Sunday, December 7, 2014

How Alex Salmond could become Deputy Prime Minister of the UK - at Labour's request

The expression "hung parliament" is an adaptation of "hung jury", explained Vernon Bogdanor on the BBC's election results programme in May 2010.  A hung jury is one that has no prospect of reaching a majority verdict, and therefore must be dismissed by the judge to make way for a fresh trial.  Bogdanor concluded that the parliament that had just been elected had no prospect of producing a sustainable government, and therefore would be dismissed in short order, leading us back to the polls within a few months.

Bogdanor was completely and utterly wrong, but to be fair he was only wrong because he was making a basic assumption that was very widely held at the time - namely that the Conservatives were unable and unwilling to enter into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.  As it turned out (only a few hours later), the Tory leadership were actually even keener on coalition than the Lib Dems were, for a number of good reasons -

* They feared, in Norman Lamont's famous phrase, being "in office but not in power".  Compromise with the Lib Dems and the prospect of getting at least most of the Tory manifesto implemented was preferable to treading water for an unknown period as a minority government and getting nothing of any substance done.

* A weak Tory minority government could have become unpopular very quickly, and if they had been forced to call an early general election, there was a risk of being defeated by a Labour party which would by then have had a chance to regroup and elect a new leader.

* Having the Lib Dems inside the government, rather than offering limited support from outside, meant that there would be more than one party taking the blame for unpopular decisions.  Indeed, there was a chance that the Lib Dems might end up taking more than their fair share of the blame.

* Adding on a ready-made "liberal wing" to his government appealed to Cameron in some ways - it meant that he would be at the ideological centre of the administration.

Now let's try and imagine what would happen next May if the arithmetic works out as we hope, and Labour's only chance of cobbling together a governing majority is to do a deal with the SNP that delivers Devo Max, or at the very least something much closer to Devo Max than the Smith Commission has proposed.  As has been well-established, the SNP would prefer that deal to be a confidence-and-supply arrangement, rather than a coalition.  But what would Labour prefer?  I doubt if even they know the answer to that question yet, because they're still in denial about the very real prospect of the SNP taking most of their Scottish seats.  But when and if that reality hits home, it's not impossible that they might come to the same conclusion that Cameron did in 2010, meaning that they would take the experts by surprise and press hard for full coalition with the hated Nats.

Confidence-and-supply might be of limited appeal to Labour, because even if it was a firm deal that was guaranteed for a full parliament, it would leave them with the "in office but not in power" problem - especially given that the SNP would continue abstaining on England-only votes.  If Labour were going to make big and painful concessions to the SNP, it might only be worth it if they were sure of being able to win parliamentary votes consistently for five years, or four, or three, or however long the agreement is proposed to last.

Or perhaps they detest the SNP and the whole idea of Scottish self-government so much that they would refuse to do a deal at all, no matter what the cost?  Maybe, but they would be fully aware that the potential cost could be very substantial indeed.  If the Tories feared in 2010 that a Prime Minister Cameron at the head of a weak minority government might lose an early general election after six months, the mind boggles as to what Labour think would happen to a Prime Minister Miliband in similar circumstances.

And what about the other side of the equation - would the SNP be willing to accept the painful sacrifices that would be required to enter into formal coalition?  Like the Lib Dems, they would be risking deep unpopularity as the junior coalition partner, and would also have to deal with the awkwardness of dispensing with their long-held position of not voting on England-only matters.  But IF the coalition agreement contained a cast-iron guarantee of Devo Max within a short timescale, my guess is that any amount of pain would be worth accepting.  To borrow Alex Salmond's phrase from the referendum campaign : "it's an opportunity that may not come our way again".

So on the day that Mr Salmond confirms he'll be seeking to return to Westminster, it's worth pondering the irony that his return might lead to him to become Deputy Prime Minister of the UK - and that if it does happen, it may well be at Labour's specific request.

61 comments:

  1. "Or perhaps they detest the SNP and the whole idea of Scottish self-government so much that they would refuse to do a deal at all, no matter what the cost?"

    I genuinely don't see it any other way. A Labour/UKIP or even a Labour/Tory coalition is more likely to me than Labour deigning to work with the SNP at Westminster. Gordon Brown had the chance to do so in 2010 with the "rainbow coalition," but wouldn't even enter into discussions. He implicitly preferred the possibility of a Tory-led government than even entertaining a coalition with the SNP. Think of how many ruinous decisions made by New Labour were a direct result of being anti-SNP - working with the Tories in Better Together being only the most recent. Frankly, I view the likelihood of a New Labour/SNP coalition with about the same skepticism as I view any of the parties delivering Home Rule without a strong SNP contingent.

    As for the SNP, well, they are not the Lib Dems. They are a completely different party, and while certainly "Westminster style," they differ crucially in that their base of operations is in Scotland, not Westminster. The party leader is the First Minister, after all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A coalition for Labour would have some merit. They could ditch Trident and say "well not enough people voted for us so we had to compromise". They then have something substantive to show to voters as being distinctive from the "war mongering Blair era".

      The SNP could also force them to the left on other things and they can claim that the policies which work are theirs, and the ones that failed were forced onto them as compromises they never fully agreed with.

      But there is danger in it for Labour too. I'm pretty convinced they were only ever supporting a No vote in the referendum because not to do so could have resulted in a complete collapse of their English vote if they were not seen to be fully supporting the UK as it is. Which would help to explain the complete alienation of their own members who were not consulted on that policy... So a coalition with the SNP they've been demonising for years would be heading down that same road and could look like they're "soft" on Scotland. And the corporate press will say they are if Devo Max was to be delivered.

      It's labour, they'll make whatever choice they think will most benefit their party. But if they're smart (all evidence suggests that is about as much of a stretch as anything Mr Tickle could produce) they'll realise that independence has only been delayed unless they can radically change the Scottish political landscape from where it is now.

      Delete
    2. I fear Labour Shadow Minister for Defence has confirmed all 4 nuclear heads will be replaced if Miliband wins.

      Delete
    3. In the end - Labour (all politicians) want power and rather than be consigned to a potential neverending wasteland of forgotten long grass politics, they'll do a deal - it then behoves the SNP to get the best deal it can ASAP before Labour falls to bits. It would be the end of Labour anyway since their Scottish seats will have gone, so at least this way they'd have a chance of surviving.

      Delete
  2. "A Labour/UKIP or even a Labour/Tory coalition is more likely to me than Labour deigning to work with the SNP at Westminster. Gordon Brown had the chance to do so in 2010 with the "rainbow coalition," but wouldn't even enter into discussions."

    There would be two big differences this time - a) the SNP would have far more than six seats to bring to the negotiating table, and b) Labour would be hungrier for power, because they'll already have been in opposition for five years. If the arithmetic is such that Labour can only govern with the SNP's help, walking away from a deal would probably mean one of two things - a) five more years in the wilderness, or b) entering into a grand coalition with the Tories, which would lead to a chunk of Labour's core support in England drifting off, perhaps to the Greens (or perhaps even to the Lib Dems, as weird as it might sound).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If the arithmetic is such that Labour can only govern with the SNP's help, walking away from a deal would probably mean one of two things - a) five more years in the wilderness, or b) entering into a grand coalition with the Tories, which would lead to a chunk of Labour's core support in England drifting off, perhaps to the Greens (or perhaps even to the Lib Dems, as weird as it might sound)."

      The latter of which seems far more likely to me. Labour's core support has not just been drifting off, it's being smothered: there's a huge cultural shift aimed at snuffing out the left, led by the media and especially the BBC. With UKIP on the rise, it seems clear to me that Labour will happily abandon its left wing voters to the Greens if it means chasing the right-wing monster the establishment has turned so many voters of England and Wales into.

      Plus it's all predicated on whether New Labour are actually competent enough to avoid complete self-destruction. All signs point to the negatory on that...

      Delete
  3. Everyone is going on and on about SNP/Lab Government post May .
    Another possibility never mentioned is Tory/Lib/UKIP/DUP/UUP grotesque right wing mess coalition monstrosity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Lib Dems have ruled out involvement in a government with UKIP (OK, that's a "Clegg promise", but even so). The UUP have no seats at all at the moment. Tory/UKIP/DUP might be a runner, but the chances of that will be determined by arithmetic - UKIP are unlikely to have more than twelve seats, and the DUP are unlikely to have more than nine. Surely if the Tories are close enough to a majority to make such a deal possible, they would prefer to deal with the Lib Dems anyway?

      Delete
  4. Minds would be concentrated on all sides by whatever outcome arose. I trust Alec to do what is best for Scotland. He has shown himself to be a different kind of man. He is not in the job just to get rich. Whatever he chooses to do we can rest assured will be for our good first.

    Red and Blue Tories seem to put their party first - Red especially. The LibDems seem to have rejoiced at the ministerial cars and I expect possible elevation to the Commission or the upper house .

    I have said before. Deal with the Devil himself if the outcome is in Scotland's interest. We have to look to our nation's advantage first and foremost. Saor Alba.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Alex Salmond as Secretary of State for Scotland?

    ReplyDelete
  6. will the SNP semi-abstentionist policy (no votes on English matters) disqualify it from being a full partner in a UK government?
    Will the SNP vote on Welsh and NI issues?
    Thanks to anyone who can clarify these two points

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well we don't vote on England only matters and that is how it should be.Now with that said and I hope taken in good faith I would also like it to be enshrined in law,so that it remains fair and only in law will that be forced to happen as we all know some politicians cant be trusted.Sorted,now we should be able to have that law reciprocal,and no English MP,s will vote on Scotland only matters,would like to take it as said that this will apply to all members of the Westminster parliament,and each country will vote strictly on its own only laws.This I think will bring us to the point that as a complete unit Westminster will only be all together for Foreign Policy and defence of these islands.Scottish MP,s could therefore decide that all of Scottish domestic laws shall be agreed in Holyrood and we need only meet for 5 days a month for non-domestic laws,that is how it all should be and looks like it might just get along that way,all friends at the right times.

      Delete
    2. I do not agree, Charles O'Brien. The SNP is wrong in its stance and it should change it. Westminster is not the parliament of England, it is the parliament of the UK and Northern Ireland. There is no democratic deficit in principle and certainly none in practice. The West Lothian question is stupid and we should not give it any credence whatsoever.

      If the English want a parliament they should vote to have one. Then devolved matters will be entirely determined by members of that parliament and THAT is what would be fair.

      At present if you have an issue with a local government matter you go to your local councillor: and so do the english. If you have an issue with a devolved matter you go to your MSP: and an english person goes to their MP. If you have an issue on a reserved matter you go to your MP, and so does an english person. Thus english people are as well or badly represented as are scots, and have recourse to the people who represent them in whatever body has responsibility for the issue, no matter what it is. There is no unfairness there at all.

      There is no such thing as a scottish MP: there is only an MP who represents a Scottish constituency. The whole point of a No vote was to retain that position and it is the only fair constitutional position. MP's who represent Scottish constituencies have no vote on devolved matters: to suggest that they vote for things which cannot affect their constituents is patent nonsense: for they cannot vote in Holyrood. It is often said that they voted for tuition fees, for example, knowing they would not suffer a backlash from the voters as it did not apply in Scotland: poppycock. It did not apply in Scotland because the Holyrood voted that way and it had nothing at all to do with MP's at Westminster. Why do you buy this illogical narrative which carries such weight with the constitutionally illiterate english polity, who do not want an english parliament because they think they already have one? And also do not want it because it will cost money they do not wish to pay, or so many of them say

      There are no issues which are english only issues in a unitary state wedded to the "household budget" theory of government finance. What is spent on one thing is not available to be spent on another: so whatever decisions they make has a knock on effect on Scotland

      Do you consider the question of oil revenue and taxation to be a Scotland only matter under your proposal? I do, but you will not get Westminster to agree with that. Yet it is neither foreign policy nor defence.

      Do you consider that all of taxation and public spending is a Scotland only matter? I do, but you will not get Westminster to agree with that. Yet it is neither foreign policy nor defence.

      Do you consider that government borrowing is a Scotland only matter? I do, but you will not get Westminster to agree with that, either. Yet it is neither foreign policy nor defence.

      I could not disagree more with your position.

      Delete
    3. "If the English want a parliament they should vote to have one."

      You mean MPs representing English constituencies?

      Delete
    4. No. I mean an english parliament. They do not have one and it is time they realised that. It isn't difficult to understand

      Delete
  7. I sincerely hope the SNP bloc in Westminster next year will avoid getting into bed with either of these 2 diseased parties, unless it wants to develop the same poll-pox infection currently afflicting the Lib Dems.
    As N S said, it might be possible to support individual bills on a case-by-case basis at Westminster, if it is to the benefit of the people of Scotland, It would be a fatal mistake to enter a coalition in order to prop up a government in Westminster, whatever sad promises they made.

    The SNP needs to remember what the aspirations and beliefs are, of those who elect them. If we want a Tory government, we will vote Tory. If we want a Labour government, we will vote Labour. If we vote SNP, we want social justice, the end of nuclear weapons based in our country and control over our own affairs, in our own country.

    The SNP also needs to remember that if you fly wi' the craws, and get shot down with the rest of them, that it's us Scots who have to pick up the bloodied feathers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can't help but suspect a grand coalition between Conservatives and Labour 'in the national interest during this time of crisis', with Alex Salmond as leader of the opposition - in those circumstances PMQ would be beyond entertaining

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aye thats the most likely outcome of a hung parliament Labour would get back into bed with the Tories,ha ha did you think that they were not in bed with them already,they are part of the Westminster party,and only pretend to be different so that some voters think they have a chance of something new or different.

      Delete
  9. James,

    Surely the danger for Labour of going into a coalition with the SNP would be the perception fed by the feral press and media of the "porridge-wogs" being feather bedded - again - by the long suffering english tax payers?

    Apart from such a measure being a huge hostage to fortune for Labour in any future election amongst voters down south there would also be the vehement objections of their solid block of northern England MPs as well as the knee-jerk anti-SNP instincts of the surviving Slab drones.

    Like him or loathe him, Cameron has played a blinder - he has destroyed the Liberals, forever tainted Slab in their own heartland, put Scotland back in its box for the time being and even has a handy and manageable pressure valve for his golf club tendency on the right in the shape of UKIP.

    Forget Labour, get your money on the Tories being the next UK government.

    ReplyDelete
  10. act of insanity for salmond to take any minister post or form coalition---HUGE backlash Scotland

    ReplyDelete
  11. The English press and TV will never allow their government to be elected by foreigners (Scots) so there will will be no coalition involving the SNP.
    Any English politician who is seen to be influenced by the SNP will be pilloried and hounded from office.
    Westminster IS England's parliament and they will ensure it remains that way.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't think there is any chance of the SNP agreeing to be part of a formal coalition government at Westimister in the event of a hung parliament next May. They would try and get as much power back to Scotland as possible. I see no reason why the SNP would want to get bogged down in governing the UK as a whole, when their aim is self government for Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reason they might do it (in my view) is that it could be the only way to get Devo Max. They might not have enough to bring to the table unless they can guarantee the government a stable majority, including on English matters.

      Delete
    2. They will not get devo max, no matter what they do. A coalition will merely lose the good will they currently have because the neoliberal consensus will not allow any fundamental change to the austerity agenda no matter how rational it may be.

      Confidence and Supply is as far as any SNP MP's should go: it is enough

      Delete
    3. Well, it's a simple calculation - if Devo Max or something very close to it is not on the table, then I don't think they should go into coalition either. But it's not as if there's any danger of them being duped - a commitment to maximum devolution would have to be in any written agreement.

      Delete
    4. Depends on how you see it. If devo max is offered it will be offered for Confidence and Supply, should the situation arise. There is no need for coalition in any circumstances. This is because Labour want power at any price, so far as I can tell. How else to explain their transformation into tories? If they cannot form a government without SNP support they will pretend they have principles to try to secure a coalition, possibly. But they will take confidence and supply if they cannot: and they will give whatever devolution they feel is sellable to the tory support they calculate is necessary to them winning elections: which won't be very much, given the preposterous narrative about Scotland which they have helped to establish

      Delete
    5. WeSaidNoToYesMen :-)December 7, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      "They will not get devo max, no matter what they do."

      What preposterous propaganda, lies and nonsense. Devo max has been delivered in full, the vow has been fulfilled. What more do you want? The simple truth is that you nats won't be satisfied until you get full independence

      Delete
    6. "Devo max has been delivered in full"

      So we've got control over broadcasting, pensions, Jobseekers' Allowance, corporation tax, abortion law, the post-study work visa, and all the rest?

      WHY DID NOBODY MENTION THIS?

      Delete
    7. They are keeping it for a Xmas surprise, and only told WeSaidNoToYesMen. I am looking forward to Xmas morning now - so exciting!!

      Delete
    8. WeSaidNoToYesMen :-)December 8, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      "So we've got control over broadcasting, pensions, Jobseekers' Allowance, corporation tax, abortion law, the post-study work visa, and all the rest?"

      The post-study work visa? Is that the best you can come up with? The real power lies in control of income tax. Those other powers you mentioned are merely the wee-things as Johann Lamond explained clearly, were you not listening?

      Delete
  13. There seems to be a mistaken belief, that because the Lib Dems have lost credibility and will get decimated at the next election, that this would have to any junior partner.
    This is just wrong - it is the Lib Dems approach to life as a junior coalition partner that has destroyed them. Throughout Europe coalitions work, and the junior partner usually manages to punch above their weight due to the balance of power they hold.
    The Lib Dems meekly became Tory-lites and marched to their master's beats. The SNP wouldn't make the same mistake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that being a junior coalition partner is workable, but some of this still strikes me as a little bit naive. Of course the Lib Dems made poor decisions - the tuition fees issue could hardly have been handled worse from their perspective - but they were also on a hiding to nothing because they were the anti-establishment vote. It doesn't matter what decisions they made on that front, you can't be the anti-establishment party if you're in government.

      Indeed, the SNP would be in a comparable position. They have most of the anti-establishment vote in Scotland at present, which would be impossible to hold if they were part of a governing coalition in both Scotland and Westminster. Part of the SNP's core strategy in government has been to blame Westminster for the "bad stuff" and take credit for the "good stuff". That's infinitely more difficult when you're actually in coalition and have to take ownership of government policy.

      But not going into coalition could be equally damaging. Politics isn't just a game of who can get the best polling ratings, the actual policy decisions a Westminster government could make (e.g. taking a lead on the world stage to get rid of nuclear weapons, pushing for a solution to climate change, having genuine influence over global problems like the Middle East, Ukraine, and so on) are hugely important.

      Ironically they're things that being in government in Westminster would make possible - in a way that probably wouldn't be possible as an independent state. It would potentially be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the party. Moreover, turning it down could be seen by the electorate as a cynical bit of party politics - unwilling to take any real responsibility because it's easier to snipe from the sidelines.

      So for me the most credible option is to enter a coalition, as the Lib Dems did, but to try and use it to make a genuine difference - and not just over devolution/independence, but on a policy level. Unlike the Lib Dems, they'd be alongside a party that they'd probably find a lot of agreement with - there are still plenty of people in Labour who want to get rid of Trident, for instance, even if the leadership isn't there at present.

      Delete
  14. "So on the day that Mr Salmond confirms he'll be seeking to return to Westminster, it's worth pondering the irony that his return might lead to him to become Deputy Prime Minister of the UK - and that if it does happen, it may well be at Labour's specific request."

    He said that today that he was 'perfectly content' for Angus Robertson to remain as the Westminster leader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a very careful choice of words.

      Delete
    2. He said that today that he was 'perfectly content' for Angus Robertson to remain as the Westminster leader."

      Good. If Alex was leader, he'd be under pressure to be the responsible leader, much as he was as First Minister. But as an MP, he can be the cat among the pigeons he so thrives at being.

      Delete
    3. I don't know whether the plan is for him to become the official leader of the group or not, but it seems to me he would be saying exactly the same thing either way. It would look ridiculous if he said "and naturally I'll be replacing Angus Robertson as leader".

      Delete
  15. "There would be two big differences this time - a) the SNP would have far more than six seats to bring to the negotiating table, and b) Labour would be hungrier for power, because they'll already have been in opposition for five years. If the arithmetic is such that Labour can only govern with the SNP's help, walking away from a deal would probably mean one of two things - a) five more years in the wilderness, or b) entering into a grand coalition with the Tories, which would lead to a chunk of Labour's core support in England drifting off, perhaps to the Greens (or perhaps even to the Lib Dems, as weird as it might sound)."

    I think that the decisions that the next Government is going to have to make are so difficult that many in Labour would actually be relieved to sit out for another five years and reap the benefit as they sit on the sidelines criticising everything,

    Given the problems that Labour has with UKIP in some of its core areas a combination of being in coalition with the SNP - and the benefits that would accrue to Scotland from that - combined with the cuts that they would be forced to make could be fatal to them as a party.

    You just have to look at the Socialist Hollande disaster in France - and the rise of the FN there - to see what is awaiting Labour if they take power next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I think that the decisions that the next Government is going to have to make are so difficult that many in Labour would actually be relieved to sit out for another five years and reap the benefit as they sit on the sidelines criticising everything"

      Wasn't that the plan for the last five years? Where does it end? The two-party system is in severe long-term decline and there's no guarantee there will ever be another Labour government, no matter how long they wait.

      Delete
  16. Wasn't that the plan for the last five years? Where does it end? The two-party system is in severe long-term decline and there's no guarantee there will ever be another Labour government, no matter how long they wait.

    At a leadership level the top players would obviously want to be in Government; if he does not become PM then Milliband's political career is effectively over since there is no way that Labour will allow him to continue as leader.

    However, I suspect that there are plenty of backench Labour MPs who are quite happy on £60,000+ salaries a year carping from the sidelines. Opposition has as many comforts as it has frustrations.

    If Labour win next year I really thinlk they could be finsished for a generation, if not forever. The combination of having to make cuts - which many of their core supporters genuinely do not think that they will do - plus the ongoing issue of uncontrolled immigration will be absolutely lethal in many of their core areas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The two-party system is in severe long-term decline"

      Is it?
      I doubt it. History and studies of parliamentary systems across the globe, show that FPTP tends towards 2 party systems. Sure there will be times (like now) when it looks like that dominance is challenged, but it rarely lasts.

      As for the next election. I'm certain the Tories will win. The polls are showing that the Tories are catching Labour (as was utterly predictable) and as election day approaches, minds will turn to the economy, where Labour simply are not trusted.

      Delete
    2. "History and studies of parliamentary systems across the globe, show that FPTP tends towards 2 party systems."

      Have you looked at the recent history of India? They're an FPTP country that regularly produces PR-type results, and for the same reason that's gradually happening here - regional fragmentation of the party system.

      The decline of the two-party system here has been going on for decades - it's not a recent blip at all. The Tories and Labour between them used to get 98% of the vote.

      Delete
    3. India? Really?
      You can do better than that.

      Delete
    4. No, Boab, I don't think you, I or anyone else can do better than India - by far the biggest democracy in the world.

      Delete
    5. Ach away with yer nonsense. Any idiot knows how India is an anomaly amongst FPTP systems. If Duverger is railed against with India here, you've lost the plot.

      Delete
    6. If you're only interested in being abusive, then I'm out. What you've said makes no sense for the reasons I've given you (which you've been unable to refute), and I'm content to leave it at that.

      Delete
  17. The comments above are all predicated on assumptions relating to "power". But irrespective of who is in "power" after 2015 elections theres still a big elephant in the room. Its the economy stupid.

    I believe that the reasons were numerous why the Imperial masters wanted to hang on to our Country, but way up the top of the list was that we are net contributors to their economy. In balance of trade, and by tax base we are needed for there to be any chance of recovery from the borrowing position.

    Now whichever party is in power at waste monster after May, the problem is not going to go away. The UK is in a staggering amount of debt. Tax revenues are not growing, and whichever electoral outcome arises the hands of any government are necessarily tied.

    Without any shadow of a doubt we should have voted Yes, but the daft, the gullible, the bigoted and the feart decided to keep us chained to the Titanic. Im not sure how aiding either version of the Tories to govern is going to help us.

    Perhaps the best thing for us would be a grand coalition. Designed to thwart the Scots, and followed by a massive Yes majority at Holyrood in 2016 and UDI.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Im not sure how aiding either version of the Tories to govern is going to help us... Perhaps the best thing for us would be a grand coalition. Designed to thwart the Scots, and followed by a massive Yes majority at Holyrood in 2016 and UDI."

      This is where I think there's a fundamental schism among some of us. You've basically presented an argument here for ignoring any attempt to gain concessions within the UK and hoping for maximum destruction to allow us to jump off a sinking ship with a unilateral declaration of independence. That's basically the radical take on independence - i.e. we need to achieve it at all costs and nothing less than independence is worth anything.

      I can understand why some people feel that way, but the likes of Sturgeon (rightly in my view) just don't take that attitude. They'll see a coalition as a chance to get tangible concessions, even if it's not independence. They'll also (again rightly in my view) see that if you can make a real difference policy wise then you have to take that. If a coalition didn't get us any greater devolution, for instance, but it did get us a categorical end to Trident (which is supposed to be renewed in the next parliament) would you take that? As someone who's campaigned against nuclear weapons in the UK for decades I'd have to say Yes.

      Policy absolutely matters - it's not just about what's going to get us independence, if the SNP can make a real difference here and leverage Labour in the right direction then why shouldn't we take that chance? The alternative would be a bit like saying we should keep Trident just because it gives us a better argument for independence, which is putting the cart before the horse to put it mildly.

      Delete
    2. I take your point. However I don't personally take the view that anything less than Independence is not worth having. I think that 30 years ago the correct solution to the "SNP problem" was a federal state. But that wasn't on offer. I did not vote For devolution, but spoiled the ballot paper because Holyrood was not the right solution. I started out the Yes campaign as a heart yes/head no, but by the day - and since - was one of the disciples. I am now convinced that the best thing for Scotland is Independence. However I will accept the 2nd choice which we were promised - a federal state - for now. Problem is, I don't think they can let us have that solution. We are too valuable to them as a milk cow. We have been conned. They will try to con us again. We have to be prepared for the worst.

      Delete
    3. I think that 30 years ago the correct solution to the "SNP problem" was a federal state.

      What on earth makes you think that? After all, devolution didn't exactly "kill nationalism stone dead" (To use George Robertson's term of phrase), so what makes you think that a federal state would have been any different in that regard?

      Delete
  18. On the back of my promotion of a UK wide 'Progressive Alliance' with Plaid and the Greens. I really do think the way to go is a joint manifesto with a full programme for government. That way the SNP increase their bargaining power by not precluding a coalition role but moreover allows London Labour to simply engage the possibility of this as a viable option which is saleable to the good people of England.
    Stuart

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Now whichever party is in power at waste monster after May, the problem is not going to go away. The UK is in a staggering amount of debt. Tax revenues are not growing, and whichever electoral outcome arises the hands of any government are necessarily tied.

    Without any shadow of a doubt we should have voted Yes, but the daft, the gullible, the bigoted and the feart decided to keep us chained to the Titanic."

    The first paragraph is spot on,

    The second paragrpah is just bizarre when you consider what effect the collapse of RBS would have meant for an independent Scotland.

    Of course, Salmond was a cheerleader for the disastrous expansion of RBS under Fred Goodwin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RBS collapsed several years before the referendum. One of the arguments which gained traction was that RBS would have to move its HQ to London post independence. Those are EU rules. An independent Scotland would not have been in the frame for that one at all.

      Incidentally, had Barclays won ABN Amro instead of RBS then it would have been RBS that survived unscathed and Fred would have been hailed as saviour of the world rather than a pariah.

      Delete
  20. Since Scotland would only have been liable for a tiny proportion of the RBS bail-out I fail to see why you think it would prevent Scotland being independent.

    Which labour racist do you work for?

    ReplyDelete
  21. WeSaidNoToYesMen :-)December 7, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Did nicola authorise Alex to state the SNP would not enter a coalition with the tories? Who's really the head of the SNP hmmm :-) Nicky will be pure boiling

    Like it or not the SNP will have two branches, and the one with the "leader" in is the one no-one will pay any attention to. Tricky. I can see infighting ahead ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Begone crap troll.

      Nicola has long since said the same thing.

      Delete
    2. WeSaidNoToYesMen :-)December 7, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      No, nicola only says the SNP refuses to enter a coalition with the tories because Alex told her to, its been SNP policy for years, she's just copying him, therefore he's clearly still in charge.

      Delete
    3. WeSaidNoToYesMen : If you're thinking of driving tonight, please remember the limit has been reduced.

      Delete
    4. Listen, if you want to make the unionists look bad by posting idiotic rubbish in the guise of attacks on the SNP, this isn't the place to do it. Find a unionist website and post the silly stuff there, where others will see it. Didn't you read the cybernat manual when you signed up?

      Delete
    5. WeSaidNoToYesMen :-)December 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      There are plenty anti-separatists that come to this website so it's important that we refute this site's message so that no-one else falls to the nationalist message.

      Delete
    6. "refute" does not mean the same thing as "deny". Did you know that?

      Delete