Monday, May 9, 2011

Is this the unanswerable case for SNP involvement in the next round of UK leaders' debates?

Well done to Stewart Stevenson MSP for spotting this incredible statistic -

"SNP now have 77 elected Parliamentarians, same as LibDems - Scot/Wales/UK/EU LD=5/5/55/12 SNP=69/0/6/2"

There's a slight error there, because the Liberal Democrats actually have 57 seats at Westminster. Nevertheless, if you take the SNP and their sister party Plaid Cymru together, they are clearly ahead of the Lib Dems by 92 to 79, which I would have thought is the final nail in the coffin of any notion that the Lib Dems have a 'national' presence that gives them a special entitlement to participation in televised general election debates that the nationalist parties do not share.

Of course the SNP shouldn't even need to pray in aid their strength in the Scottish or European Parliaments - their established position in Westminster politics ought to be reason enough. They have had continuous parliamentary representation since 1967, and are comfortably beyond the threshold of seats that affords official recognition as a Westminster parliamentary party. They outpolled both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in one of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom at the last election (in spite of the debates being rigged against them), and won more seats than the Conservatives. They also stood in 59 constituencies - two more than the number of seats that were required for Nick Clegg to become Deputy Prime Minister. And, of course, just like two of the three parties that actually did feature in the 2010 debates, they are a 'territorial' party, rather than a UK-wide one. However, if these facts aren't enough, the SNP's thorough-going dominance of the Scottish political scene over the next five years is going to make their total exclusion from the debates look ever more ludicrous.


  1. The very fact that Alex Salmond and his party are the only ones to have a proper working majority in any part of the UK is a good enough reason for representatives of the SNP to be in any leaders debates and to appear on question time each and every week.

    Off topic..The sub sample has the SNP on 36% and Labour 38% for Westminster.

  2. James

    Hopefully by the time of the next UK leaders debates, the SNP will not need to be there.

    26% undecided to be worked on over the next 3/4 years.

  3. Dubbieside, I think the timetable might be a wee bit tight for that. Reading between the lines, Salmond seems to be hinting at a referendum in late 2014 at the earliest, and if there's a positive outcome that would just be the start of independence negotiations. Besides, who's to say the Westminster coalition won't collapse long before then?

    Allan, I gather that tonight's subsample has the SNP ahead. Probably just a honeymoon effect, of course, but good to see all the same!

  4. Ezio Auditore da FirenzeMay 10, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    James, you old devil, I feel that I should take a quick moment to commend you on your constant advocacy of #bothvoteSNP even in the North East region. Certainly worked!

    How do you think the Greens feel right now? With the clear rejection of Labour by the public, do you think they wish they'd made it clear they'd have favoured the SNP in any coalition negotiations and have been in the position to pick up some regional votes from SNP supporters?

    Interesting questions of I may say so myself!

  5. They were playing too cute a game, I think - they wanted to be a 'second choice' for Labour voters in places like Glasgow and for SNP voters in the northeast, but by sending out those hints they were making both sets of voters suspicious.

  6. James.

    Yeah could be the honeymoon bounce but good figures.
    Stuart Dickson has results up, don't know if they are tonights ones or not.
    Westminster VI – Scotland
    (+/- change from UK GE 2010)

    SNP 37% (+17)
    Lab 34% (-8)
    Con 16% (-1)
    LD 8% (-11)
    Grn 2% (+1)
    UKIP 2% (+1)
    BNP 0 (n/c)
    oth 1%