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, accordin
g 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.



  1. I don't know about some of that Tris.

    When you say that these MPs can form a block, and ensure that "No major cuts to the block grants for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland" is this really for the best?

    I like to think of myself as an honest person, and given that the financial services sector in Edinburgh and the economic culture of Scotland has significantly contributed to tthis rcession, and benefited from the public bailout-surely we must do our fair share of tightening the belt?

    While I accept we must ensure that Scotland does not become a soft option for spending cuts by Westminster, we must also accept with good gentlemanly grace our fair share of the burdens.

  2. I agree to a certain extent Dean, but we don't get consequentials under this government, and we should. It means that we are subsidising Olympics Games that are so far away that most of us will not be able to travel to enjoy them, and as spending cuts threaten our council-run sports facilities we won't get the bonus of increased sporting interest.

    We have to fight to make sure that our little, and relatively unimportant countries don't lose out. Labour don't give a stuff about Scotland because they "own it", and the Tories know they are never going to be BIG here....

    I don't want better than the English get Dean, but I want more say. Remember, when they DO give us consequentials it is because THEY have decided that THEY need something extra and they give US some money to compensate. When WE decide WE need something extra WE have to pay for it ourselves. The Welsh and the Irish are the same.

  3. I don't accept that the Tories don't care about Scotland. Our history has always shown that Scotland matters to Conservative successes.

    More than half of Thatchers first majority in 1979 were made up of Scottish Tory constituency MPs, and I GAURANTEE YOU that any majority Cameron has shall be less than the number of Tory MPs he shall recieve [I reckon between 4-8]

    And finally EVER TORY cares deeply for Scotland, as Disraeli once said in Edinburgh "If we are not a national Party, then we are nothing". I shall always hold that particular quotation close to my heart.

  4. Wello, maybe they do Dean, but with 59 MPs, well under 1/10 of the total number, we are not a huge consideration electorally, or in terms of push in the Westminster assembly.

    If all the warring factions of Scotland pulled together (like that would ever happen; Labour would rather sink Scotland than co-operate with the SNP)it wouldn't make the slightest difference. England would vote us down 10-1.

    Now I'm not saying that is wrong. We are a tiny country with half the population of their capital. Of course they pay little attention to us.

    But this is a chance for us to make a difference in cooperation with our Welsh and possibly Irish colleagues.

  5. Well I accept and agree that hung parliaments can be useful things, for all sorts of reasons.

    Reform can be one of them, as it constitutes an incredibly rare chance to hold one of the two major Parties to random so to speak on such issues.

    However, as for the number of Scottish MPs, if you are saying there aren't enough of them you do have the act of union to support you! [It had promised us no less than 70 at all times I think]..

    but at the end of the day I do find it horribly tasteless to refer to a hung parliament, with a jittery market and a horrific fiscal projection on our national GDP debt, as an opportunity to "hang Westminster" by a Scottish rope.

    I find it the same kind of extreme language that always makes me deeply uncomfortable when listening to Lilley sing his "I have a little list" tune [1992].

    Moderation in all things.

  6. I'd go along with that.

    But then I'd never make a politician.... I'm far too nice!

  7. " ... given that the financial services sector in Edinburgh and the economic culture of Scotland has significantly contributed to tthis rcession, and benefited from the public bailout-surely we must do our fair share of tightening the belt?"

    Yer haverin! "The economic culture of Scotland?" Scotland's people are of a socialist bent and have no truck with predatory capitalism. A transnational corporation operating under UK rules screwed themselves and it's our problem? That a transnational corporation is bailed out by a corporate friendly London based party is somehow the responsibility of the entire Scottish population and they have to take the pain???

    Gie me a brek!

  8. Another view:

  9. Thanks for that Scunnert. A good read there. I'm really surprised at the Dutch government's attitude to this. British governments are bullies, I understand and expect that. They think they are important, after all they get to have telephone calls with the White House, and most of the Presidents (but not this one) seem to like the Brit PMs (God knows why: with the possible exception of John Major every one I've ever "known" has been utterly repugnant). I thought the Dutch were more sensible.

    It seems that the faults in the matters concerning Icesave were that of the EU or UK regulators. They had to be regulated within the EU, or its member countries, by their regulators. Of course we all know that the regulators in the UK were quite literally probably “out to lunch”. An obscene amount of money was being made and the regulators were living high on the hay. They couldn’t see (because Newcastle was in the North.... and rather working class) what was going on in Northern Rock so why on earth would they want to look in to something that was going on in a cold little country even farther North. Goodness, if it was uncultured in Newcastle, what on earth would it be like in Reykjavik?

    Yeah the Icelandic authorities, as the writers say, have to take the blame for what was going on in their country, but not for what was going on in the greed stricken UK, or Holland, which seems to have been similarly afflicted.

    I say the Icelanders should not pay. It could cause a country, built on a very fragile base in a volcanic rock in the North Atlantic to bankrupt completely.

    Take them to court Reykjavik. They’ll back down. They are cowards and second rate ones at that. They are only good for dancing in the shadows cast by the American President. And take courage: this American President probably won’t back them.