Friday, May 20, 2016

How might an SNP-Labour pact work in advance of the next UK general election?

The furious reaction of Dunc "don't call me Dunc" Hothersall is probably sufficient to tell you that Keiran Pedley may be on to something in suggesting that, because Labour's only hope of regaining power at UK level depends on a deal with the SNP, it would be better to conclude that deal in advance of a general election and then sell it to the English people.  Nothing's inevitable, of course, as the bogus claims of "absolute certainty" about the result of this month's Holyrood election proves.  I can just about imagine a scenario in which Labour might return to being competitive in Scotland by 2020 - it would depend on the constitutional issue fading from people's minds, and on Jeremy Corbyn being replaced by a charismatic leader who looks set to sweep the hated Tories from office.  In those circumstances, the Scottish electorate's priorities might change.  But the overwhelming likelihood is that one of three things will happen -

1) Corbyn will remain leader.

2) Corbyn will be replaced by someone of like mind, such as John McDonnell (who admittedly is more charismatic, but is still regarded as unelectable in England).

3) Corbyn will be replaced by a bland, uninspiring identikit centrist politician in the mould of Ed Miliband or Andy Burnham.

If that's the case, Pedley is surely right in saying that the game's a bogey for Labour in Scotland.  But what intrigues me - and what Pedley doesn't address - is the electoral consequences of any deal.  If we're talking about a formal pre-election Labour-SNP pact to keep the Tories out, how could the two parties justify putting up candidates against each other?  Labour in particular would find it very difficult to pitch for votes in seats that are already held by the SNP - which is virtually every seat in Scotland.  Logic would therefore seem to dictate that they should practically sit out the election north of the border.

Ironically, that would probably benefit only the Tories.  The former Labour heartlands are highly likely to vote SNP anyway, and the absence of Labour candidates would simply lead to bigger majorities in seats that were never in doubt.  But in heavily No-voting areas like the Borders and the rural north-east, the SNP could arguably do with Labour opposition to help split the unionist vote and keep the Tories out.

If an anti-Tory pact isn't going to prove counterproductive, the details are going to need some careful thought.

25 comments:

  1. This probably explains why Ruth Davidson tweeted about the article and why she was so keen on an SNP/Lab pact happening.

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  2. Has anybody asked the rank and file of the SNP what they think of this idea? I'm an SNP member and I wouldn't touch that toxic bunch of toerags with a bargepole

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  3. The tweet exchanges were all quite interesting becuase they were mostly from English Labour people who were trying to very pragmatic about the situation, much to Duncan's horror.

    The best thing UK labour can do is cut Scottish Labour adrift to fend for itself and then rebrand as an English Labour Party.

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  4. I'll believe it when John McTernan says it will never work and rules out the idea of it even being attempted.

    I think it would be a big enough turnaround for Labour if they agreed publicly that they would work with the SNP to keep the Tories out of Westminster in 2020 (should that be possible from a numerical standpoint). I don't see them going as far as not standing candidates in Scotland—they'll do it as long as the Tories and Lib Dems do it.

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  5. Separate Scottish Labour from English & Welsh Labour. SNP can fight SLab for Scottish seats and EWLab can coalitionificate with the winners. EWLab would be boosted by separation from the incoherent SNPBad spitemongers, and SLab would be completely and freely autonomous and might just find its feet and purpose again.

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  6. teeth in the glassMay 20, 2016 at 11:15 PM

    "If an anti-Tory pact isn't going to prove counterproductive, the details are going to need some careful thought."
    No thought needed. As someone who has experience of slime ball labour union shop stewards and councillors I will terminate my SNP membership immediately if there is any deals with Labour.

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    1. I think that could be a bit short-sighted. It's a deal that might effectively put an end to the Scottish Labour party.

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    2. Obviously, the pact would only apply to UK General Elections. Labour would still be free to contest Holyrood and councils.

      I think it's a reasonable deal - it's a no-brainer that the SNP would make delivery of Home Rule a condition of that deal. If we end up in a position where their votes are essential to a minority Labour government taking power in 2020/5, then Labour would finally has no choice but to deliver on its historical pledge.

      The question is how would Scottish Labour react if this happens? No matter what, the proportional lists' results suggests the Labour brand is guaranteed to keep at least a dozen MSPs in office for decades.

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    3. I wish people would stop using the term "Scottish Labour Party". It doesn't exist. It is the Scottish accounting unit of the UK Labour party.

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    4. "No matter what, the proportional lists' results suggests the Labour brand is guaranteed to keep at least a dozen MSPs in office for decades."

      That's not necessarily true. It's only really been in the last 12-18 months that Scottish Labour have started to look like a complete irrelevance. People are still adjusting to that new reality, and it remains to be seen what impact it will have on the rump Labour support. Those voters might eventually start to consider other options.

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    5. The complications around Scottish Labour's status as a party are part of the issue, but don't make the mistake of thinking that it isn't a faction of some kind. It's simply one which's become irrelevant to UK Labour.

      I understand SLab may still have further to fall, but I'm basing the "dozen" figure on the Tories' historical lows.

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    6. I don't think labour central would ever be able to swing it's MPs round to supporting an SNP/labour pact. Just look at their MPs in Westminster and how they behave towards SNP. And labour here won't lie down either. A labour/Tory pact is more likely. An interesting aside. The Tories were 'high fiving' each other at the count when Jackie Baillie won by under 200 votes. Unionism isn't going to lie down.

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    7. I wish people would stop using the term "Scottish Labour Party". It doesn't exist. It is the Scottish accounting unit of the UK Labour party.

      Don't accounting units exist?

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  7. The guy who's tweet started this all off, Keiran Pedley, said that in his opinion labour had to concentrate getting back into power by winning in England.

    This would utterly destroy the Scottish Labour Party Red Tories, and is already causing Duncan Horse%^&*&^ to make some very anti-Londoner comments.

    I wouldn't want the SNP to help Labour back into power, but I do hope they string them along just enough to cause further divisions between London Labour and Scotland's Red Tories.

    One things for sure, the Labour Party in England, has lost confidence in the Red Tories, and will not be putting a whole lot of finance up this way, so that people like Dunc, John Ruddy, Ian Smart can piss it all up against a wall (in electoral terms) by insulting and denigrating the very people that they are being financed to win back to Labour.

    If we can see it, people like Owen Jones and Keiran Pedley will also see it.

    Popcorn at the ready! :-)

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  8. James Kelly

    I notice you refer to the conservatives as the 'hated tories' Has anyone told you that the conservatives polled the largest number of votes in GE15 and they polled more than half million votes in the Scottish election?
    I know plenty of people who have a poor opinion of the SNP but they do realise that they have a huge amount of support in Scotland and that the SNP must be doing something right.

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    1. For the avoidance of doubt, I'm only suggesting that the Tories are hated by most of the 77% of the electorate who DIDN'T vote for them.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2May 24, 2016 at 12:45 AM

      I voted Labour and suggest the Nat si party disband in disgrace for continually adop toe ing Scot Goes Pop Thaterite policies. Och Aye .

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    3. 23 strikes again with his plastic Weegie patter. McTernan must be so proud.

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    4. Are the SNP hated by the 53% of the country who didn't vote for them, James?

      Aldo

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  9. The tories will win up to 10 seats in Scotland and enough in the rest of the country to give them a large overall majority - maybe even a landslide majority. Any talk of Labour and SNP alliances (especially a Corbyn-SNP alliance) will lead to pretty much everyone south of the border and with more than 10 bob in the bank voting conservative.

    Aldo

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    1. Comedy gold...

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    2. Comedy gold would be Corbyn and Wee Nippy trying to run the UK.

      Aldo

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    3. Not half as funny as Boris running the UK... into the ground.

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    4. At least Boris is a capitalist and a unionist. But he wont get anywhere near No. 10 - not after ballsing up the Brexit campaign.

      Aldo

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    5. Of course, there's always the grim horror of Gideon running the country. Nothing funny there.

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