The Scottish National Party are set to strangle Labour’s efforts in Scotland in May. However, as Lord Ashcroft’s poll suggests Labour still have a chance of winning the next General Election. The Scottish Nationals are now starting to sound bullish, as their support has exploded since the referendum defeat. Nevertheless, while their support may be exploding there are limits to what can and cannot be achieved. Having almost fifty seats in Parliament is a prospect which I am sure Nicola Sturgeon dreams about, that is however, likely to be as good as it ever gets without independence. Not only this, but many voters will not be happy if, come May 8th, the SNP having totalled 0 votes in England have a significant say in government policy.
The Scottish Nationals are preparing for a begging Ed Miliband, a man who will make Oliver seem like a confident, brash young man when asking for more. Ed will merely be asking what do you want, and he may just give them exactly what they want in return for a deal which gives guides him into Number 10. The alternative would most likely see Ed out of leadership after an easily forgotten time in charge. The SNP have argued they want many things from a partnership with Labour. They want to get rid of trident. This may seem like good policy to some, however, there are problems. Decommissioning trident costs a lot of money, so much so that the short term savings of the 2 billion pound a year programme are likely to be ineffective. The call for an end to austerity with a demand for a £180 billion spending package also shows ambitions for a party who demands to be heard.
If the SNP gets their way, it could ultimately be the beginning of the end for the Union. It isn’t inconceivable that voters in England will revolt at the idea of a purely Scottish party having significant power in Westminster. It could easily create a constitutional crisis. The constitutional reforms laid out by the Conservatives haven’t reached royal assent, which would make the West Lothian question even more pressing if a Labour/SNP government came to be. This would suit the SNP as independence is their end game, and this would almost certainly speed up the breakup of the Union.
The referendum inflated the SNP’s base instead of dealing it a catastrophic blow after the failure of their ultimate aim which is Scottish independence. Is this a short term effect which will wear off or is it the beginning of the end of Labour’s presence in Scotland? Jim Murphy’s attempt at saving the ship from sinking looks doomed already. Labour, being the only party competitive in Scotland for so long, seems to have forgotten how to win votes. The rot has set in and they don’t seem to be able to reverse it. A lacklustre platform which makes them look like an SNP light party doesn’t inspire voters to come back, and neither does appealing to them to give them a majority. So what will entice them to come back? Maybe give the voters what they seek; a genuine Scottish alternative and Scottish party. Jim Murphy a talented politician is now leading Scottish Labour and he won’t be a doormat. That is a start, but with little else on offer the SNP are riding high and look to be the new dominant ruler of Scotland.
By Sam Mace, Senior Writer for Daily Political View.