Saturday, June 10, 2006
ON COALITION IN SCOTLAND & THE SNP'S ATTITUDE TO THE TORIES
Assuming that it will take 3 parties to make a majority making enemies of the Tories means that the only coalition the SNP could enter would be a Labour one (in which Labour could insist on dominance if only because they would know they could always cut a deal with the Tories). It is possible that the SNP are deliberately trying to force the the creation of a unionist Labour/SLD/Tory coalition in the hopes that the independence minded SNP/SSP/Greens will take power next time - if so I think this would be both a betrayal of the Scots people & a long odds bet.
The alternative I have given would require a degree of goodwill from the Tories which the SNP have no right to expect but somebody has to break logjams.
The problem with Alec Salmond girning about the Tories being prepared to do a deal with Labour after the next election is that the SNP have nobody to blame for this but themselves They have made it a constitutional point that they not enter a coalition with Tories so what is a poor Annabel to do? To form a majority at the next election will probably take 3 large parties & to form a minority government will take two. In many ways, with their Irish style pro-growth policies the SNP would be a good fit with the left moving Tories but so long as the SNP take this attitude simple maths shows that Labour & the SLD have 2 x 3 party options & 3 x 2 party ones whereas the SNP & Tories have 1 & 2 respectively. Thus the odds are, by the SNP's attitude, they will keep a discredited Labour in power
There are some other options. That the Greens will grow (& prove sufficiently reasonable) as to sustain a 2 party coalition but I don't find that very credible. That the Tories might offer to support an SNP grouping in confidence votes until their next conference when the membership could decide whether the SNP would change their rules & stay in government, or not. Finally, bearing in mind that David Cameron's 18 month policy review will, if the Scottish Tories don't produce their own policies, leave them going into an election totally unable to say what they stand for. Thus facing an electoral meltdown.
It would be a bad thing for Scotland if Labour were kept in power not by their own abilities but by the kamikaze tactics of the opposition.
So the SNP are now paying the price for their stupidity and it is keeping them from the chance of power, even though they have significant common ground with the Tories that they do not have with either Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
Alex Salmond – despite his socialism - does recognise that the economy is key to political success for his party, that is why he is keen on an Irish type Corporation Tax cut to encourage Irish style high economic growth (though hostile to cutting personal taxes). Labour, whatever rhetoric they spout, are hostile to both business and economic growth, that’s why they handed the ministerial portfolio to the Liberal Democrats, who demonstrated their commitment to economic growth by doing bugger all (Jim Wallace was a complete joke in that job). The Tories are the only party in Holyrood who even recognise the importance of economic growth.
Only problem is Salmonds immature “nay Tories here” attitude stops them doing anything about it. In fact Salmond would rather go into coalition with a pack of lunatics like the SSP than he would with the Tories, and frankly that sort of stupidity merely demonstrates not only that he is unlikely to gain power, but that he doesn’t deserve to gain power.
The SNP now certainly recognise the importance & I think it is quite brave of various people in the SNP to have pushed this when it clearly disappoints many of their activists. Nicol Steven has a token recognition (minor cut in business rates) & McConnell a purely nominal one (saying "growth is our first priority") which suggests that both recognise that it is a very popular position among people as opposed to activists.
Whatever past antagonisms (as a former Lib Dem I still dislike the Tories support of our FTPT electoral system) to get to there we have to start from here.
To rely on those 2 1/2 to get an overall majority would require a significant collapse in the Labour (&/or Tory) vote which is quite possible but only quite possible.