Monday, June 28, 2010

Are the tectonic plates shifting?

A very interesting post by Tory blogger Dean MacKinnon-Thomson, referring to a Sunday Times article which apparently suggests that elements within the Scottish Conservative party are warming to the idea of coalition with the SNP after next year's election, even if it means a referendum on independence. Not having paid my Murdoch levy, I haven't read the article in question so I can't judge for myself, but if there's some truth to this suggestion it could yet be a vital lifeline for the SNP. I'm beginning to worry about the spectre of 1994/5 - ie. the SNP receiving a high share of the vote but still being unable to outpoll Labour, due to the extreme unpopularity of the Tory government at Westminster.

But if the worst happens and Labour do emerge with the most seats next May, it would probably take more than an SNP-Tory combination to form a non-Labour governing majority. Although he doesn't spell this out, I get the impression that Dean feels the Lib Dems would go along with what their Westminster coalition partners want. I'm not sure it's anything like as clear-cut as that, with the Scottish Lib Dems especially troubled about the long-term consequences of being perceived as Tory 'collaborators'. Of course, it would be equally hard in the circumstances for them to do a deal with Labour (indeed Labour might not even entertain the idea), so it would be fascinating to see which way they jump.

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