The attacks on the possibility of an SNP/labour deal continue. Of course it also does tend to suggest that the Tories are engaging in this bout of negative campaigning because they have nothing positive to say about their own policies…unless you think it would be positive to have to endure five more years of austerity, failing public services, more tax cuts to the wealthy and an EU referendum that might destabilise the country? :no:
Instead, and no doubt this policy is driven by the results of focus groups, they prefer to tap into a rich seam of anti-Scottish racism amongst some in England. In essence, its like an election for class president where the campaign message is: don’t vote for Ed, he’s friends with Alex and Nicola and they smell!
However there is also a glaring hypocrisy here. While the Tories are quick to stoke up fear of the SNP holding the country to ransom, they are ignoring the fact that its likely to be impossible for them to get in alone, likely leading to a Tory coalition with UKIP and probably the DUP (the Ulster Unionists) as well. This does raise the risk of the DUP (a group of ultra conservatives who are the sort who think listening to disco music is a temptation too far |-|) holding the Tories to ransom on a whole manner of issues, as they seek to gain a bigger share of the pie for Northern Ireland.
And there is history here. Least we forget, part of what sparked the troubles in NI was the fact the Heath government was supportive of its allies the Ulster unionists. Thus when the largely Protestant police forces turned on the Catholic civil rights movement, Heath sat on his hands, leading to a tit for tat escalation that eventually became a full blown insurgency. And there is a deep irony to John Major’s comments regarding the SNP (he must be getting senile in his old age), given that in the failing months of his regime, his government (thanks to defections and rebellious MP’s) was basically propped up by the Unionists. This led to a stalling of the NI peace process, that was only rescued by his defeat in the subsequent election.
So there is good reason to argue that a DUP and Tory alliance would be not in the best interest of the rUK. And while the NI government lurches from one crisis to another, the SNP have actually made a descend job of running Scotland. Why else do you think, despite the referendum loss, so many are voting for them? Its because many north of the border have realised that so long as you tune out whenever the SNP start going on about independence, or Culloden, or the clearances, Mary Queen of Scots :lalala:, they haven’t done a bad job.
And then there’s the UKIP factor, its likely looking at the numbers, the Tories will need the support of both and still only have a tiny majority of a few votes. However with such a wafer thin majority they will run the risk that if only a handful of MP’s going rogue will threaten their hold on power at any vote. Given the nature of how UKIP works, this means they’ll be strutting around Westminster like the lords of the manor, demanding all sorts of things, all too aware that the narrow majority by which the Tories will be holding power allows them to do this.
Take for example, the latest outburst from Farage. As punishment to the Beeb for him making a tit of himself in last week’s debate, he wants the license fee cut by 2/3’s. Can you imagine if he was in government and these sort of dictates were being issued on a weekly basis? Or UKIP/DUP MP’s demanding, like the Tea Party in the US, all sorts of crazy things (cuts to anything with the word gay or environment in it, massive pork barrel spending in their district, etc.).
Furthermore, while UKIP and the DUP might seem like good bed fellows, I suspect they’ll fall out pretty quickly. Particularly once the DUP work out that the consequences of Brexit and the loss of the open border to Ireland means that it will become impossible for the current peace process to continue and impossible for the NI economy to compete with an Irish euro economy with cheaper goods, lower taxes yet a higher GDP. In short the DUP will face the choice of whether they want to become Irish, or move to Scotland….and become Scottish when they break away! (again a likely consequence of Brexit). Already there’s tension between UKIP and the DUP, so its difficult to see any government containing both parties going the full term.
By contrast, labour should, if they get sufficient seats, be in a much stronger position. Add up all the votes for the left leaning parties and they’ll likely have a comfortable majority. In theory they won’t need to form any coalition, but could rely on a minority government approach as, even if the SNP were to go rogue (which they won’t), they would still get enough votes from the remaining parties of the left, to get their way on virtually every issue, other than perhaps Trident for example (of course they could rely on the Tories for that, same as the Tories relied on labour after the lib dems ruled out voting for that).
I would assume that labour would have the good sense to sit down with either the SNP or lib dems. Then agree a formal coalition (and I think we can ignore Miliband’s promises not to deal with the SNP as it was a promise extracted under false pretences) or an informal arrangement (we’ll pass bill X and Y from you’re manifesto if you support Z and W from ours). And again, the point of such an arrangement would be to ensure they aren’t clinging to power (as likely will be the Tories if they get in) by a handful of votes. They’ll have enough of a majority to see off any sizeable rebellion by either the SNP or the smaller left wing parties.
By contrast, what the Tories seem to be offering is a hodge-podge coalition cobbled together from closet racist, ultra conservatives and the very swivel eyed loons Cameron was complaining about a last year.