In a bid to upgrade myself in Euan McColm's mind from "idiot" to "f***ing idiot", I thought I'd take a quick look at his latest Scotland on Sunday column. As you know, I do accept that there's a grain of truth in his notion that the SNP would find itself to the right of a Corbyn-led Labour party (assuming Labour holds together after a Corbyn win, which is doubtful), and that this would at times be uncomfortable and disadvantageous. But his contention that the SNP are a centrist, Blairite party posing as left-wing, and that Corbyn would expose the fiction, is absurd.
Let's just run through some of McColm's specific examples...
1) 'The SNP are centrist because they're opposed to tuition fees, and that's a middle-class preoccupation.' But Corbyn is opposed to tuition fees as well, whereas Blair introduced them in the first place. You were saying, Euan?
2) 'The SNP are centrist because they would slash corporation tax.' The last time I checked, that policy had been abandoned. Unless you have psychic foreknowledge that it is going to be reintroduced, I can only assume that's a bit of a fib, Euan?
3) 'Corbyn is likely to raises taxes on the better-off, but the SNP have refused to use Holyrood's tax-varying powers.' Holyrood's tax-varying power is on the basic rate of income tax only - there's no option for singling out the better-off. More extensive powers are on their way, but they haven't arrived yet. Again, unless you've got psychic foreknowledge that the SNP will choose not to use the new powers when they do arrive, I'm not quite sure what your point is?
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If Labour follow Eric Joyce's advice and withdraw their peers from the House of Lords next year, what would the Tories be forced to do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They would just find it much easier to get their legislation through. As things stand, the Lords is likely to be the more problematic chamber for the government over the next five years (they're way short of a majority there), but a Labour boycott would solve that problem at a stroke. Even if Corbyn becomes leader and adopts the SNP practice of refusing to nominate new peers, that would be mildly helpful to Cameron in resolving his arithmetical challenge.
From a Scottish point of view, there are two ways of getting rid of the Lords. The first is independence, and the second is a UK government committed to abolishing the upper house, or making it elected. The idea that there is a third option of depriving it of legitimacy and then shaming a Tory government into abolishing it is a total non-starter. You can't delegitimise an institution that never had any democratic legitimacy in the first place. It's less than twenty years since all the hereditary peers were still in place, which gave the Tories an obscene and permanent numerical advantage over all other parties combined. Did that lack of legitimacy trouble their consciences? Not in the slightest.