Sunday, 9 May 2010

What's the SNP Up To?

Can anyone understand why Alex Salmond is offering his party to Labour? Certainly I can't and neither can this blogger. Why would the SNP want to keep Labour in Westminster? Surely a Tory government paves the way for the SNP to make a case for independence. If this election has offered nothing else, it has certainly shown the political divide between England and Scotland.

Even the less politically aware know that each General Election is turned into a referendum on Scottish independence by Labour and that's the only reason why whole swathes vote for Labour just to stop the SNP. Come next year's Scottish elections normal voting will return.

Today senior tories are analysing why their vote in Scotland didn't increase and complain that Cameron's face on campaigning literature had not helped their cause. Maybe he doesn't have the appeal here that he appears to hold in England, but it wasn't only Cameron's fault. The tories in Scotland ran a poor campaign. Two visits from Cameron in the fading days of the campaign was more of an insult than a compliment to their Scots followers.

Alex Salmond knows that the SNP vote in the east of Scotland comes from old tory heartlands. Many SNP voters in these constituencies are ex-tory voters. Why would he sacrifice these votes by offering to join with Labour - the party which detests the SNP?

Sitting quietly on the sidelines watching and waiting would have been a far more sensible, and dignified, act. I have no idea who is advising them at present, but between their poor campaign with their 'more nats, less cuts' slogan and now offering themselves to the Labour party, I know at least one SNP voter who may be tempted to vote Green at the Scottish elections next year. Only because I feel the SNP is prostituting itself for power and not for the good of Scotland.

The Greens are the only other party in Scotland which supports independence.

There is an interesting article in today's Times 'Cut Scotland loose - then we'll have a fair voting system'. If only independence could be so easy.


forfar-loon said...

I suspect Eck is trying to head off the old "Tartan Tories" jibe that Labour so often aim at the SNP. And think of this from a Scottish perspective - "propping up" Labour at Westminster isn't so unpalatable north of the border. Eck will at least be able to say he didn't stand idly by while the Tories put together a coalition with the Lib Dems.

I suspect most SNP supporters would rather see Labour in power than the Tories - there was certainly talk of SNP supporters voting Labour to keep the Tories out, even in Jim Smurfy's seat!

Also, having campaigned on the influence the SNP could have at Westminster, it would be a bit odd if they abandoned the only possibility of wielding that influence. I suspect it will all be academic in any case, Lab/LibDem/SDLP/SNP/PC/Green/Alliance/... looks like an unlikely coalition. But Eck will be able to claim the moral high ground, having been prepared to compromise for the good of the country, work together with other parties (thus undermining another Labour jibe), etc.

BTW, the Scottish Socialists are pro-independence too I think, albeit that they've dipped below the radar post-Tommy.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

Alex makes an offer which he knows will fail(he! he!he!) and thereby claims the Moral highground. Not a very Moral or a very high ground...but then that is the Brain-dead Fofar-loons version of morality.

Quite a vile insult to Alex i would suggest....perhaps Alex wishes to see some Fairness in our politics and who is to blame him for that.

But then some Backstapping nationalists see it differently .

By the way how did they do in the General Election??

subrosa said...

I think the SNP has proved to Scotland that they are not tartan tories forfar-loon. Haven't heard labour use that expression for quite a while now.

Labour will use Thatcherism for generations to come up here. It's time someone squashed their talk because, now it's a generation on, lots of it is exaggerated nonsense.

For me I think it would be more appropriate if they'd kept quiet for a while and not thrown themselves at labour as they have done. All that action has caused is gloating and ridicule from labour if you read today's papers.

Yes I do think the Scottish Socialists support independence. They don't always stand in this constituency though.

But my point is that Eck has irritated many ex-tory voters by throwing himself at the feet of labour.

subrosa said...

Well Niko, as forfar loon says, such a pact would be a nightmare. Nothing would be done for infighting.

Still tomorrow will be interesting.

Hey Niko, don't insult other commenters. Stick to the points.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...


The point being it is forfar-loon saying Alex is being dishonest no me.

I accept your admonishment and will do as i am told..

Sophia Pangloss said...

Seems tae me that Alec had tae say what he did. He has tae show that the SNP are, like aw the other parties, lookin' at the results an' considerin' the alternatives. The Rainbow Coalition widnae work, but it has tae be acknowledged. Ye never know, it might be oan the cairds efter the next election in the autumn. We may be lookin' at the start o' a very long negoptiation.

The 'progressive' option has tae be laid oot, so that folk see that the liberals did hae another option when they jumped intae bed wi the tories. They'll no half suffer in Scotland if they dae that, baith later this year, an' again in May '11.

Mibbe we're no in post-election negotiations, mibbe we're in the next election campaign awready.

subrosa said...

Sophia, I have to disagree with you here. I think the SNP could have put their penny worth in without telling many of their ex-troy voters they'd jump into bed with labour. That's what I see as a big mistake.

I certainly don't want the SNP having anything to do with labour. Labour hasn't done the city of my birth any good in my lifetime and has squandered barrow loads of money there will little result. Now the SNP are moving and making it a city we may, in the coming years, be proud of.

forfar-loon said...

Mr. Mxyzptlk

The point being it is forfar-loon saying Alex is being dishonest no me.

No, no dear. Try reading my post again without disappearing up your own bahookie on a flight of fancy. Nowhere do I say Eck is being dishonest. Merely that he is open to the possibility of a coalition that seems unlikely to me. I've no idea whether Eck thinks it's possible, and made no such claim in my comment.

If I am brain-dead as judged by your standards then I'll take it as a compliment.

Richard T said...

Look at your calendar Subrosa. This time next year we have our own elections and I'm sure Alex Salmond has done his homework and has got his line of attack already thought out. If the rainbow coalition doesn't happen because Labour refused his help - he wins. If he's part of the alliance then he's got huge blackmail powers to pull the plug on it because it's not working in Scotland's interests and it's all Labour and the Lib Dem fault - he wins. If the Lib Dems form any sort of partnership with the Tories well he might just win there too.

Sandy said...

Look at it this way Rosa, if Labour had said it was a possibility he would have been able to laugh like a drain every time Ian Gray opened his mouth in Holyrood.

As it happened he got a slap from Labour "Labour dismissed the SNP's progressive alliance suggestion as a desperate attempt by Mr Salmond to make himself look relevant. " which can again be used in Holyrood to make a fool of Ian Gray and Labour.

How many Labour voters could be swayed to the SNP if Labour did take up the offer?

I reckon - in Scotlands interests - it was worth it for the SNP to offer this.

And putting himself into a win-win situation is what Alex Salmond does best.

subrosa said...

I've taken that into account Richard, that we have elections next year.

What has upset some ex-tory voters around here is the speed of Alex Salmond to what is seen as cosying up to labour. The timing was wrong and people will remember it next year.

Now, if he's waited even 24 hours then it would be different. His interview on Sky this morning was good.

But I think (from my small group of around 12 folk) that the damage has been done and although John Swinney will hold on here, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if his majority is cut.

He made a big mistake rushing to the media with his ideas and offering his help to labour.

Such a shame, when the SNP are becoming rather famed for sitting on the sidelines and assessing situations.

subrosa said...

I see your point Sandy. I'm looking at this from a local viewpoint of course which could be called narrow-minded. The problem is that Angus and Perth and North Perthshire are ex-tory strongholds and my concern is that because of the bad timing of this, the SNP could lose votes next year.

Perhaps he should have said he'd suggested it to the libdems rather than labour. Who knows.

But I understand he thinks he's in a win win situation and he's possibly relying on his core vote to see his success next year.

brownlie said...

Perhaps Salmond saw joining a Libdem/Labour pact as being the best chance of proportional representation in the near future - it certainly will not come from any combination of which the Tories are a part.

subrosa said...

Perhaps brownlie but his timing wasn't right which is unusual for him as he's an excellent strategist.

I'll be very happy if I'm proved wrong and I do see the other viewpoints.

Mavis B Sausage said...

Subrosa, as usual you have written masterfully on Eck's mysterious doings...I am baffled. One friend of mine has ALREADY said he is giving up his SNP membership and going back to the Tories, as will his wife and daughter. These are highly intelligent working class people who have never found labour acceptable to vote for.
You are absolutely right about Dundee, I've been watching closely and have seen no improvement UNTIL the SNP started making inroads into Labour's vote, which suddenly seemed to lead to bursts of common sense.
Even though I am a dyed in the wool Tory I am not anti the the idea of independence (I am a direct descendent of the Wolf of Badenoch after all!) but I have always had a fear of a leftish SNP running the show. Give me a Conservative and Not-Unionist party and I would vote for them tomorrow, as, I believe, would many others. I'm so sick of what I see as the Central Belt-led whinging 'poor little Scotland crowd. Surely it is time for more of a 'I'm Scotland, see me ROAR' mentality? This is why I was hoping for SNP gains in the election, anything to overcome the labour voting supplicant mentality we see so often up here.

Clarinda said...

Perhaps I am wrong - but did Mr Salmond really say what he is being reported in our wonderfully balanced non-leftie in a million years MSM - that his preference for the SNP would be to form a 'pact' with the Labour enemy? I don't think he actually said that according to my hearing of his inclusive list of possibilities that he suggested that the Liberals (not the SNP) take their time to consider.

I think we should beware of MSM spin to head the SNP off at the Holyrood election pass next year. I took Mr Salmond's actual words as illustrating all the alternatives but the MSM have leapt upon the Labour connection as an opportunity to make trouble for the SNP. I do agree that the SNP's GE campaign was lack-lustre - let's hope for some stirring stuff as whatever emerges from the current political debacle at Westminster it will not favour Scotland's best interests.

scunnert said...

As I said on DL's blog: DL if the LibDems form a coalition with the Tories then the SNP becomes irrelevant and the Tories can claim a mandate to govern Scotland by putting a couple of Scottish LibDems in their cabinet. If they form a coalition with Labour they're still short a majority and need smaller parties, like the SNP, to govern. In that scenario Scotland gets a voice - in the first it doesn't. More than that, like it or not, Scotland voted for Labour - they got the majority of votes. To go against the wishes of the Scots people and be seen as supporting a Tory agenda for Scotland is not the way to get their support in future. Sometimes in politics you just have to hold your nose.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I'm not party to the machinations of any political party, but for the SNP to reach their goal of independence they have two major hurdles that will take more to clear than merely a leap of faith.

Almost 1.05 million people voted for Labour. Why? Since it couldn't by any means be based on performance, competence or integrity to their parties core beliefs.

Factors could be the bias of the media. It's constant gloat as to the importance of the 'leaders' debate which further dumb's down the gullibility of the electorate. The constant harping on by the three leaders and their parties of the irrelevance of any other party to Westminster politics - which, by some strange inverted logic is accepted as fact rather than proof of Scotland's irrelevance to Westminster. Ally that with the ingrained Scottish traits to back losers and support the underdog and the jerks of ignorance win for the mafioso against the voice of reason and aspiration. That's the first hurdle.

The second is the economy. Like it or not the UK is in one unholy mess and none of the three leaders have answers to it. At least not answers that have cleared the censors of the City. If the three leaders and their parties don't know, Salmond doesn't. But if there's a broth being cooked up and in danger of turning into a melting pot he's got to be in a position to analyse the mix.

As to the pact with Labour, that's pure spurtle, adding an offer of reasonableness to the mix which would never be accepted.

Labours 1m to the SNP's .5m is the problem that should be exercising the SNP. Memories may be short in the blame game of politics but Labour plays the long game of tradition and religion that has sermonised and stupefied its congregation.

And this is exactly how Westminster wants it. The benefit to them of putting up with the West Lothian Question, is it turns the Clyde into Scotland's Ulster.

It's difficult to respect any institution or party that would risk such a stupid situation being recreated based on lies, propaganda and redundant ideology.

Strathturret said...

An SNP pact with the Tories (fourth in Scotland despite spending loads of money) would be electoral madness.

Alex would do a deal with labour but not a coalition if the benefits were there for Scotland. So lets think what might be on Alex's shopping list. Some funding for a new Forth Bridge, some advanced capital spending to help the economy, some of the money unfairly denied to the Scots Gov by labour spite (Attendance allowance, perhaps council tax allowances that scuppered LIT, or the fuel money highlighted by Mike Weir).

All very handy in the run up to 2011!

Jess The Dog said...

Alex Salmond has two agendas, possibly linked:

1. He has no hope of extracting concessions from a Con minority government or a Con-Lib coalition. Numbers don't stack up. So, propping up an unstable Lab 'rainbow coalition' is the only option.*

2. He knows if he makes Brown an offer he can't accept, Brown will have to refuse and look less than statesmanlike (even for him).

*exception to this scenario...I reckon a Con minority government or Con-Lib coalition could work with the SNP on resolving the West Lothian question (Labour block vote) with some financial or political support for Scotland, possibly related to constitutional reform and an independence referendum.

subrosa said...

Mave it certainly is time for an 'I'm Scotland, see me roar' and the SNP, as we have to admit, are the only party which presently defends Scotland's interests.

They have to play it a little safe being a minority government and I too thought they would gain a couple of seats this time round.

Mind you, their lack-lustred campaign (not just because they had little money) was perhaps a small factor and Eck's performances on TV weren't great. He didn't seem to be his usual self with his constant record of 'do away with Trident, ID cards etc'. It began to be boring.

I notice the SNP have been far more subtle in interviews on TV today.

subrosa said...

Unfortunately yes, he did come out all guns blazing on Friday and Saturday Clarinda. Today has been much better and far more dignified. Even Mr Robertson chose his words carefully when interviewed on Sky earlier.

No I don't think the MSM jumped on Alex Salmond's labour connection - I think Alex Salmond made a rod for his own back there by trying to get in far too quickly. Smacked of 'power at any cost' behaviour and not becoming to the SNP who are usually happy to await processes.

But I admit they have been better today.

subrosa said...

Scunnert, if the SNP make deals with labour or the tories then what's the point in being a party which is presumably between the two?

I'm not suggesting they support a tory agenda. What I'm suggesting is they should think that in their own constituencies here in the east many of their voters are ex-tory voters and don't take kindly to this decision to do a deal with labour.

subrosa said...

Excellent post RA. Thank you.

subrosa said...

Wouldn't a pact with labour be that too Strathturret? I mean, Alex Salmond's old constituency of Banff and Buchan used to be tory, Angus was tory, here was tory. Lots of people obviously changed to voting SNP.

I reiterate, his timing was wrong. He was too quick trying to get in. At times he's too slow to hit labour lies on the head and now he's been too quick.

subrosa said...

Yes I agree Jess, but did he have to come out all guns blazing on Friday? Today both Salmond and Robertson have been far more careful with their words and tone.

Personally, I think their leanings towards some form of coalition with labour will do them harm, but I'm just one person in 5 million.

james said...

Labour's whole campaign was based on "vote for us to keep out the tories".

If Labour reject Salmond's offer to keep out the tories, then it would show the scottish labour voters that labour would prefer a Tory government than work with the SNP.

I suppose Salmond wants to drive home the message that voting Labour does NOT keep out the tories and that Labour is more interested in itself than what's in Scotland's interest.

Sgian Dubh said...

One of the problems I see for the SNP was the way Brown handed the advantage over to the Tories. Timing became crucial as there was every likelihood that the Tories would use "the Markets" on monday to bounce the LiBDems into accepting less than they could really demand. The SNP pointing out an alternative alliance had to be made quickly as I seriously doubt Labour would have broached it.
Win, win for the SNP as far as I'm concerned.

subrosa said...

Hi James. Over the weekend there have been lots of rumours that labour have/haven't spoken to the SNP or vice versa.

Politicians treat us like fools with their 'I'm not telling you' attitude. We are fools accepting it.

subrosa said...

I don't think Brown did Sgian Dubh. In my view it was Nick Clegg who decided he would talk with the party which won the most votes and that was the tories.

All Brown did was come outside Downing Street and say he would talk with anyone.

Earlier today I had a chat with a close friend in England. He says the SNP appears to be the 'moaning' party from the south of England. Firstly they run to court to complain they're no included in the TV debates and now they're insisting they could work with labour to keep the tories out.

By the way the person is a Scot who was talking. Most English aren't interested in the Scots and would be happy if we went our own way.

How I wish the politicians weren't interested either but they need our contribution.

Maybe Alex Salmond's timing was right after all. :)

Who I am to disagree with a political strategist?

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Your friend in England's observation is accurate.

But the context has been manipulated to support that.

And whinging or not, the results bear out the tactics used by the Westminster establishment to promote its hierarchy did distort the result.

Your friend would do well to consider whether the whinge has a basis in fact and a reason based on cause, other than just plain editing.

subrosa said...

The whinge has a basis in myth RA, rather like all the bad things Thatcher did to Scotland and all the good things Labour have done in my lifetime.

My example was one I hear often from English friends. They really couldn't care less about Scotland and would be happy for us to go our own way.

These days though we've lost our strength of character to do so I think. We have a docile and unmotivated society which is happy for someone else to take the responsibility for their lives.

So sad.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I agree Rosa that generally the English are at best ambivalent to the Union and whether Scotland chooses to remain in it or not. It's this ambivalence allied to the vast difference in population that denies the logic of the unionists cause and the claims that accompany them.

That being the case it beggars the question of why independence should send shivers up the spine of politicians? Could it be self serving vanity is the rock that wrecks freedom?

After all, ambivalence in any relationship is hardly conducive to any mutually equitable relationship.

Perhaps we should call the Unionist MPs of Scotland "The Swingers."

Other than that, you're right, the Scots have lost the backbone to call the bully's bluff and that's the job the SNP have to get off the back foot and lead on.

After all what good can Statemanship do when you haven't got a State to practice it in.

subrosa said...

Sounds great RA 'The Scottish Political Swingers'.

I'm so disappointed the SNP haven't lead from the front since they took power. They seldom responded in any way to the attacks from labour and still don't. I say that with some reserve because they get such little MSM exposure that they may well have done. I know how difficult the SNP finds any media attention is hard to come by.

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