Would the SNP really want to prop up a Labour UK government, asks Andrew Whitaker
Had to laugh at that last paragraph. In part, at the suggestion that Douglas Alexander could be right about something. But mostly at the way Andrew Whitaker so unselfconsciously parrots one of the favoured propaganda lines of British Labour in Scotland right after some some disparaging remarks about SNP election slogans. I refer, of course, to the threadbare nonsense about the SNP preferring a Tory government at Westminster.
Setting aside, for the moment, the stark reality that it makes little difference which of the two “main” parties of British politics is in power, the idea that the SNP might find it advantageous if the Tories were to win next year’s UK general election simply doesn’t make sense. British Labour in Scotland has been peddling this line for years. It ties in with the line about the SNP “blaming Westminster for everything”. (As if there was something extraordinary about blaming the body that retains its jealous grasp on ultimate power and the purse-strings.) And, admittedly, there may have been some small sense to it in the past. But only because a Tory UK Government allowed the SNP to attack on two fronts - they could attack the policies AND the fact that the policies were being imposed by a party which was decisively rejected by voters in Scotland.
But, assuming the 2015 elections turn out as expected and the SNP has a significantly enhanced presence at Westminster, the argument that they would prefer a Tory government rather than a Labour one makes no sense at all.
Bear in mind that the SNP has categorically ruled out any deal with the Conservatives. No deal means no concessions. The SNP cannot possibly be in a position to make any demands of a Tory administration. Not so a Labour government. With a Labour administration in place dependent on the support of a large contingent of SNP MPs those SNP MPs are in a position of real political power.
It is simply naive to suppose that the SNP would choose a position of powerlessness under a Tory government over a position of significant power under a Labour government.
It cannot even be argued that the “prize” of blaming unelected Tories would be worth the sacrifice of real influence because there is a prize of at least equal value in blaming Labour for a policy programme that is all but indistinguishable from that of the Tories. Especially if, as is quite possible, British Labour is reduced to a minority party in Scotland.
So we come back to the fact that it is of little consequence to either the SNP or the people of Scotland which of the two surviving British parties forms the next UK Government. Either way, we will be subjected to policies which serve the imperatives of the neo-liberal consensus which removes any meaningful choice from British politics.
Either way, the SNP will be able to argue that the only way Scotland can follow a different path is by bringing our government home.
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