Thursday, 4 March 2010
If we all pull together..... then maybe, just maybe.....
According to the Caledonian Mercury, senior SNP figures have been involved in discussions with other smaller UK parties about how they will deal with the possibility of a hung parliament. They are understood to have had talks with Welsh Nationalists and may have similar contact with unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland.
The aim is to form an informal block of MPs to push for concessions for their countries from one of the two English based parties in return for keeping them in power.
No party alone would be able to influence government in this way, however as a loose coalition, the smaller parties could have a sizeable number of MPs, certainly big enough to influence policy, given a close match between number of Tories and Labour MPs.
According to recent opinion polls a hung parliament a hung parliament remains a distinct possibility and the smaller parties wish to seize the opportunity for some power in Westminster where normally they have absolutely none.
It has always been the policy of the SNP not to involve themselves in any way with matters that do not affect the people of Scotland and therefore any formal coalition with any UK party would be impossible, but a ‘Celtic block’ pushing for concessions on issues relevant to them all would be well within their remit.
It is thought, according to the Mercury, that some of the items on the shopping list might include:
Securing millions in extra funding in areas which the parties should be covered by the Barnett Formula, but which are not, likely spending increases as a result of the London Olympics and money for English prisons;
No major cuts to the block grants for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
Transferring new powers to Holyrood over airguns, drink-driving and speeding limits, areas which could be devolved without any major revisions to the Scotland Act;
A commitment to enhanced powers for the Scottish Parliament in the next Westminster parliamentary session.
It seems to me to be an admirable idea. Anything that brings more independence to the Scottish people will get my vote. There is a great deal that is still unequal.
I hope that the English population will protest strongly against the aspects of the current settlement that is unfair to them... like Labour’s Scottish MPs voting on all-English matters, which should be banned immediately.