The Week That Was
Come May 8th is it going to be SNP that is celebrating the most?
The week goes to Sturgeon and the SNP. Labour had hoped to set the agenda and make this NHS week. However, the Scottish Nationalists and the Conservatives ensured this was not the case. The Labour-SNP will they, won’t they came to a head this week, with the launch of the SNP Manifesto. The political alignment was there for all to see in writing. And who can blame the political media dedicating so much time ruminating on ins and outs of an SNP-Labour pact to lock out the Tories. Although important, NHS policy minutiae is not going sell more newspapers.
The Conservatives were more than happy to feed this beast, with the SNP now fully integrated into all their messaging. According to the Conservartives, it is no longer just Labour that is going to lead us to economic chaos. The Conservatives have capitalised on this to stoke English nationalism to drive potential UKIP voters or wavering Conservatives back to their embracing arms. But this is never going to deliver a Conservative majority and in doing so there is a danger that they are becoming a single issue party again. But this time it is not the EU.
For the SNP there is now every chance they have put themselves into a win-win position. A Labour minority Government will present a moment in time for the SNP. With greater influence, comes with a greater national platform. They will be able to write headlines that play well to the home crowd, while also being an agent provocateur in Westminster. Always with their eye on the prize of wiping out Scottish Labour. A tough path to walk but not impossible.
A Conservative victory could also work out for the SNP. If the Conservative scare mongering has the desired impact, and Scotland wakes up to Conservative minority government come May 8th, despite having 40-50 MPs, we can be certain that case for independence returns with even more gusto and legitimacy. The SNP will be on the march towards their raison d'être. Before I am accused of scare-mongering myself, there is the still some serious political arithmetic to overcome first because current projections show that another Lib-Con coalition is not close to reaching the magic 323 parliamentary seats. And Cameron always has devolution in his back pocket.
So now we are transported back to the Prime Minster standing basking in a golden sunrise outside No.10 following Scotland’s decision to remain part of the union. Cameron pounced upon the moment to announce an issue that is very dear to some Conservative hearts – English Votes for English Laws (EVEL). The announcement was wrapped up in talk of wider devolution which receives cross-party support but at the time many people were aware that this was a key pledge that was always going to rear its head during the general election campaign. Today, Cameron has promised that within the first 100 days he will bring about measures to implement EVEL and an England-only income tax. This is a continuation of the Conservatives’ attempts to make the SNP the political bogey man and in doing so have raised the stakes in the General Election by gambling with the Union. The General Election has just gone up another level.