Over at my old haunt Political Betting, there's been a fair bit of wishful thinking recently about the prospect of SNP abstentions on tuition fees helping to get the Lib Dems off the hook. Mike Smithson noted that simply holding the vote on a Thursday night might help, because the nationalists sometimes "can't be arsed" to stick around that late in the parliamentary week (translation - their constituencies are further away from Westminster than most), while a couple of posters claimed this morning that the SNP's policy of not voting on domestic English affairs ought to guarantee an abstention anyway. When it was pointed out that Pete Wishart had already confirmed in the Herald that the SNP would be sticking with previous practice and voting against higher tuition fees due to the impact on Barnett consequentials, it provoked these rather colourful reactions...
"Sorry but this ‘have you cake and eat it’ attitude makes me grrrrr."
"Boak - Wishart makes me sick."
Now, here's a novel suggestion. Instead of grumbling about the SNP following the inescapable logic of an inadequate devolution settlement that leaves Scottish funding totally at the mercy of the side-effects of "domestic English" policy decisions, why not do something about the system itself? These posters can rest assured that under full fiscal autonomy, the SNP would have no need or wish to ever again intervene on English tuition fees.
Also, isn't it curious that, in the eyes of PB Tories, Inverness MP Danny Alexander's vote in favour of the coalition proposals doesn't seem to have the same boak-inducing qualities, or indeed to fit the definition of a politician attempting to possess an already-consumed cake?
From what I saw of the coverage of the Megrahi leaks on the ITV lunchtime news, it couldn't have come out much worse for Scottish Labour - the message was that the London government had been quaking in the face of threats from Libya, while in contrast the SNP government had turned down each and every inducement offered by the Gaddafi regime. Having said that, I do have to question the quality of the reporting when it was suggested at the end of the piece that the cables "reveal" that Megrahi is expected to live five years - it should be clear from even the most cursory glance that talk of that kind of timeframe predated the decline in his health, and even at that stage five years was thought to be unlikely.