Britain on the brink: the SNP and the 2015 general election

The unionist Tories big up SNP's Sturgeon. Reality will be different

The unionist Tories boost SNP’s Sturgeon. Reality will be different

You could never accuse the British establishment of being intelligent. Almost a century ago, its brutal response to Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising ensured the departure of the 26 counties from the United Kingdom. David Cameron is doing his very best to repeat the trick 100 years on with Scotland.

I don’t blame the Tories for having fun at Labour’s expense over the rise of the SNP. But talk of the SNP holding the country to ransom is very foolish. The Scottish nationalists are completely entitled to use its bargaining power in the new parliament. That’s how parliament and the constitution work. More fool the Tories and Labour for allowing the survival of our corrupt and undemocratic voting system. It’s unlikely the SNP would be in the same powerful position had justice prevailed with the introduction of a more proportional voting system.

As Jonathan Freedland says in today’s Guardian, the Conservatives have been totally calculating in talking up the SNP. Chancellor George Osborne praised Nicola Sturgeon’s performance in the leaders’ debates. Why? To embarrass Labour. Yet the ploy was cynical and stupid at the same time. If the Tories were so horrified by the SNP supporting a Labour government, why praise that party’s leader?

Ironically, the SNP is likely to have less influence by ruling out any kind of unholy alliance with the Tories. It’s unlikely to repeat its 1979 folly in bringing down a Labour government. Ed Miliband may have more room for manoeuvre as a result, despite the Tory scaremongering.

Here’s my verdict after last September’s Scottish independence referendum:

“Out of touch London politicians have had the fright of their lives. Cameron, Miliband and Clegg complacently assumed that the result was a foregone conclusion. But when a single poll claimed a yes lead, they panicked. They cobbled together a promise of ‘Devo Max’ – home rule within the UK. Dave, Ed and Nick rushed up to Scotland to declare undying love for the country and plead with Scots not to file for divorce. It was desperate and unconvincing.”

Judging by their actions over the last month, those out of touch London politicians have learned nothing.

2 thoughts on “Britain on the brink: the SNP and the 2015 general election

  1. Hello. This chap was also writing about Cameron’s gambit and the perils of gaming hyphenated identity politics.

    I got quite interested before the referendum on Scottish independence about what would happen in the event of a ‘no’ vote and heard people proposing a constitutional convention to consider how to re-balance the governance of Britain. The fact that Cameron couldn’t thin beyond The Commons and his majority and plunged straight into ‘English votes for English laws’ which was transparently about poking the Labour Party in the eye, regardless of the perils to the Union, and the underwhelming response of all the other politicians also selected by a machine geared to winning under ‘first past the post’ convinced me that politically, we are living in an age of pygmies. British political culture seem constitutionally incapable of considering wider issues about citizenship, participation and containing diverse communities within one structure. (Hum, perhaps I should just have ended that sentence at ‘constitutionally incapable’?_)

    In a slight aside, I’d be interested in your views on the Sun and the McSun’s different editorial stances on who to endorse for the election despite their both being Murdoch controlled stable-mates. I doubt the sinister Aussie has lost his taste for politicking. Perhaps the puppet master image above put me in mind of this. Is this an attempt to set up to the sort of confrontation you and Raphael Behr fear? Or is that too obvious? Or is that what he wants us to think?

  2. Pingback: General election 2015: a personal verdict | Ertblog

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