Friday, 2 July 2010


Jeff Breslin has an interesting piece over at SNP Tactical Voting on the possible outcomes of the next Scottish General Election. His piece is knowledgeable and researched, based on fact and intelligent conjecture arising from these facts.

My thoughts are that the result may come down to how well the SNP can get across the fact that their failure to deliver on manifesto promises (LIT, Referendum, SFT, Minimum Pricing, etc) was entirely down to their being a minority government with opposition which was united in its desire to see the SNP fail. (Local income tax, for example, would have saved pensioners and low paid workers a lifestyle-changing amount of money and might well have been a huge incentive for the 2012 voter, and we will be paying for PFI till we die.)

It’s a question of communications.

It will be important for the SNP to make this clear. It’s not a party political point; it’s not a point of view. It’s just the truth. It depends how intelligently the Scottish voting public responds to that.

We have had three plus years of minority government, which has worked to prove that the SNP are not the “basket cases” that they were portrayed as. They have successfully administered the country in a devolved situation, and so by extrapolation may be considered to be capable taking our nation back to independence.

Jeff rightly says that there are two parties in contention. But he also points out that other parties can have a considerable effect on the outcome. The Tories are bound to lose votes because of the English government’s harsh policies, and the Liberals will surely be doubly hit by the fact that they too have been involved in this, and by the fact that it does seem to be that if you vote Liberal, you surely won’t get Liberal, but they will help whoever offers them the best Cabinet seats!

Their loss of votes will have to go somewhere. They are up for grabs. Not huge sections of the vote, but enough to make a difference given the slender “majority” held by the current government.

Jeff analyses the “Gray” effect, because after all Gray and the Noble and Rt Hon Baron McConnell, the Farm Boy (it’s good to associate yourself with the farm yard when you are about to take your seat in the House of Lords), are two very different kettles of fish. Whatever you think of their politics, Jack is immediately charismatic and Iain is.... well.....aptly named.

Given the arrangement of Labour’s prop (when in government in Scotland) with a certain other group of politicians in London, which may or may not still be in place, what are the chances of Tavish being allowed to go into government with Iain Gray’s Labour? Slim, I’d have thought. Oh yes, they are busy talking about all kinds of autonomy for the parties in Scotland, but they won’t have anything sorted by the time campaigning begins....

So not only do we have the Iain Gray effect, we also have the Iain Gray in minority government effect. I’d make two points on this which may or may not be associated. Firstly minority government takes a great deal of political skill, nous, patience and intelligence. Secondly, Labour send their “best” people to London.

So, it’s all to play for.... but just a thought: would it be too bad for the SNP to have another 4 years in opposition, having proved their ability to run a credible government under the most difficult of circumstances?

I think not.


  1. My thoughts are that the result may come down to how well the SNP can get across the fact that their failure to deliver on manifesto promises...

    That's always going to be difficult when the SNP has no supporters in the media.

    At least this time the SNP can't be shoved off into a dark cupboard while Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems get to be centre stage and centre podium.

    I saw Alex on the TV last night saying that next time they are going to go legal a lot quicker when the next set of, "Prime Ministerial", debates are proposed.

    Stop the whole debate in its tracks with an interdict and then negotiate is a much better solution. The SNP made a big mistake last time in thinking that reasonableness and appealing for fairness would get them anything more than sand kicked in their face.

  2. Watching FMQ's this week it seems that Labour are already into election mode. The only way the SNP can pick up Lib/Con votes is by playing to the centre and leaving Labour to keep the left wing vote. That would be a mistake. The SNP have to break Labour's hold over Glasgow to win Scotland.

  3. The 'REAL' Westminster parliament where the real 'BREAD AND BUTTER' issues are decided have due to the World banking crisis.

    Taken center stage in the UK leaving Holyrood as a small and limited debating chamber to resolve some small local regional issues.

    whereas the 'REAL' Parliament can have some influence within the EU and throughout the Globe....

    The snp as Guardians of a long lost and ignoble cause are doomed to fade back into obscurity as a footnote in a dusty history book(which may be read in a thousand years from now or possibly not)

    The snp was a coalition dedicated to the proposition that Scotland should be a free Independent Nation....

    accepting the Primacy of the Westminster Parliament and colluding in its over-lordship has fatally weakened the notion of the scots being a more prosperous and Democratic nation once Independence was achieved.

    the very act of accepting the role of a minority Government under Westminster rule has shown the paucity of the nationalist(snp) arguments and the benefits(safety) of being within the Union......

    And the people to thank for this revelation are none other than the snp under Alex Salmond

    there is nothing left to play for the game is over over and the snp have lost

  4. Well Doug, I'm glad to see they will be a bit more aggressive in their approach to the election to come. Gentlemen (and Ladies) they may be, but when you're dealing with pub brawlers sometime you just have to get your sleeves rolled up.

  5. Scunnert: Yes, they have to break the Glasgow Labour stronghold, and that's a really hard one the the BBC and the Daily Retard on Labour's side. It irks me to see that I have to pay a licence fee to Labour's publicity machine with their lip curling hatred of the SNP.

    25% off police, 25% the courts environment, education....etc.... when are we going to see the BBC's licence fee reduced by 25%. Come on Graham Norton and Bruce Forsythe are rich enough now.

  6. Well Niko... I doubt if most people would consider Health, Education, Finance, Treansport, Farming and Fisheries and sundry other matters to be small local issues.

    Of course, if all that matters to you is kissing ass with Mr Obama and being seen close to Mr Hu or King Abdullah, and starting wars all over the place and killing people and blowing up their cities and leaving them homeless and limbless, and without electricity, food or sufficient medical supplies, and then claiming it all as a victory.... then yeah, Westminster is your place.

    Btw... how is Tony getting on with Mr Chilcotts latest revelations.....?

  7. Let’s not count the Lib Dems out just yet. It may seem impossible for them to enter a coalition with Labour in Scotland while being in one with the Tories in England. But it’s not. They may very well prove that they have more front than Blackpool and do just that.

  8. The SNP do better in opposition in my opinion. They want a root and branch change of the Scottish constitutional settlement, that is not easy to campaign for while taking part in the status quo. The SNP ought to concentrate now on growing the desire for independence in a Tory run Britain. Implementing cuts for the Tories is not really something that SNP should be diverting itself with. Let Iain Gray have his moment in the limelight and prove (as the SNP have already done) that he can govern effectively.

  9. good news for the SNPJuly 03, 2010 11:05 am

    I think that holding the referendum on the new voting system on the same day as our Holyrood election will be to the SNPs' advantage. Anything to confuse the sheep who vote Labour decade after decade is a good thing. SNP voters are more tuned to the political scene and take more time reading the voting papers. Did you notice the number of spoiled papers at the last election ? Or the number of Labour voters who got 'socialist' Labour mixed up with 'real' labour candidates etc ? I'm sure this is why Labour are going flat out on the postal ballots. It would bypass their numpty voters and take away the difficult decision of where to put their cross. Postal votes shouldn't be available to people who are healthy and in the country and perfectly capable of struggling a few streets to the voting booths.

  10. Munguin:

    I entirely agree. Both your posts are right. There is no doubt that people in politics have brass necks and many (although not all) would sell these principles for the chance to be semi important for a little while.

    I think it was incredibly important for the SNP to have an opportunity to prove that, not only would the earth not explode if the SNP ran the administration, but that, in fact, many things would improve.

    They have had that opportunity and things did improve. If the opposition parties hadn't been so petty over so much they would have improved more.

    But it’s hard to run the country for all the people, which is what this administration has done, AND be radical and push for independence. We’ve proved we would have ministers capable and more than capable of running the country and I for one would not be broken hearted if they returned ot opposition. Sometimes you can more your cause further forwards from opposition than you can from government.

    Iain Gray for First Minister though? I might have problems with that. We all might.

  11. Hi Good News:

    Yes.... you have a point.

    Many of the “traditional” England –based parties’ voters, are simply “habitual voters”.

    I wouldn’t dream of commenting on their political astuteness but, I’d say there was certainly a tendency for the SNP voters to be more politically aware. Voting SNP is less likely to be a family habit than a vote of conviction.

    So yep, the SNP voters will be more likely to be clued up o n what is happening, while many traditional party voters, voting out of habit and sense of responsibility that they have to, rather than any interest in politics, will find to their surprise when they get into the station, that there are 3 elections going on.

    It’s a sad reflection on our education that this will throw so many for six.

    The referendum however, is not the referendum I want to see, and frankly, I don’t think it is worth “squat”. Firstly, the system on offer isn’t a PR system at all, secondly Labour and the Tories will campaign against it and thirdly, even if it goes through it won’t be used for 10 years.

    Erm... and the Liberals have been subsumed into the Tory Party for THAT?