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The lesser of evils

Posted on November 18, 2014 by

Ever since Nicola Sturgeon announced on Saturday that the SNP would never put the Tories in government, various mainstream political pundits have shown an alarming level of inability to grasp the concept of someone who cannot possibly become Prime Minister declaring their preference out of those who can.


Perhaps we’re being a bit unkind, as this isn’t a regular feature of British politics – usually we only hear the leaders of the two main parties telling us why they’re the best for the job, with the Liberal Democrat candidate comically trying to pretend that they stand a chance of being Prime Minister – but it does highlight the extraordinarily parochial nature of political debate in the UK media.

Because anyone who cares to cast a glance across the continent will see that such scenarios are not just common, but often an integral part of politics across Europe.

Take the 2011 Danish elections, for example. Denmark has an eight-party system, but just like in the UK, there are only really two realistic candidates for the post of Statsminister. But rather than the leaders of parties like the Social Liberals or Social People’s party “doing a Nick Clegg” and embarrassingly talking about what they would do when they became Statsminister, these parties declared in advance of the election that they would be supporting the leader of the Social Democrats, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, as Statsminister.

Fans of the country’s cult political TV drama Borgen will remember such scenarios from the show, and perhaps one Borgen fan paid more attention than most.

Moving north to Norway, we can see a situation which is very similar to what Sturgeon proposes. In the 2009 election, Lars Sponheim, of the Liberal Party, stated unequivocally that his party preferred the Labour incumbent Jens Stoltenberg over the Progress Party’s Siv Jensen, and that they would neither support nor be part of any coalition which included the Progress Party – the similarities with Sturgeon’s pronouncements on Saturday are obvious.

In Sweden, things even went a step further than usual in 2004, when the four centre-right opposition parties formed the “Alliance for Sweden” in order to break the Social Democrats’ domination of Swedish politics. They presented a joint manifesto in the 2006 election (along with their own individual ones) and went on to win the election. Such was their success that the Social Democrats, Left party and Greens combined to form a short-lived opposing Red-Green alliance for the 2010 election (although they failed to win and the alliance was quickly disbanded.)

Outside of Scandinavia, it may be rarer to see the leader of a smaller party explicitly backing a preferred candidate out of the two main party leaders, but there’s often no need to. French governments generally consist of coalitions of “the left” or “the right” – nobody votes for the Greens or the PRG expecting them to put anyone but the leader of the Socialists in power.

In Germany, only the two main parties declare “Kanzlerkandidaten” (Chancellor candidates) – when Guido Westerwelle of the FDP (the German equivalent of the Liberal Democrats) declared himself his party’s Kanzlerkanidatur in advance of the 2002 election, he was widely mocked for doing so. Go to pretty much any country in Europe and the picture is the same, because these countries are used to permanent coalition politics, and thus the concept of smaller parties – explicitly or implicitly – choosing a preference out of the two main parties.

Of course, unlike the UK these countries have proportional voting systems which don’t penalise people for voting for parties other than the incumbent or the main challenger, thus giving smaller parties a much bigger voice. A sizeable number of leftist parliamentarians can ensure a government dominated by a centre-left party remains anchored to the left, and doesn’t drift too far to the centre.

In Scotland’s case the SNP can never form the government because they only stand in roughly a tenth of UK Parliamentary seats, but a sizeable number of pro-independence MPs can ensure that Scotland doesn’t fall off the radar, with the UK government’s arm constantly being tugged to remind them that we still exist. In the event of a hung parliament, that arm-tugging can become very forceful indeed.

This is what Nicola Sturgeon proposes, and it’s a sign that she’s performing the role she’s just been given – that of the leader of a mature European political party. Unfortunately, that maturity is apparently not mirrored by our media, so what should be seen as a pragmatic decision, based on an honest appraisal of the situation we’re in, is instead described as “confusing” and “mixed messages”, with professional political pundits apparently unable to grasp what’s being said.

And if they’re incapable of understanding such a simple situation, perhaps it’s their insight rather than Nicola Sturgeon’s that ought to come into question.


FOOTNOTE: Germany’s 2013 election led to a grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and SDP, when Merkel’s CDU was five seats short of a majority but could not count on the support of their usual coalition partners the FDP, who were completely annihilated. The Greens gave up on coalition talks, and a CDU coalition with the far-left Die Linke was unthinkable, so Germany’s two biggest partners combined to form a government with 71% of the total seats.

Could a complete Lib Dem wipeout – combined with the SNP making the cancellation of Trident a red-line issue – herald a grand Unionist coalition to ensure nukes keep floating on the Clyde? Given how comfortably the two parties allied in “Better Together”, at this stage we wouldn’t rule anything out.

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113 to “The lesser of evils”

  1. Mat says:

    Your question in the footnote? All too likely. As Scottish Skier said a few days ago on Scotgoespop:

    It is about exerting what small influence we can. SNP kingmakers? LOL. Have people learned nothing? The Tories and Labour will unite against the SNP if needed (and against UKIP too). This will be particularly the case if Labour no longer care about getting Scottish MPs following Scotland kicking them out.

    All our MPs can do is hope to exploit divisions between the big parties to the home rule advantage of Scotland, while the SNP etc wait for an opportunity to commit to a new iref in Holyrood.

  2. Peter says:

    I think the media know exactly what has been said, they are just continuing their pro Unionist mantra after the referendum. Rubbish anything said by pro Independence parties, no matter how sensible or considered it is.

  3. Nantonos says:

    Assuming for the moment that your basic massage is simply and self-evidently true for anyone except MSM journalists, I’d like to chime in on an apparent axiom:

    “In Scotland’s case the SNP can never form the government because they only stand in roughly a tenth of UK Parliamentary seats”

    Obviously, right. Except that the SNP is one of the few offering a genuinely progressive political option which is, at the same time, actually practical. (Scottish Greens also, I would argue, but on a narrower range of issues).

    So what, apart from the name stops them fielding candidates with basically the same progressive agenda in Wales, Northern Ireland and England (especially in the North and Midlands). Because those places are also not well served with genuine alternatives.

  4. Alt Clut says:

    Apropos of your last comment Stu – and wouldn’t that be the perfect basis on which to finish off SLAB and demonstrate how INDEPENDENT thinking Scotland is ?

  5. Craig Dalzell says:

    Sub question: If the event of a Labour Tory “Grand Coalition” did come to pass, would it be portrayed as “Westminster unites against Scotland”?

    I realise that we’re hypothecating on a hypothetical here but that’s a scenario that would certainly fall into the category of “Interesting Times”.

  6. Tamson says:

    I think that if we have a hung Parliament with a large SNP group, a Lab/Con coalition is very, very possible. UK democracy is just for show.

  7. Dcanmore says:

    Scotland is a colony, is treated like a colony, and with that it has a pretend media with the sole purpose driven by London-based organisations to deflect, obfuscate and ultimately ignore the issues that need examining in behalf of the population.

    In short we’re treated like idiots by the grandees of dead political parties and their acolytes in their press departments laughably called the Scottish media.

  8. Devorgilla says:

    If the Labour Party are wiped out or severely weakened in Scotland then Labour might reasonably conclude that it has nothing further to lose from an alliance with the Tories to keep out the SNP and UKIP. In fact it has much to gain, since the basis of its support is now ‘Middle England’ and a unionist alliance with the Tories would reassure Middle England that it is sensible about economics.

  9. Clootie says:

    A Tory/Labour coalition
    Osborne with his deputy Balls
    Cameron with deputy PM Miliband

    All to keep nukes on the Clyde.

    …I feel sick!

  10. Devorgilla says:

    I have been worrying for some time about the implications of a Labour wipeout in Scotland, because what it will mean is that the two main UK parties will have even less regard or interest in Scotland since they would have no electoral hopes there. This is especially true if Labour realises that it could still win UK elections without the 40 seats it currently has north of the border.

    Of course, let’s not make a problem out of what is more of an opportunity, but it’s a scenario that requires some strategic thinking about what the SNP/Yes movement should do if entirely sidelined and ignored at Westminster, despite winning a substantial number of seats.

  11. Doug Daniel says:

    These countries also all manage to have televised election debates with the full gamut of party leaders, even if that means having eight people on at once. The UK media really is stuck in the dark ages.

  12. Dcanmore says:

    For some time now I’ve been wondering about a Tory/Labour coalition to keep out certain upstarts from gaining any political advantage. Imagine Westminster as a fortress that needs defending and the reward was gaining/retaining power. I think if both the blue and red Tory parties feel their hegemony is about to be shattered because of heavy influence from UKIP or SNP numbers then I think a grand coalition between Cameron and Miliband is quite possible. It will also destroy any remaining credibility for Labour, Westminster and FPTP politics.

  13. Swami Backverandah says:

    Re your last point, I believe Craig Murray also entertained the possibility of a Grand Coalition.
    In any good political analysis, all possibilities will be scrutinised, but if Labour gets into bed with Tories again, they can kiss their UK wide sorry arses goodbye.
    They’d have to be mad, and could quite possibly be.

  14. clachangowk says:

    In the case of a Tory/Lab coalition, would not the SNP as possibly the largest remaining Party become the official Opposition. FM questions would certainly be interesting as the SNP leader would only raise questions of relevance to Scotland

  15. David S Briggs says:

    A LabCon Coalition would lead to the future annihilation of The Labour Part from UK politics.

    Would this be a good thing? ………..perhaps not, but it would be oh so satisfying.

    Such a coalition is inconceivable.

  16. Cath says:

    I think that if we have a hung Parliament with a large SNP group, a Lab/Con coalition is very, very possible

    I agree. In this scenario a Lab-Tory alliance to keep the SNP from wielding power seems most likely, and would almost certainly find favour from the same types who applauded them working together in Better Together.

    The deep irony is that the only thing I can see which would make this politically impossible would be if UKIP also had a good showing. In that scenario, people in England would howl about an establishment coalition to keep the two essentially rejected FPTP parties in power and keep out the smaller, “less establishment” parties. If it’s just the SNP being kept out, those same people won’t bother and may well support it.

  17. Robert Kerr says:


    Now you’re thinking outside the nine dots!

    What’s not to like?

  18. Devorgilla says:

    My instinct is that in the scenario I outline, being ignored at Westminster despite winning a substantial number of seats, is that the Scottish Government should try to build international support for an independent Scotland, highlighting how we are effectively a colony, and misgoverned. Build support at the UN and EU in particular, whilst reassuring NATO we will remain allies – even if we want to maintain our non-nuclear position. As Canada, Norway, and NZ do. For instance we could highlight the importance of the listening station at Machrahanish and the need for a Scottish air force to protect the oil wells (Russian jets have been entering our airspace recently) and point out how defective are UK maritime security measures in our strategic territory. As has been said on a previous thread, Trident ‘is no bloody use’ for policing our coastline, which is 85% of the coastline of the UK.

  19. Betty Boop says:

    Nicola (and, obviously, the party behind her) are a canny lot. She is lobbing more than a few grenades into UK politics. Love it!

    I don’t really get the Lab/Con scenario for the next election. To me, it looks more like Con and UKIP in the driving seat, which really just means ultra right wing Cons. UKIP is only a splinter Con party, there for a purpose.

    In other words, if it is a hung parliament, it won’t be for long and I doubt we will be looking at a pact with Lab. Hey, though, what do I know?

  20. Graeme Purves says:

    In the Latvian election in July, the leaders of Unity, the Union of Greens and Farmers and National Alliance ruled out coalition with the pro-Putin “Harmony Party”.

  21. Mike says:

    I agree with Tamson. The UK political establishment will unite against any threat to its very existence and it wouldn’t be difficult for them to do so. There would be no major political shift in ideals or dogma were the Con tories and Labour tories to join together in internal coalition per Parliamentary vote in order to prevent the smaller parties from exerting any influence on the major issues at all.
    The Cons and Labour are only in opposition for show they don’t really oppose each other on any mainstream ideal anymore.
    Parties like the SNP will never make any headway within Westminster even if the win every Scottish seat.
    Without Independence Scotland will not change from where we are now.

  22. Doug Daniel says:

    Cath: “The deep irony is that the only thing I can see which would make this politically impossible would be if UKIP also had a good showing. In that scenario, people in England would howl about an establishment coalition to keep the two essentially rejected FPTP parties in power and keep out the smaller, “less establishment” parties. If it’s just the SNP being kept out, those same people won’t bother and may well support it.”

    I’ve got to be honest, I absolutely relish the idea of the SNP installing a Labour government despite England voting for the Tories. Maybe they’d finally understand what we mean by “democratic deficit”.

  23. think again says:

    The enemy of my enemy is my coalition partner, as Ed and Dave toss a coin for PM and Deputy. Far fetched of course – just like the SNP holding the balance of power was – say forty years ago, but look at us now.

    There is no mixed message, there is no confusion in saying we will not, under any circumstances, support a Tory government, why would we, why should we, how could we?

  24. Lemon says:

    Even though I love the idea of a Lab / Tory grand coalition, with the SNP as Het Majesty’s official Opposition, Cameron would not enter it as his right wing MPs would defect to UKIP.
    I suppose he could keep them on side with a EU referendum in 2017 but once that had taken place they would defect
    on-mass to UKIP.

  25. Tony Little says:

    @David S Briggs: “such a coalition is inconceivable”

    Is it? Are not the Labour and Conservatives already in coalition at local level simply to ensure that the SNP (as largest council party) are denied control? Why not on the “bigger” stage?

    It may not happen, but I think it is far from inconceivable.

  26. Lollysmum says:

    @ Alt Clut -definitely

    @ Craig D -if that happened Scotland would never ever let WM forget it & would hasten the next indyref

    @ Tamson -yes democracy is for show-thats why they panicked when such a high % of people registered to vote. Despite all their rhetoric about voter participation, that is the last thing WM wants. Voters are supposed to be passive, supine & trusting the big yins know what’s best for us all. Scotland is quite rapidly abusing them of that idea.

  27. Jim Mitchell says:

    I wouldn’t rule it out! they might claim that it is some kind of National Emergency and therefore time for a coalition government.

    if you consider that Nicola has already made things difficult for Labour as well as the Tories because there is no way they (Labour) could concede to her demands as that would be seen as the tail wagging the dog, can you imagine how the Tories would portray this south of the border, the snp, probably with their Plaid friends, dictating British national or should that be international policy.

    Both Labour and Tories would rather join up with UKIP!

  28. Craig P says:

    In the case of a Tory/Lab coalition, would not the SNP as possibly the largest remaining Party become the official Opposition. FM questions would certainly be interesting as the SNP leader would only raise questions of relevance to Scotland

    I’d LOL my arse off 🙂

  29. galamcennalath says:

    And, let’s not forget the UKIP challenge on the Con right.

    We could see the middle ground (right of centre in reality) at WM occupied by a ConLab coalition and being squeezed from the left/centre by the SNP and from the right by UKIP.

  30. alexicon says:

    I don’t know if would be a good thing either to put the Labour party in charge after what they did in 1997 and all the recessions they have caused.
    I do wish NS, SNP, and some of us supporters wouldn’t be so confident at this stage about winning x amount of seats.
    We do know how the press like to build up the SNP to a certain expectation, then when that expectation isn’t reached lambast them for failing.
    Steady as we go and please no predictions.

  31. Helena Brown says:

    I would say that the Tories would welcome Labour into their clutches and Labour being truly stupid would jump at the chance. Even watching the Liberals in their death embrace did nothing to warn them. This would not only destroy their credibility in Scotland it would finish the job in England. Those people in Northern England who are just as bad as the ones up here who would elect a Chimp with a Red Rosette would be left devastated.
    What’s not to like.

  32. galamcennalath says:

    Clootie says:
    “…I feel sick!”

    yes, the more I consider a ConLab coalition the worse it looks!

    They would forget any serious EU pull out nonsense. While this might mean defections from Con to UKIP, the main ConLab alliance would remain stable. A bastion of Middle England and colonial rule in Scotland. Forget any serious DevoNext.

    No EU referendum ends our best excuse for IndyRef2, sadly.

  33. Helena Brown says:

    Alexicon, I doubt any of us in the SNP who have been down this road a few times are taking anything for granted, but shall we say the membership is at an unprecedented level, there has to be an increased size of vote.

  34. Ken500 says:

    What’s wrong with No nuclear weapons in Scotland, a tax on ‘loss leading’ drink, a healthier population, a good NHS/Education system, taxes raised and spent in Scotland. A proud self assured Nation. Just like any other EU country.

  35. Brian Powell says:

    However, amid this speculation, polling for Cons plus UKIP puts them in Government.

  36. Stoker says:

    “Unfortunately, that maturity is not mirrored by our media…..
    with professional political pundits apparently unable to grasp what is being said.”

    “And if they’re incapable of understanding such a simple situation, perhaps it’s
    their insight rather than Nicola Sturgeon’s that ought to come into question.”

    Unable or unwilling? Probably both.

    “Could a complete Lib Dem wipeout herald a grand Unionist
    coalition to ensure nukes keep floating on the Clyde?”

    I firmly believe that these arrangements have already long since been discussed, covering all the various scenarios, and agreements reached between the 3 main Unionist parties behind closed doors at Westminster.

    And if not, you can bet your last they soon will be.

  37. Doug Daniel says:

    “I don’t know if would be a good thing either to put the Labour party in charge after what they did in 1997 and all the recessions they have caused.”

    Well, the whole premise of the article is that one of them has to be in charge, so it’s a case of choosing the lesser of two evils.

    At least with Labour, the SNP can call their bluff on some issues that the Tories don’t even pretend to care about.

  38. The abive scenario might mean Lab party in Scotland might shift their alliegence to Scot rather than WM & at next Iref tell people to vote yes. Interesting times ahead.

  39. Norrie Hunter says:

    The BBC would never give us the news from Europe it is too enlightening. Everyday they give us nothing but Tory this or Labour that on their bulletins. This gives the lie that all Europe is bad and Britain has it’s unique system.

  40. Free Scotland says:

    If anyone could make a case for labour climbing back into bed with the tories, surely it would be Jim “I-love-nukes” Murphy, the Red, whispering tory.

  41. caz-m says:

    Would anyone notice anything different if the Labour Party merged with the Tory Party. If Labour are the eventual winners in the May 2015 GE, Scotland will still get hammered, it makes NO difference to Scotland who is in power at Westminster.

    Red Tories, Blue Tories.
    Red Millionaires, Blue Millionaires.

    Take your pick.

    The same thing is starting to happen in the USA. The electorate have finally caught on that the Republicans are no different to the Democrats. Similar things happening in other parts of the world.

    The Scottish Referendum seems to have given the world a wake up call.

  42. Cadogan Enright says:

    The Irish experience is a good guide as to how influential a National group of MPs can be if they concentrate on their own countries needs at Westminster.

    From the 1830’s under O’Connell a growing group of Irish MP’s used their frequent position as holding the balance of power to reform government in the UK to Irelands interest. Breaking the power of the big landlords/aristocracy, extending the franchise to ever larger number of people, ensuring that voters could vote in secret, ensuring elections could not be bought, ending slavery and discrimination against Jews and a raft of liberal legislation that transformed governance in the UK but gave Irish MP’s more power and influence with the aim of ultimately achieving Home Rule.

    This all combined to ensure that more of their supporters could vote, and vote for them, so by 1885 under Parnell and later Redmond they were able to return 80 MPs. With this power they were able to bring several Land Reform bills (something Scotland desperately needs more than 100 years later) and 2 Home Rule Bills that were blocked by the Lords. (There was also a long history of Irish Parliamentary leaders being demonized and false scandals being orchestrated by the London press).

    Following 2 elections in 1910 they were able to force the reform of the House of Lords and remove its blocking power to only a 2 year delay and introduced the Third Home Rule Bill.

    The Torys encouraged the Uniionists to arm themselves with German guns, and the Army mutinied against the Home Rule Bill in 1913 but Home Rule was passed but delayed until after WW1 which was supposed to be over by Christmas.

    There is little doubt that coordinated Parliamentary action by Irish MP’s would have delivered home rule and later independence like Canada after WW1 if Irish Republicans had not rebelled in 1916, launched the war of independence and created a cross-party alliance at the 1918 election under the banner of Sinn Fein to win most of the Irish MP seats.

    That being said, the most effective tactic during the war of independence was the actions of the mass of Irish MP’s who refused to go to London and set up their own parliament in Dublin. Britain could have won the war militarily – but could not win politically – so gave up and satisfied itself with carving out a small sectarian state.

  43. Kenny says:

    That is why we have UKIP — so the Tories can go into coalition with them.

    There would be a Lab/Con coalition at the drop of a hat, if the alternative was relying on the SNP. I have said all along they would use WWII rhetoric about a “national government”, “Dunkirk spirit” and probably try to make out the SNP were the nazis here wanting to split up the beloved empire, so that Britannia “would no longer rule the waves”.

    But that would let the cat out the bag that the whole red-pill/blue-pill system is a sham. Hence UKIP, so that there can be a semblance of two-party system.

    Never forget, Labour would rather be in opposition in UK than in power in Scotland. Wasn’t Broon’s dissertation a history of the Labour Party? A sham document it must be if it did not detail exactly when and how it was co-opted by the establishment (must have begun around the 1920s).

    Make no mistake, we already live in a country which has a Lab/Con alliance. They have just managed to avoid formalising it for now — I can see many examples, maybe I should approach Channel 4 and ask them if they want to do a documentary on this very important subject…

  44. crisiscult says:

    I think if you have a look at social media output from Britnats, then the ‘grand coalition’ or at least tactical anti Yes voting is very plausible: even more so if Rightwing, popular with Tory voters, Murphy becomes branch office leader. The key to exploiting that risky approach from the Britnat parties must surely be how we counter the MSM, as usual. Ordinary voters, voting on their old-school basis, will need access to information showing them that Right and Left, Blue and Red, are really votes for the same policies – for the same types of people.

  45. Barontorc says:

    If democracy in the UK is such a farce, it’s time for a good purge and to my mind the SNP is setting about doing just that. How the UK Establishment then reacts will be not one whit different from the propaganda circus we’ve already experienced up to the referendum closing stages.

    Labour and Conservative are already so indistinguishable in their policies and pursuit of same that it would be an easy PR sell to Joe Public through the disgracefully corrupt media and a BBC already in place and waiting to do whatever is bid.

    Murphy and Darling are perfect examples of the ‘acceptable Labour’ implants being cultivated by the Lab/Con-Establishment to take over Scotland, how that’s to be done in all of England will already have been worked out and as far as democratic justice is concerned the game’s already well and truly up.

    So what has Scotland got to lose by going for a total SNP landslide, in as much as the propaganda/fear campaign will fraudulently permit.

    The SNP are bang on the money to be honest and crystal clear of their intentions – the Scottish people will respect that at least.

  46. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The most significant factor in all of this is that Nicola Sturgeon has pointed out that we do not need the UK’s (or England’s) permission to have a referendum so they can make up whatever coalitions they like.

    Obviously a referendum held with joint support and agreement (which we just had) is best for all concerned but that experience was rendered unpleasant and in my mind invalid by the dishonest behaviour of the Better Together campaign (and I don’t believe the result).
    So if they think playing silly buggers with coalitions against Scotland will be meekly accepted they have another think coming.

  47. heedtracker says:

    It’s both depressing and exciting to think what Scotland could now be progressing towards if we’d voted YES. TeamGB’s a deeply class divided parochial debt shackled dump really, ruled by red/blue Tory boy troughing MP’s and lords for life, and our ghastly BBC/media of course. Look at the endless fraud that is the City of London, the core of UKOK economics bled by lawless upper class parasites. Latest teamGB triumph of unfettered greed? There’s been no social housing built for decades so it’s up to private developers to throw up their overpriced garbage estates, as Westminster pumps borrowed billions into their pointless war machine.

  48. liz says:

    If Lab did go into a coalition with the cons, not only would they be finished in Scotland but also in the North of England and Wales.

    So I say in the words of Wendy, brain the size of a planet – bring it on.

  49. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    the Bloc Quebecois was the official opposition for some years in Ottawa.

    from Wiki.

    In 1993, the Reform Party challenged whether the Quebec sovereigntist Bloc Québécois could hold the position of official opposition. The Speaker ruled in favour of the Bloc, as they held two more seats than Reform. During the Bloc’s time as the official opposition, Quebec issues on national unity dominated Question Period, often to the irritation of the other opposition parties (indeed, Reform was the only other caucus that met official party status, with the NDP and PC parties falling short of that threshold). However, Reform was considered to be main opposition to the Liberals on all other issues that were not specific to Quebec. In 1995, when Bloc leader Lucien Bouchard’s position as Opposition Leader granted him a meeting with visiting US President Bill Clinton, Reform leader Preston Manning was also given a meeting with Clinton in order to diffuse Bouchard’s separatist leverage.[4]

  50. Macca73 says:

    Nobody in England would even consider a Con/Labour alliance due to the fact that the’ve seen them fight accross the dispatch box for so long.

    My only fear is that Nicola’s “We will never put the tories in power” speech might stil end up with them trying with UKIP and the SNP might not be able to form a government with Labour to keep them out given that Trident is on the table and won’t come off.

    I’d hate people think well I voted on them based on this and look what’s happened! Some are too short sighted to see that.

  51. James says:

    The SNP could provide a very positive influence for both Scotland, socialism (if they really believe in it) and UK democracy by going in to a coalition with Labour and bending it to the left. Sturgeon however has already “nuked” that option with her demand on Trident. This suggests she does not want to be a positive addition to a coalition she just wants to play the game of indyref2

  52. handclapping says:

    I’m with Cadogan on this. We should look to the Irish at Westminster to see how to go in the case of a “National” Government.

    Anybody who still thinks of Labour being a peoples party should look at the effect of the 1930’s National Government on the Liberal Party to see the future for Labour from a repeat of “National” government

  53. handclapping says:

    Why should the SNP do anything for the benefit of the Labour Party?

  54. wingman 2020 says:

    @James… If the SNP went into a coalition with Labour it would hurt them. I for one would not vote for SNP again. Thats as bad as Labour aligning with the Tories.

  55. Kenny Campbell says:

    When the two main parties in Germany formed the alliance it was a shoe in that UK would follow given lack of divergence in policy between Labour and Tories.

    Its not about policy, its about power…..

  56. wingman 2020 says:

    Good analysis in the Spectator

    “Scotland is a demonstration of what can happen when a nationalist party moves to the left. The worry for Labour is that Ukip could be undergoing the same transformation. Ukip has, since its foundation, been far more of a problem for the Tories than Labour: it was a libertarian, Euro-sceptic splinter from the Tory party, after all. Its one MP used to be a Tory, it draws more votes from the Tories than any other party and it is almost certain to win a second seat from them in the Rochester by-election next week.

    But Ukip is changing rapidly. It is no longer a libertarian party. Instead, it now opposes efficiency savings in the National Health Service, the US-EU free trade deal and the so-called bedroom tax. These positions are combined with the most popular policy on voters’ biggest concern, immigration. If Ukip continues on this journey, it will become a serious threat to Labour in its heartlands in the urban north. Indeed, in the recent Heywood and Middleton by-election, Ukip cut Labour’s majority from almost 6,000 to a mere 617.

    As if these problems were not enough, Labour finds itself trying to straddle the growing divide between London and the rest of the country. Half the Labour membership lives in the capital and the importance of this has been radically increased by Miliband moving the party to a one member, one vote franchise for leadership elections. But London MPs only make up 17 per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party. This wouldn’t be a problem if London and the rest of the country thought alike. But on immigration the capital takes a radically different view to the rest of the country. Polling by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory in 2011 showed that less than half of Londoners — 46 per cent — favour reducing immigration, while the figure is 70 per cent in the north and 75 per cent in the Midlands and Wales. It is hard to see how Labour can please both its London members and its voters elsewhere in the country on this crucial issue.

  57. Fred says:

    A word of sympathy for Alex Salmond. Just as royalty are stalked by the odious Witchell much to their chagrin. Alex’s footsteps are dogged by his self-appointed biographer, one Torrance, a hack in the employ of the Herald. This light-weight twat described Alex on the wireless this morning as a “ferocious bully”. “Suits you sir”. 🙂

  58. James says:

    If they don’t make the “no Trident” demand then they are electable as a true alternative to SLAB, and can quash the “vote SNP get Tories argument”.
    By making the “no Trident” demand they could help the Tories in to power if the grand coalition needed to prevent it is Lab, Lib & SNP (which seems entirely possible).
    Keeping quiet on Trident would get more SNP seats at Westminster but perhaps that is not the actual aim.

  59. Alan Findlay says:

    The capitalist system is in crisis(even Cameron agrees; red lights) More to the point Neil Findlay is now mouthing SNP policy. He must be aware he no longer has a Labour future. Is it not conceivable that he now openly advocates Scottish Labour in alliance with SNP, so splitting UK Labour. Been thinking about 1931 and Ramsay McDonald of late

  60. Doug Daniel says:

    James: “By making the “no Trident” demand they could help the Tories in to power if the grand coalition needed to prevent it is Lab, Lib & SNP (which seems entirely possible).”

    The term “grand coalition” refers only to the situation of the two largest parties of (supposedly) differing ideologies combining to form the government. Labour and Tory in Westminster, SNP and Labour in Holyrood, etc.

    And if the Tories are put in power because Labour refuse to work with the SNP, that’s Labour’s fault, not the SNP’s.

    As for Sturgeon just playing games, how could the SNP – a party which has always opposed nuclear weapons – possibly back the renewal of Trident?

  61. Grouse Beater says:

    Documentary tomorrow evening on BBC Scotland on ‘Salmond the Rebel,’ among contributors the moronic and always way wrong-headed, David Torrance.

    His inclusion will be for ‘balance.’

  62. Macart says:

    No one ever accused our current meeja of being up to speed. In fact I’d say they’re falling behind the pace of both events and change rapidly 🙂

    Enjoyed the post Douglas.

  63. Luigi says:

    Ach, in the unlikely event of a hung parliament (and with the SNP holding a good hand as described), the red tories or blue tories (whichever had most seats) would simply form a minority government, and when it came to the Trident replacement vote, all the unionist parties would support it.

    We should know well by now that, when push comes to shove, the red tories and blue tories are, always and forever, better together.

  64. Macca73 says:

    Rochester could be the icing on the cake next week. A massive win for UKIP there and defection to the party from the Conservitives might be a real possibility. As has been pointed out, This is about protecting self interest and staying in power and if they can do that by winning votes with the public these crawlers will go anywhere to get it!

  65. Luigi says:

    The post 2010 GE debacle, and Gordzilla’s behaviour demonstrates that the Red Tories would never do a deal with the SNP, even if it means they lost the chance of power.

    For the Red Tories, protecting the union is a line in the sand issue. They will never budge.

  66. Angry Weegie says:

    It would be all too easy for Labour in opposition without a formal coalition to make sure the evil Natz didn’t get anything. They can just abstain on any pro-Scottish SNP motion. We’ve already seen them abstaining on the bedroom tax when raised by SNP/PC and the benefits cap when they didn’t want to appear soft on benefits. It won’t do them much harm in Scotland because “not voting for” pro-Scottish legislation is easier to defend than “voting against”, assuming, of course, that they still have seats in Scotland to defend.

  67. Luigi says:

    Grouse Beater says:

    18 November, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Documentary tomorrow evening on BBC Scotland on ‘Salmond the Rebel,’ among contributors the moronic and always way wrong-headed, David Torrance.

    His inclusion will be for ‘balance.’

    Why that “commentator” David Torrance gets so much air time is a great mystery. He has yet to say or write anything even remotely interesting or approaching reality.

  68. kininvie says:

    If there’s a hung parliament – or a very slim majority, it’s not impossible that we could see another ‘National Government’ – justified no doubt by a further economic crisis. That would no doubt bring splits in the main parties, but they’d be insufficiently serious to threaten the comfortable block of middle England MPs. Dissidents could be lambasted for working against the ‘National Interest’.

    See for the precedents.

  69. James says:

    I don’t think the SNP should back renewal or vote for it. Having read again what was said it seems that Sturgeon is saying no siting of a Trident replacement on Scottish soil, rather than immediately take steps to remove the Trident base, so perhaps there will be enough wriggle room in any coalition negotiations.

  70. Doug Daniel says:

    James – indeed, her point is simply that they would force Labour to cancel Trident.

    Of course, the MOD and others would actually quite like Trident’s replacement to be binned, since the money could be much better spent. If Labour had any brains, they would take this as an excuse to do just that.

    Big “if”, mind…

  71. AuldA says:

    As we say in French, it’s a matter of choosing between the plague and the cholera.

    Between a scourge and a harrow, if you want.

  72. ClanDonald says:

    The first thing Labour would want to achieve in a grand coalition would be to trade off any threats of EVEL legislation. The tories know they would be desparate and willing to pay a high price. Wonder how far they’d go? Wouldn’t be surprised if Labour agreed to full privatisation of NHS to see off the threat to them of EVEL. Party comes first after all, and nothing is more important than power.

  73. Lollysmum says:

    Personally, I believe that Nicola is firing shots across WM bows. She’s telling them that Scotland may have always been on the backfoot during indyref & having to always react put YES at a disadvantage. WoS commenters say this on a regular basis.

    Now she has changed tack & is being proactive-taking the game to the bullies & effectively saying-we have a mandate to do what’s best for Scotland-we’re now going to do just that! If you don’t like it-tough-we will be heard.

  74. Michael says:

    I don’t really think it matters who is in power at Westminster after GE15. They will all ignore Scotland and treat us the same way as they always have.

    It seems Nicola has a strategy, developed and planned in advance to outwit any Westminster government. The only issue will be is how long it will take the Scottish voter to wake up and see through the fog of vested interests put out by the BBC, Daily Record etc.

    Im sure Nicola has a plan to point out the facts at every opportunity, lets hope she is heard.

  75. chalks says:


    detailing the troughers one by one, what they have voted for, what they have voted against, what they haven’t turned up for


    Membership of certain groups

    Get my jist?

  76. Gavin Barrie (Jammach) says:

    I think a big unanswered question is, will any publication other than the Sunday Herald, come out on our side? The Daily Record must be getting badly stung by 14.5% YoY fall in Sales and it must be eyeing the Sunday Herald with envy.

    However, to get the facts out Nicola either needs to motivate the 85k SNP members in a *spectacular* way via social media, or find another Champion to reach those sheeple who still watch BBC, read the Daily Record and haven’t had their eyes fully opened yet … or are my worries groundless after the collapse of the Labour voting support?

  77. Macart says:


    “I don’t really think it matters who is in power at Westminster after GE15. They will all ignore Scotland and treat us the same way as they always have.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure on that.

    Consider how many major votes in the HoC are won or lost by a handful of votes. Now picture a voting block of twenty or thirty pro indy MPs, possibly led by Mr Salmond should he decide to carry on his career as an MP. I’d say that those numbers would focus Westminster’s attention somewhat and encourage them to play nice with the neighbours. It would certainly encourage a lot of furious horse trading.

    You can be damn sure they’d at least pause before trying to pull a fast one on the Scottish electorate. 😉

  78. Grizzle McPuss says:

    Considering the idea of a WM Lab / Con alliance with the sole premise to thwart the SNP (something I personally doubt not least given the still remaining ‘socialists’ in the English Labour heartlands; and not forgetting the foaming Home counties right-wing of the Con’s) , there is something being overlooked here…

    If the SNP end up with a significant number of WM MP’s, then naturally, it follows that a significant number of the Scottish electorate have indeed voted for them. Are we perhaps looking at an elected support for SNP pushing past 1.6M?

    It can also be assumed that those who comprised voting for the SNP in GE2015 have listened to the battle-cry and have (temporarily) dropped allegiance to their mother (Green, SSP etc) parties and voted tactically against unionist parties.

    Either I need more sleep and should start again tomorrow, or is there not a major singular democratic deficit of all Indy-colours that will rear its head, more than encountered before in any previous GE and/or independence vote?

    We are indeed starting to think civil unrest, perhaps via UDI, as I cannot fathom the idea of a blatant, insincere and hypocritical WM alliance / collusion being accepted by the Scot’s voting majority, merely as an arrangement to ‘keep out’ the democratic will of the Scot’s nation and its perceived meddlesome influence on the long established WM gravy boat.

    Tinkering of this magnitude would be a jack-boot on the throat of Scotland…and that would be more dictatorship than we have ever experienced. For me, there is a line…

    The imposition of Trident2, the continued grab of our revenues and the dependence on WM pocket-money funding in return, the increasing demoralisation of the poorer in our country… and all against the will of the majority of the Scot’s people? I cannot see that go unchallenged quietly.

    I’m personally starting to think that the sick, very sick thread running through the English Establishment would take a step too far in this sort of action, and we would see and hear dissent in all areas of the WM electorate.

    And yet, should I be surprised when the YouGov polls show that many a conservative voter would happily see Buffoon Johnston as their WM leader? (If we think Ed is bad…) If anything, that shows just how twisted the thinking is in some parts of this Union.

    I rest assured in the news reflected by the polls that show UKIP offers far more threat to the Establishment in England (where the WM outcome will naturally be decided).
    If anything, we will more than likely see a UKIP influenced Tory government, and that is the tune that will be more dominant in the WM arena. The Con’s will play their EVEL card, a proposal to suit the UKIP thinking Tory voter, along with a EU 2017 vote. And this played against a Labour stance (I jest) that leans so far towards the Tories that it just about makes WM Labour party a pointless entity.

    Will this solve the Scottish deficit if the predicted SNP WM MP numbers are returned?

    The answer is a naturally no…but fortunately as is the case under any scenario, the snowball of change is now running down the hill with both increasing size and momentum. WM better start thinking of making a path of safe passage.

  79. frazer allan whyte says:

    Sorry – I am coming late to the thread (I think that’s what it’s called)so it may already have been said: If Labour and the Tories form a government with no or only panda-level representation from Scotland then they are actually creating a de-facto condition of independence.

    With both the big parties having functionally irrelevant levels of representation in Scotland they are demonstrating the fact that – de facto – Scotland is no longer a part of the United(sic)Kingdom. The tension between “de jure” and “de facto” can resolve in only one direction.

  80. HandandShrimp says:

    I could see a grand centre coalition or some loose variant to ensure the uppity Jocks are kept in their place. For sure the right of the Tory Party might peel off and join UKIP but that might please the Ken Clarkes of the Conservatives. Might the left (what is left of it) likewise peel off and start something new? Perhaps. The rest would hardly notice which party they were in with the only tussle being who gets the plum jobs.

  81. bjsalba says:

    If you want to see how it is going to go in England, the Rochester and Strood by-election should be a harbinger of what is to come. I only listen to Radio 4 in the early morning (to keep tabs on what the latest BBC propaganda is)but what I heard this morning makes my blood run cold. According to the BBC, the Tories have pretty well given up on retaining the seat.

    I can understand that disgruntled Tory voters might vote UKIP, as the the UKIP candidate is ex-Tory MP. What scares me is that disgruntled Labour voters think that by voting for them it will give the other Westminster parties a good kicking! Why do they think that? Well it looks to me that UKIP has been specially funded by the City of London financial interests to appeal to the misinformed, supported ably by our ever so beloved MSM (the BBC). UKIP has picked an emotive issue – Immigrants – as a distraction to make the people forget real cause of their problems – the Credit Crunch – which was brought on by those self same financial interests.

    The markets are the ones who pushed companies into outsourcing more and more jobs and industries in pursuit of ever rising profits for the shareholders and gargantuan salaries for the top echelons. That wasn’t enough to fulfill the analysts unrealistic expectations so now they needed to cut the pay and conditions for all the remaining jobs.

    There is no-one around to tell them that – certaily not the BBC or the newspapers. Where is the English equivalent of the SNP and Wings? From the reception our FM got in Liverpool, I think at least some of the English electorate know the score.

  82. Michael says:


    I completely agree with you.

    What I meant was its up to the SNP/YES Alliance MP’s and Nicola to point out the failings of Westminster. It doesn’t matter who gets the overall majority or minority majority (if that makes sense), labour or Tory. They will do what they always do for Scotland…nothing.

    The tactics Nicola employs when dealing with either colour of Westminster parties may differ, but it seems to me she has a plan for whatever the outcome. The more MP’s we can return as SNP or a YES alliance the more power Scotland will have.

    Scottish Labour MP’s have wielded no power for a generation. Lets see what YES alliance MP’s can do for us.

  83. Doug Daniel says:

    Grizzle McPuss: “We are indeed starting to think civil unrest, perhaps via UDI”

    UDI is not going to happen. I dunno why people keep bringing it up, because no SNP MP or MSP would support it. They’ve all been quite clear that a second referendum is the way to go.

  84. Grouse Beater says:

    Luigi: He has yet to say or write anything even remotely interesting or approaching reality.

    I have a theory; call it a hunch.

    He moonlights for MI5. Sees it as a patriotic duty.

    Usefulness? His Edinburgh background and accent allows him to get close to subject matter, trustworthy to a greater extent than any London-based journalist. His ‘historian’ archivist label opens doors to record for posterity.

    E-mail or envelope with instructions – easier to destroy trace – once a month: the target, briefing suggesting various avenues of attack, indication of most desirable outcome. Told, ‘keep criticism light;’ flatter to deceive, pepper observations with compliments to give appearance of balanced view and throw suspicion.

    Diversion? Cultivate geeky, unsophisticaed image.

    In return, regular confidential reports together with copy of propaganda published (newspapers, television interview) and observations of SNP MSPs, meetings, policy disputes, accounts from other politicians met.

    Job benefits: Nice wee earner. Bank account – not in the UK.

    Just saying, like. (As they say on social websites.)

  85. Stoker says:

    Apologies if this has been covered already but its just far too
    good and hilarious to chance letting pass.

    Now, we all know how inept and inarticulate Ed Milipede is but
    here he is in the Torygraph being torn apart by a ‘pop singer’
    on the subject of the mansion tax. GAUN YERSEL MYLEENE.

  86. Vronsky says:

    The Tories manage just fine with practically no seats in Scotland, and I’m sure Labour are well aware that on the occasions when they have formed the WM government they could still have done so without Scottish votes. Historically the Scottish Labour presence at WM has been a fig-leaf to conceal UK contempt for Scotland – it allows us express our differentness in a harmless way.

    Labour may be starting to wonder if the cost of providing that fig-leaf is a bit too high. Faking socialist orgasm in Scotland while practising chaste toryism in England is a tricky game to play, like trying to remember which lies you told which mistress.

    The referendum result could be interpreted by Labour as a comforting signal that this fig-leaf is no longer required. The reach of the MSM and the BBC is such that no independence referendum could ever be won. So why not leave the SNP, Greens and Socialists carve up Scotland between the – who cares? The BBC will keep the sheep in the fold.

  87. Christian Schmidt says:

    In Germany all parties usually name their preferred coalition partners, others that would be acceptable if the results leaves little other options, and those that they would never work together with.

  88. Grizzle McPuss says:

    @Doug Daniel

    I agree re: UDI. If anything, many of us want the independence to be won on a clear majority mandate.

    But, with or without political backing, there are a good many ‘out there’ who would willingly shout “UDI” which is why I qualified UDI with “perhaps”.

    We’ve seen civil unrest previously when the establishment has gone too far in an un-democratic manner. As the emotive element increases in Scottish society, where do you think people will look to next for their ‘war-cry’?

  89. Grendel says:

    Given that the SNP don’t vote on issues which are already devolved, are we not over estimating just how much sway we are hoping to have?

  90. Macart says:


    Ah, I see where you’re coming from. 🙂

    The number though is going to be important. That block will need weight in order to command respect and negotiating wellie. There needs to be enough to ensure and secure Scottish electoral interests. Nicola is a very shrewd operator and I agree, the lady will have a set of tactics in mind already, but that number will decide how well those tactics work.

  91. Doug Daniel says:

    Grendel – but that’s just the thing, what if the SNP were to say to Labour “okay, we’ll back you in votes we would normally abstain from, but only if you stick to The Vow”?

  92. Doug Daniel says:

    Christian Schmidt: “In Germany all parties usually name their preferred coalition partners, others that would be acceptable if the results leaves little other options, and those that they would never work together with.”

    Out of interest, is the whole coalitions with Die Linke being unthinkable thing purely because the other parties don’t want to work with them, or is it a two-way thing and Die Linke are quite happy to remain as permanent opposition?

  93. Tamson says:


    If I was a leading thinker in the British Establishment, concerned about the decline of the Establishment parties and the possibility of a popular uprising via the ballot box, what would I do?

    Invent a populist Little Englander party to siphon off that protest vote. UKIP’s rise has been convenient, to say the least.

  94. Flower of Scotland says:


    There is a strange thing happening to me! I’m half English and have lots of English friends in the NO part of FIFE. I watch TV and feel that they are all foreign people on these networks. The Conservatives have one MP and I now look at Labour as an enemy! I’m arguing with my NO English friends and telling them that in MY country I will be truly aggrieved if they vote against Scotland’s wishes! Maybe it is time for, our Anglicised nation of Scotland, to stand up and be counted and tell these folk that we will not be happy with them if they vote for a Unionist Party! It’s hard because they think it’s all over! But as Alex Salmond said it’s NOT!

  95. Ulfisch says:

    I actually thought that the Trident demand by Sturgeon could be a Golden Bridge for Milliband. Economically its just complete madness to maintain/renew Trident. This way Millband could go into the election campaign pretending to want to keep Britains pride and afterwards could say “It wisnae me” when scrapping the whole lot.

  96. Lochside says:

    A lab-Con coalition exists already where Scotland is concerned. However, the big boys’ parties will not ever confirm publicly the unnatural aspect of their incestuous love affair with Westminster’s power-sharing pact.

    In the States, for generations Democrats and Republicans have mimed a democratic dance of deception. Buggins Capitalist buggers.

    Westminster has now finally caught up…with the two ugly twins taking turns to see who can occupy the right wing Neo-Con throne.

    The real threat..for them both is UKIP. It is capable of taking Northern Labour votes and Southern Tory votes. So the real deal will be who Farage fancies as his Bride of Frankenstein.

    The interesting aspect is that the Unionists double act has now dismissed the Scottish dimension and by definition, the SNP threat.

    They believe, correctly, that the msm in Scotland will keep the bombardment of disinformation up, and led by Murphy the Jocks’ threat will be nullified. The historical ‘back door’ to England pacified.

    I believe their arrogance and disdain for us is a Trojan horse that will let the SNP/YES alliance to win a landslide of seats and give NS the balance of power.

    Let’s carry on with that target in mind unobserved, and let them fight it out meantime.

  97. Iain says:

    Coalition between the Tories and the Red Tories? SNP as Betty’s official opposition, albeit grossly outnumbered by the BitterTogether Coalition?

  98. Hamish Budge says:

    I think a few SNP candidates fielded “down south” would provide an excellent alternative protest vote to challenge the current established parties. Worth a punt surely, any takers?

  99. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Grouse Beater (2.24)

    Re Torrance’s ‘mission’ –

    ‘Diversion? Cultivate geeky, unsophisticated image.’

    Yep. He’s maybe overdoing that one just a tad.

  100. yesindyref2 says:

    Who’s the clown what wrote this article? Ah, Doug Daniel!

    Very interesting, thanks for that. It’s curious to see Sturgeon described as “the leader of a mature European political party”, and realise that it’s not only correct, you could add the word “modern” into the description. I never really realised just how primitive UK politics is until the polls showed that the SNP may well hold the balance of power, then realise that the LibDems did before, and it’s been speculated that UKIP could instead / as well. Even Gordon Brown’s failure to invoke a rainbow alliance didn’t make an impression on me at the time. UK politics probably is permanently changed, even if Scotland becomes Independent tomorrow by a strange twist of fate.

    What was also an eye-opener was hearing Bernard Ponsonby talking about entering the “endgame”. I like that word. I like it a lot, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that thinking about the previous dynamic duo, you’d have to describe Salmond as the brawn, and Sturgeon as the brains of the outfit. Considering how clever Salmond was, we really ain’t seen nothing yet. If the referendum was the brawn of getting to the eve of Independence, this phase is the brains, and I can’t think of anyone better to lead it.

  101. Barontorc says:

    Do not underestimate the ‘Establishment’ ever again.

    We need Scotland to break free from its stranglehold. We need a strong SNP, carefully strategised, well funded and backed by the media in some powerful form.

    With hope and feeling!

  102. Stoker says:

    FoS @ 5.45pm

    You live in and are committed to Scotland and her future wellbeing.

    Your commitment is admirable and puts a lot of so-called “Scots”
    to shame.

    For those very reasons Scotland IS your country.

    The fact that you’re “half English” is neither here nor there as
    far as i, and most other Yessers are concerned.

    Sometimes i feel a little disappointed when i see or hear fellow
    Yessers making such statements, simply because i don’t feel that
    there is any need to.

    However, i am very aware that every now and then it is necessary
    to explain such things, ie; when shooting down ignorant morons
    who label Yessers as being anti-English or maybe the situation
    which you’ve just explained.

    What you are suggesting is quite right and proper, but that sort
    of situation would, ironically, sound better coming from someone
    like yourself or the people who formed the group ‘English people
    for Scottish Independence’.

    I don’t know much about them other than they formed during the
    referendum period. I don’t know what their numbers were/are etc.

    It may help your case if you point your friends in the direction
    of these people.

    Keep up the good work, Sister, and keep fighting the good fight.

    Meanwhile, spare a thought for me, i’m completely surrounded by
    English neighbours, all of whom voted No, they come to Scotland
    for the better quality of life but want to remain shackled to
    Warminster – go figure.

  103. Rod Robertson says:

    Nobody here has mentioned the DUP and UUP they without a doubt will support the Tories ,indeed any Unionist party against us enemies of the union.
    To those who think the scenario described by Stu is impossible ,just look at Stirling,Falkirk , or Aberdeen as examples of unionist collusion.

  104. Kevin Evans says:

    A lot said about partys joining together here – let’s be clear here snp will not join with Tories or UKIP. It’s impossible for them to join with either. So what’s left. Tory/UKIP (which seems most likely) or Tory/labour which will never happen. I know labour are thick but no way are they that thick.

  105. Doug Daniel says:

    yesindyref2: “It’s curious to see Sturgeon described as “the leader of a mature European political party”, and realise that it’s not only correct, you could add the word “modern” into the description.”

    As a matter of fact I originally put that word in, but decided I was over-egging the point so took it out 😛 But aye, the description fits.

  106. Tamson says:

    @ Rod Robertson:

    The DUP/UUP are unlikely to win more than 11 seats in total. They shouldn’t be dismissed of course, but history suggests they would be unreliable allies for the Tories (and saucy an alliance would end up killing the NI peace process somehow).

  107. Muscleguy says:


    What stops them?

    1. A betrayal of their core reason for being.

    2. The complete and utter absence of any party structures in any of those places.

    3. The cost. One reason why the SNP do not have full candidate lists for the GE yet is because they waited until after the referendum to consider this. IF the referendum had been won I expect the SNP would simply not have fielded candidates in a great many GE seats in order to save money.

    It is expensive to be the SNP and have to fund local, Holyrood, GE and European parliament elections from 10% of the population. Most of their rivals here in Scotland get subsidised by the UK wide parties. The SNP barely campaigned in the last Euro election because with funding the Yes campaign they did not have the funds to spare.

    The great increase in their membership will have helped to fill the coffers mind. But extending that to England would firstly dilute the Scottish element by sheer numbers necessitating a new SNP to represent just Scotland ie reinvent the wheel.

    Now do you understand?

  108. starlaw says:

    I wonder how many Red Tory MSP,s will vote for Davidson for First Minister

  109. Nantonos says:

    @Muscleguy fair point about cost and possible dilution of message.

    Not sure I agree about their “core reason for being”. One way to achieve that goal is to have more sympathetic MPs in other areas. And I have seen folk from England and Wales on Twitter say they wish they could vote SNP (because they like what they hear regarding socially relevant policies that actually help people). Also I have seen “not a UK-wide party” as a reason to exclude SNP from debates. That obstacle could be removed by having one prospective MP south of the border.

    I made the comment because to some extent it’s not just about Scotland vs. rUK. It’s also people vs. Westminster.

  110. Muscleguy says:


    That will indeed be interesting. Will they have self awareness to abstain I wonder.

    Was watching C4 News last night and they had Bob Marshall-Andrews and Ian Duncan Smith going around campaigning in Rochester & Strood together. It made the point that they are also old friends. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with a Labour and a Tory MP being friends but this was broadcast here in Scotland too. From here it just looked like BT all over again, Red Tories in bed with Blue Tories. B M-A is even one of the few good ones.

  111. Muscleguy says:


    I wonder what is stopping those people from starting up their own version then? I doubt the SNP are going to cavil if they basically pinch their manifesto but just change some of the names and terms.

    That is the way to do it. Have an English or Northern Party that says it will vote with the SNP and PC on Social Democracy lines at WM. I’m sure the SNP would even be happy to offer them advice and maybe some resources. But surely that is the answer rather than the SNP or PC expanding into England.

  112. Skip_NC says:

    For those advocating for the SNP to stand in England, I believe there is a practical problem. If I remember correctly, Morag, explained why shortly after the referendum. It may have had something to do with the number of PPBs but I cannot be sure.

  113. Morag says:

    I suppose it’s a judgement call. I don’t imagine it’s set in stone. If the debates thing is seen as crucial, it might be worth taking a hit on the number of PPBs.

    On the other hand the BBC don’t seem to be setting definite criteria that have to be met to get on the debates, so the SNP could end up by falling between two stools. Stand a couple of candidates in England, lose the PPB entitlement, and then be told that’s still not enough to be included in the debates.

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