealth, mired in corruption and void of inspiring ideas as their blue blooded friends. The core vote has deserted them in Scotland after a long period of grace but currently the Left have no viable alternative in England. And while this negative campaign against the SNP may win some votes Down South, if they shun a progressive alliance in favour of letting the Conservative have a second term, I suspect that core may never forgive them. They would also be doing the SNP a favour.
The Nationalists are currently riding on a high and offering a real alternative. The only large party proposing spending increases, the abolition of the House of Lords and the removal of Trident. As well as a raft of policies around social justice which appeal to the old core Labour support. The problem for the SNP is, if they were to hold the balance of power they would then find themselves in a position in which they would need to deliver a lot of those pledges to avoid being seen as a wasted vote by many next time around. Many of those who will vote SNP this time are not natural SNP supporters but see them as the best opportunity of reforming the current UK system to make it fairer and more representative. The Party will lose this support if they obtain power and scupper the opportunity. Even if it could be argued that improving the UK does nothing to further their main goal of independence.
Miliband, by refusing to work with the SNP not only lets down his core support by stepping aside to let in a super right wing pact. He also bolsters the SNP by telling the Scottish electorate their votes don’t matter and he unleashes the exact unstable political conditions that would help the SNP usher in a second Indyref.
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