We realise that while all the polls still have Alex Salmond’s party a long way in front, and the First Minister himself still enjoys record approval ratings for a leader midway through his second term of office, it’s a little early to be calling the result of the 2016 Scottish Parliament vote at this stage.
But then, we’re not the ones doing it. (And it’s not the SNP either.)
Last night we were sent a document by a disgruntled Labour Party member. It was a preview of a leaflet “United With Labour” will be handing out this coming weekend, and it was a bit odd in more ways than one. (Click to enlarge.)
Now, we’ve covered the absurdly obvious and ham-fisted hypocrisy of this particular campaigning angle several times before. Labour are trying to claim that the SNP’s proposed 3p reduction in the rate of Corporation Tax is a “right-wing” outrage against ordinary working people, which would be much more convincing if Gordon Brown hadn’t reduced the tax by FIVE percentage points the last time Labour were in power.
Now, it’s one thing to do that in an election campaign. But it’s a little bit weird to use it in a referendum, because the referendum won’t set the rate of Corporation Tax. If Scotland votes Yes next year, it won’t actually become independent before the 2016 election. So the only way a Yes vote could bring about a Corporation Tax cut is if the outcome of that election is a foregone conclusion.
It’s not just Labour, either. In an earlier post today we quoted the Telegraph describing opposition “fury” at the Scottish Government’s launch plans for the independence White Paper, during which the Tories’ business manager John Lamont wailed:
“This latest stunt shows nothing but contempt and disrespect towards the parliamentary process and is a chilling glimpse of how a separate Scotland would be run.”
Is it? Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of his assessment in its own right, wouldn’t that only be the case if the SNP had a majority again, meaning it had won another massive landslide? Mr Lamont appears to be discounting any other possibility.
We must admit, based on the performance of the Tories, Lib Dems and (especially) Labour in opposition, we currently find it pretty hard to picture any party other than the SNP winning the 2016 election too. But it’s still two and a half years away, and an awful lot can happen in politics in that space of time. It seems a little premature for the Unionist parties to be conceding already.