Presumably the intention is to appeal over the heads of parliamentarians by presenting May to the public as a plucky John Major-style underdog, building on the apparently spontaneous comments that have been made in surprising quarters along the lines of "you know what, whatever you may think of her politics, you have to admire her stoicism". Hmmm. Quite honestly, this is a Prime Minister who has sought to deny our country its democratic rights, and for my money there are no personal qualities that can really mitigate that. I struggle to see much appeal in her personality anyway. But it doesn't matter what I think. The question is whether the public will be impressed by the propaganda effort, and they just might. If so, it's possible that the Mail could, by helping to prolong May's tenure, be unwittingly putting the SNP into a position of greater influence.
It was suggested the other day that "senior DUP sources" were saying that the confidence-and-supply deal was effectively dead until and unless Theresa May is removed as Tory leader. If that's true (and admittedly it's an "if"), the government no longer has a majority and Britain reverts to having a hung parliament in every sense of the term. The SNP thus become by far the largest of several parties that hold the balance of power between them. That doesn't make them as powerful as they would be if there was a centre-left majority available, but nevertheless their 35 votes do suddenly matter - as we saw from Kenny Farquharson's hapless attempts to 'shame' Nicola Sturgeon into propping up May's government.
She won't do that, of course. It would be political insanity to bail out a Tory Prime Minister in return for absolutely nothing. But here's the thing: Theresa May has made the choice to offer nothing. Few mainstream media commentators seem to have considered this point, but May could solve her seemingly impossible problem at a stroke by simply offering the SNP a generous enough trade. It wouldn't even necessarily have to be a Section 30 order if that's so politically unthinkable - alternatives would be to reverse the power-grab and devolve substantial new powers, or to extend the Northern Ireland arrangement to Scotland. The SNP are rational actors - they'd probably let the May blueprint pass for England (which voted for Brexit, after all) as long as Scotland is properly protected.
It probably won't happen, if only because May is the most pig-headed PM in post-war history. But make no mistake, if she gets to the point where there is no other way to save her own skin, the arithmetic makes it a theoretical possibility. And that's a mark of the SNP's increased power now that the DUP have seemingly abandoned May.
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It's clear that the political crisis is shifting public opinion - Labour have surged into a GB-wide lead in new polls from Opinium and ComRes. It remains to be seen what is happening in Scotland, but it's at least mildly encouraging that the SNP's share of the GB vote has increased in the Opinium poll from 4% to 5%. By contrast, the ComRes subsample for Scotland has the SNP in a very typical 36% to 26% lead over the Tories.
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