Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Haven't the Tories noticed the SNP and Plaid are also in favour of electoral reform?

A bizarre story in the Financial Times this evening, suggesting that the Tories may be looking to do deals with nationalist and unionist parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to avert the need for an arrangement with the Liberal Democrats. In one sense, the fact that Tory sources are even talking like this is a huge moral victory for the SNP, because it drives a coach and horses through the claim we've repeatedly heard from all the London-based parties that the SNP would only be a peripheral presence, even in a balanced parliament.

However, the point at which you realise that the Tories are indulging in wishful thinking here (or perhaps playing some unspecified psychological game) is when the report mentions that the reason they want to avoid dealing with the Lib Dems is to circumvent the need for concessions on electoral reform. Given that the SNP have repeatedly listed PR for the Commons as one of their top priorities in a balanced parliament, it's very hard to see how the Tory first-past-the-post Neanderthals are going to find any greater comfort in a nationalist embrace. Democratic Unionist MPs in Northern Ireland are a very different story, of course - but they could only seal the deal for Cameron if he is within at least ten seats of an outright majority.

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