One of the great mysteries of modern life is how the self-styled hot-shot "risk assessor" Neil Edward Lovatt ever gets any actual work done for his employer Scottish Friendly, given that he seems to spend his entire waking existence on Twitter making the same five or six tedious points over and over and over again. Yesterday afternoon, he was banging the rest of humanity over the head with the following claims -
1) The SNP will be powerless after the general election no matter how many seats they win, because they will have nowhere else to go but to vote for a Queen's Speech put forward by Miliband, even in the absence of concessions. If they did anything else, they would be crucified in the subsequent general election.
2) Every vote for the SNP makes a Cameron government more likely.
Those two claims are, of course, utterly irreconcilable. If we already know for a fact that the SNP will back a Queen's Speech put forward by Labour, there is no way that replacing any Scottish Labour MP with an SNP MP can possibly make a Tory government more likely, because either way you would still have an MP who will vote in favour of Miliband becoming PM. Unless of course...
That's right. Unless of course we never get to the point of having a vote on a Labour Queen's Speech, because Labour are so terrified of being seen to "work with the SNP" that they would abstain on a Tory Queen's Speech, and allow Cameron to remain in power.
Alex Salmond moved things on yesterday by making explicit what was already implicit - namely that the SNP would vote against a Tory Queen's Speech, regardless of whether the Tories are the largest or second largest party in the Commons. Labour have signally failed to give the same commitment, and indeed the inescapable logic of their constant claims that "the largest party gets to form a government" is that they would let Cameron stay in power if the Tories were the largest single party. Anything else just wouldn't be cricket, what?
Until Labour make an unequivocal pledge to vote down a Tory Queen's Speech regardless of circumstances, the conclusion is obvious - a vote for the SNP is definitely a vote against Tory rule, but a vote for Labour might not be. Is it worth the risk? Perhaps a "risk assessor" could tell us...