Sunday, May 9, 2010

A little 'relevant' lesson in basic arithmetic for the Labour party

I couldn't help but raise a smile to see that even Peter Hoskin of the Spectator thought that Labour were not merely foolish in rubbishing Alex Salmond's offer of a progressive alliance to freeze out the Tories, but were also appallingly bad-mannered.

As Columbo might say - I'm a little confused here, Labour. Based on public statements from your party, two things are apparently true - a) it is still, in principle, perfectly possible to form a Labour-led coalition, and b) the SNP are utterly irrelevant to that process. Well, if we assume a long-term deal with the DUP is highly unlikely, that means the only progressive coalition available is as follows -

Labour 258
+ Liberal Democrat 57
+ SDLP 3
+ Green 1
+ Alliance 1
+ Independent (Sylvia Hermon) 1

That comes to a grand total of 321 seats. The combined opposition to that coalition government would have a total of 323 seats - and that's excluding the five abstentionist Sinn Féin MPs, plus the still-to-be-elected member for Thirsk and Malton, who is highly likely to be a Tory. But, on the other hand, if you move the nine Scottish and Welsh nationalists from the opposition column to the coalition column, you have a government total of 330 seats, and a combined opposition total of just 314.

So, just remind me again, Labour, how exactly do you work out that the SNP are 'irrelevant' to this process?


  1. What do you make of some Scottish Labour figures saying that a possible LibLab coalition will not need the SNP because they say that the SNP "wouldn't dare to vote with the Tories"?

  2. I think that's just bravado. It may well be true that the SNP wouldn't vote down the coalition on a confidence vote, but if Labour actually want to get any legislation through they'll have to start dealing constructively with the SNP, even if it's only behind the scenes.