I have been reading the various scenarios described by the “experts” about what may happen if there is a hung parliament with a large presence of SNP MPs – even with the possibility of a wipe-out in favour of the Nationalists.
Most of the assertions have been based on what Nicola Sturgeon, and to a lesser extent, Ed Miliband have claimed.
For example, Ms Sturgeon says that she, and not Alex Salmond, will be in control of the SNP at Westminster, even though she will not be elected as an MP.
She is also going to “lock out the Tories”, force unilateral nuclear disarmament, end austerity by increasing the national debt, end the Barnett Formula (full fiscal autonomy), grow the economy more than twice as fast as the major Western economies (“levers of power”) and so on – all in the name of her fanciful “stronger Scotland”.
But here is another scenario not often discussed. What if the Tories regain power along with the support of the other minority parties prepared to join them in a coalition in exchange for Cabinet positions and real power?
In a wipe-out situation it could leave Scotland for the first time ever without a single MP in either the ruling Cabinet or the main opposition.
Rather than promising to lock the Tories out she would go down in history as the first person ever who locked out the Scottish people from having real power and influence in a UK government – so much then for the “stronger Scotland” she had promised.
Little wonder people are turning to tactical voting to stop Scotland becoming the laughing stock around the free world.
Murtle Den Road
The final televised Scottish leaders debate was again dominated by rhetoric regarding coalition deals, rather than substantive policy discussions.
A key point in the proceedings for me was when Nicola Sturgeon claimed she wanted an anti-Tory majority to form the government on Friday and that Scotland would never forgive Labour if it failed to do just as the SNP demand.
This prospect raises two interesting points. Firstly, how long would any coalition last which shared only a common enemy, but not a common goal?
Labour is driven by the need to promote social justice in Scotland, the UK and abroad, whereas the SNP want independence at any cost.
The second point is more immediate. While Nicola Sturgeon asserts that she wants an anti-Tory coalition, the rhetoric she and Alex Salmond use is nuanced in such a way that David Cameron can readily use it, with help from his friends in the media, to win votes from Labour south of the Border.
I am in no doubt that if the Tories win this election the SNP can claim at least part of the credit. The question is, will Scotland ever forgive the SNP for this?
(Dr) Scott Arthur
The First Minister says that the SNP bloc of MPs would vote down a Labour Budget that was not to their liking.
In effect, surely that means supporting the Tories.
Jane Ann Liston