According to the Guardian, the Labour party is close to ruling out entering into a formal coalition with the SNP should Labour fail to win an overall majority in May’s General Election. Since the SNP have been shouting from the rooftops for months now that they have no intention of entering into a formal coalition with Labour, but would consider an informal arrangement not to bring down a minority Labour government, this is news of the non-news variety. It’s a bit like the Gary Glitter Fan Club announcing that they will not, after all, be holding their Do You Wanna Be In My Gang membership drive at the head offices of the Girl Guides.
It’s not clear why the British media persist in talking about a Labour coalition with the SNP when the SNP have already ruled it out. A formal Labour-SNP coalition is a decidedly Tory notion, one designed to scare English voters with the prospect of Alicsammin as a cabinet minister, although why this is a less appealing prospect than Iain Duncan Smith as a cabinent minister isn’t clear. Mind you, having Vlad the Impaler as a cabinet minister is more appealing than having Iain Duncan Smith, and he’d be considerably more compassionate too. The strategy puts the focus on Labour, and is intended to deflect similarly difficult questions about possible Tory deals with the swivel eyed barrage balloons of UKIP.
However because of this Tory election strategy, based upon demonising an entire constituent nation of the UK, Labour has come under intense pressure to rule out going into a coalition with the hairy bekilted barbarian country dancing hordes. After all, the forces of ceilidhdom lost the referendum. It’s just not British to reward Scottish people for failure, or indeed for anything else. Who do they think they are? Bankers or financial service company directors? It is unconscionable that Scottish votes should count except of course when they can safely be added to the tallies of UK parties. Then Scottish votes don’t count either, but in a different, and properly British, way.
So he doesn’t feel left out, Nick Clegg has already ruled out doing any sort of deal with the SNP. But then this is Nick Clegg we’re talking about here, and we all know just how much credence we can place in a Lib Dem pre-election pledge. About as much as you can in the Vow or just about anything that comes out of Gordon Brown’s gob. However it is true that Nick Clegg won’t be doing any sort of a deal with the SNP after the election, or indeed anyone else, because Nick Clegg will have been flushed down the electoral toilet with the rest of the Lib Dems. We remember what happened the last time they made a pledge, and it ended in a ministerial motor and Danny Alexander inserting himself far up inside the rectum of austerity.
The notion that voters in Scotland are – to say the least – chuffed off that their votes do not count, and have decided to do something about it, has set the Westminster establishment in a panic not seen since the last time that Scottish voters scared the bejeezus out of them. That would be in September last year. That panic attack produced a Vow to introduce doubledevoplusmaxiness which was then traduced and watered down more than a homoepathic remedy during the Smith Commission negotiations in which Labour, Tory and Lib Dem representatives spent most of their time on the phone to head office in London being told to gut and fillet the proposals like the wet fish with which Scottish voters are about to slap Labour across the face. So since the organ grinder’s monkeys have not come through with the goods, the voters of Scotland have decided to take over the organ. The organ grinder is naturally not best pleased.
Anyway, the UK media has come over all pettit lip and pouty because it’s dawned on them that a large contingent of SNP MPs at Westminster could hold the balance of power, and effectively choose which tune the Westminster organ gets to play in the next UK government. This means Scotland having an influence in choosing England’s government, and that is what is setting the metrocommentariat in a tizzy. England not getting the government it votes for is an insult to democracy. Scotland not getting the government it votes for is just part and parcel of this wunnerful familee of nations that we’re all better together in. Oh the irony. The Tory media is furious about this, and there was us thinking that irony was a British characteristic.
Meanwhile the Guardian’s political correspondent Andrew Rawnsley reports a conversation he had with a Scottish Labour MP he describes, in an interesting choice of words, as a “sane chap”. Sanity is clearly something that’s rare enough amongst Labour MPs from Scotland that it counts as a distinguishing feature. Despite having a majority of over 10,000, the MP realises that his seat has already been as good as lost to the SNP. The MP has accepted defeat, or to use his own words – “I’m fucked.” Now he’s just going through the motions so he can get his pension. Exactly how going through the motions so he can get his pension differs from what Labour MPs from Scotland do normally, Mr Rawnsley did not explain.
These MPs are as desperate for Miliband to state categorically that no deal will be done with the SNP as Davie Cameron is. Not the first time that the interests of Scotland’s Labour MPs coincide with those of the Conservatives. The dead men and women walking of Labour are pinning their hopes, yet again, on limiting the choices of the Scottish electorate in the interests of personal advantage. But this time it’s unlikely to work.
Under pressure from the Tories on one side, and its panic stricken Scottish MPs on the other, Labour will most likely announce soon that it rules out a formal deal with the SNP. However Labour can’t, and won’t, rule out reaching an informal deal with the SNP. Labour is attempting to dress this up in high sounding rhetoric – claiming that it’s unfair to tell Scotland that Scottish votes don’t count, and that it could bring about the end of the Union. Not that Labour was ever over bothered much in the past by Scottish electoral irrelevance. However they now face the cold hard reality that without the support of the SNP they’re likely to be as screwed as their Scottish MPs.
Scotland doesn’t want to be in Westminster’s gang any more, we’ve discovered we can crack the whip from a distance and make them dance to our tune for a change – and that’s far more satisfying.
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