Vote SNP and get the Tories? Nationalists would bring down a Labour government down and let the Conservatives back in – Jackie Baillie
For a political party to stray off script into disaster once might be seen as an unforced error but twice suggests they’re losing the plot. Yet there we had it, twice in the last week, leading SNP politicians effectively admitting voters had no reason to vote for them.
First came Mhairi Black MP with the message that the SNP would prefer to have a Tory goverment to fit their grievance narrative than a Labour one which would actually improve the lives of Scots. Then we had Kirsty Blackman MP threatening to vote with the Tories to bring down that future Labour government, confirming the SNP is losing its grip on public opinion, if not reality.
Before the fall of the House of Sturgeon, there was a night of the long dirks that dispatched Ian Blackford at Westminster. Afterwards Mhairi Black somehow became the SNP’s deputy Commons leader. She has wasted no time telling anyone who’d listen that “it does not matter whether we have a Labour or a Tory government”.
Mhairi Black is described by SNP colleagues as “being good when it comes to the karaoke stuff” but terrible at the rest. The rest seems to include telling Scottish voters who want rid of the Tory government that they have no agency in deciding the outcome of the election. It could have been a misstep except that hopeless Humza Yousaf opted to double down on the claim that elections don’t change anything.
Then Kirsty Blackman seemed to think otherwise. She had a car crash TV interview telling people live on air that “we are going to do everything we can to oppose you” as a Labour government unless their demands for another referendum are met. Labour MP Ian Murray’s astonished reaction was caught on camera. He turned so quickly to see if Kirsty Blackman was really uttering these words that it almost caused whiplash to his neck. The cat was out of the bag, as Ian Murray said: “Kirsty’s saying they would bring down a Labour government and let the Tories back in.”
That is the message from two senior SNP politicians. They do not care if it is a Labour government and they would actively oppose one and allow the Tories back in. This is a party unravelling quicker than the knot on Humza Yousaf’s tie.
I cannot think that Humza Yousaf has had a good day in office yet. As the blaze rages around the police investigation into SNP finances, moor fires are breaking out all over the place. No sooner has he announced another summer of independence campaigning than another scandal engulfs the party.
The latest crisis is a separate police investigation about the activities of Jordan Linden, the former North Lanarkshire Council leader, and allegations of sexual abuse. Meanwhile, the clock ticks down in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, and an inevitable Westminster by-election judgment on Margaret Ferrier and the SNP.
It is then that nationalists will learn, contrary to Mhairi Black’s view, that voters think elections can make all the difference in the world.
Jackie Baillie is MSP for Dumbarton, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader and her party’s spokesperson for health
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