A deal with the SNP? No way – LabourList


Having had dealings with SNP supporters, this blog can do little but agree with LabourList‘s Mark Ferguson, who writes that any potential post-election deal with the SNP must be ruled out because it is “undesirable…counter-productive and unworkable, [would] cause enormous damage to the country (possibly splitting it in two) and severely harm the Labour Party”. He writes:

Failing to rule out a deal hands the SNP a compelling narrative between now and May.

Want rid of the Tories and a Labour government in Westminster? The SNP will claim that you can get that if you vote for them, and that (because they only care about Scotland) they’d get the best deal for Scotland. It’s not true of course, because the best way to deliver for Scotland is through a strong Labour majority government.

An SNP group in Westminster (led by Salmond) would constantly be on manouveres to embarass Labour, to try to convince the Scottish people that Labour are the bad guys, to create splits and divisions and to bring about – by hook or by crook – the only thing that really matters to them: Independence.

Why should Labour work with a party – and allow effective power of veto over elements of government policy – that doesn’t even believe in the country or the body that is being governed?

How then could we explain to the electorate of England and Wales that we had put the desire for a Commons majority before our desire to exclude people whose entire political credo revolves about not caring what happens in England and Wales?

Why on earth would Labour agree to a deal that would damage the party in Scotland whilst simultaneously alienating the rest of the UK for a generation?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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26 thoughts on “A deal with the SNP? No way – LabourList

  1. Thomas M

    I would rather see a Labour-SNP coalition, then a Tory-SNP coalition or worst of all, a Tory-UKIP coalition.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If you get a Tory-SNP coalition, that’ll tell you everything you need to know about the SNP and its principles!

      1. Mrs Grimble

        Given that Nicola Sturgeon has explicitly ruled out any such deal with the Tories, you suggestion of an SNP-Tory is plain silly. What is highly likely, in my view, is a Tory-Lab coalition after GE2015; they worked perfectly amicably together during the Referendum campaign.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Given that the SNP was outed for demanding that its candidates support the Bedroom Tax only a short while ago, I wonder if my suggestion is as silly as you claim.
        By contrast, your suggestion of a Tory-Lab Coalition makes it very clear what you are. We’ve been over this ground before and the only people who seriously put forward such a claim are the silliest of SNP supporters.

      3. Ros

        “Given that the SNP was outed for demanding that its candidates support the Bedroom Tax only a short while ago, I wonder if my suggestion is as silly as you claim” Are you referring to the election candidates question? If so, hasn’t it occurred to you that this was a hypothetical question? If you look at the SNP’s record on dealing with the results of the bedroom tax, it doesn’t look too likely that they could possibly be expecting candidates to support it…

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        And yet we have one candidate who was rejected, we are told, for saying he wouldn’t support the BT.
        It’s always a hypothetical question until they turn on you. Look at the Liberal Democrats – they made their deal with the Tories two months before the 2010 election but pretended that they were considering Labour after it became clear that the result was a hung Parliament.

      5. Joan Edington

        As a reply to a comment of yours, Mike, that has no Reply link:
        The article that came out about a SNP candidate being refused because he wouldn’t vote for the bedroom tax has long been shown to be simply the excuse given by a man who would have been a truly awful candidate, looking at his history. There have been several other candidates accepted who have also answered No to that particular question about supporting the bedroom tax, if asked to. A single question has to be taken along with all the others and the interviewees attitude & history. This was simply a test question. The SNP are, and always were, against the BT and voted unanimously so in parliament.

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        Who showed that information about this candidate? Was it someone with a vested interest in discrediting what he said?
        If so, why should we be expected to believe this claim?
        The Liberal Democrats were always against tuition fees until they teamed up with the Tories.

      7. Joan Edington

        Craig Murray is a well-known person so it is not necessary to find someone to discredit him. Personally, I think he has a lot going for him but that he would not make a responsible party candidate. As an independent, he could well shake things up a bit. He is very outspoken, some say a loose canon. I do admire his whistle-blowing of Blair’s complicity with extraordinary rendition flights and torture but that is not what the issue was here. Murray has constantly insulted No voters, something the SNP do not agree with, and loyalty is required in a candidate by the party leaders even if the candidates views are not exactly their own. I imagine that if Michael Meacher, say, were to apply to be a Labour candidate for the first time nowadays he wouldn’t stand a chance. He is, however, one of the few MPs that is still true to real Labour values.

      8. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m pretty sure somebody like Michael Meacher would still do fine.
        As for the SNP not liking those who insult ‘No’ voters – and I take it this extends to those who sympathise with that point of view – has anyone told its supporters?

      9. Joan Edington

        I agree that, going by a lot of posts on social media, the impression is that all SNP supporters hate No voters. The extremists take to SM because they like to show off but, on the ground here in Scotland, this is not the case except in a few isolated incidents. During the campaign there were heated disagreements but, now the dust has settled, the general public hold no animosity to those on the other side. Certainly not in my town.

      10. Mike Sivier Post author

        That is welcome information. Unfortunately all we see here is the aggro on the social media. Perhaps nationalists should start a campaign to quiet the malcontents before they do any permanent harm (if they haven’t already)?

  2. David Sugg

    I would like to ask one thing of the scottish people who support the SNP do you want to be ruled by a Tory government for five more years because that is what will happen think on, labour is the only way we will stop tory genocide both sides of the border Bedroom tax,
    the attack on the disabled and sick, workfare, the attack on the unemployed the tory spin that any one on benefits are spongers even after the fact we all pay national insurance part of this goes to the unemployment fund we all pay into this means we have paid into this so we are entitled to JSA and all other benefits because we have paid for them not some thing for nothing please do not let the tories any where near power ever again

  3. ubych

    I think if Labour refused to do this, if it becomes an option, and lets another Tory/? coalition in, this would be worse for both the UK and the Labour party. Scotland will feel even further ignored and Labour voters will think that their votes have been wasted again.

  4. Martin McMillan

    Interesting little problem you’ve got yourselves into here Mike, in the (probable) event of a hung parliament; in order to form a government, Milliband will almost certainly need the support of other parties, whether in a formal coalition or as part of a confidence and supply arrangement.
    Who to choose though??? The SNP, that party of evil separatists, hell bent on destroying the union just for the sake of it, or the Tories, in a grand coalition.
    At this stage, I will declare my interest, though I am not a member of any particular party(and probably never will be), I was an active campaigner in the referendum campaign, on the Yes side; I, like tens of thousands of people in Scotland, mainly with no party affiliation, decided to get active, get educated, and get involved in our national conversation.
    The Yes movement was and is, primarily a left leaning, inclusive, peaceful and forward thinking, grassroots movement of people, who want the resources of our country used for the betterment of our society as a whole, rather than the enrichment of the few.
    If this reminds you of anything, it should, it’s kind of what Labour used to be about, before the party left it’s roots and principles behind during the Blair era.
    It has taken a certain amount of time for public perception of Labour to catch up with the new reality, but finally, caught up it has, and just as the Libdems will be judged more harshly for their role in enabling this evil Tory regime than the Tories themselves, so too will Labour be judged harshly over it’s abandonment of it’s base principles over the longer term.
    When we have entered a bizarre twilight zone world, where the parliamentary Labour party yesterday, with a few honourable exceptions, voted for the continuation of the idealogical austerity measures of the current regime, then I would suggest to you that your party needs to take a damn good look at itself, and I further suggest that you do it quickly and objectively.
    A good example of the apparent death wish of Nu Labour, is the annointment of Jim Murphy as Scottish branch manager. This man, that has never had a real job in his life, spent nine years at Uni at public expense while never actually getting a degree, before branching off into student politics just in time to support the introduction of tuition fees, to the dismay of his colleagues in the NUS, of which he was the Scottish leader by that time.
    Jim incidentally didn’t turn up at the vote yesterday, because he was busy holding a press conference where he was busy telling anyone that still listens to him that “he is not a unionist”. You couldn’t make it up, and it is no surprise that the man is held up as a figure of ridicule in Scotland, and not just in the Yes camp.
    In my humble opinion, if it turns out that Ed needs the support of other parties to form a government, it could do worse than rely on the support of the SNP, because truth be told, if the SNP is in the position to become kingmaker, then it’s because the Labour party has already lost it’s fiefdom in Scotland; and in this instance rather than fall back to the default Scottish Labour policy of obstruction and resentment against any and all SNP policies or positions a la the “Bain principle”, it would surely fit the party better to work alongside another party whose basic committment to social justice and equality is surely much closer to Labour’s own than that of the Tories.
    In conclusion, if Milliband has to do a deal with the SNP, then it’s not the end of the world(or party), if he does a deal with the Tories, then it is.

    Martin McMillan.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Nobody here is banking on a hung Parliament. I reckon the pollsters are quite a long way off-base at the moment. Yesterday I saw one in… New Statesman, I think it was, suggesting that here in Brecon and Radnorshire Roger Williams, the Liberal Democrat, will keep his seat but with his majority halved. Second party: Conservatives.
      And this comes right after an announcement that wages here have stagnated to a greater degree than in most other UK areas since 2008.
      What, so we’re all masochists here in Mid Wales, are we?

      My experience of the Yes movement is not as you have described it. Perhaps that is because I have mostly been exposed to supporters of the SNP; I don’t know. I wouldn’t have called them inclusive, peaceful or forward-thinking.

      Public perception of Labour hasn’t caught up with reality if people are still thinking of it in terms of Blair. He was a Third Way politician – right-wing economics with left-wing social policies. That clearly doesn’t work and is not what’s on offer now. If you think it is, find a new source of information. The attitude towards the private energy companies and the possible creation of a new national rail company shows you that Labour’s thinking has evolved.

      If you honestly think Labour voted to continue Tory ideological austerity yesterday, either you haven’t read my two articles on the subject or you are stupid or you are demented. I’ll assume you just haven’t read the articles. There’s nothing wrong with my party.

      Jim Murphy isn’t a branch manager, he’s the leader of Scottish Labour. I’m none-too-thrilled about it but that’s democracy for you. If he didn’t turn up for yesterday’s vote it doesn’t really matter because Labour was supporting the charter anyway. It goes along with what Labour wants to do and there’s no compulsion to make these billions of pounds of cuts that George Osborne’s mad about.

      If Labour wins a majority of seats – even if it’s not enough to form a government – we won’t owe any thanks to the SNP. If they take seats from Labour they will be, effectively, turning Scotland into a ghetto, because they won’t be interested in anything that isn’t to do with Scotland. They can’t be – they consider everywhere else to be a foreign country.

      I haven’t seen much commitment to social justice amongst SNP supporters – they’re all too rabid for independence. As for equality – well, when you’re on Twitter or Facebook, the shouting is equally loud, I suppose.

      There will never be a deal between Labour and the Tories.

      1. Joan Edington

        Now I know what disregard you have of your followers Mike. I tend to agree with most of your posts but I certainly do not consider myself to be “rabid”. I agree with you that the SNP etc have come out with several statements that are not necessarily 200 pc truthful, as has every party I have ever heard campaigning before any election. On the one side, as you said in your earlier article, Labour have been rather misrepresented in yesterday’s vote. On the other, Dim Jim’s claims to not be a unionist is farcial. Us “rabid” yes voters are merely Scots who believe that funding London projects, the HS2 etc should not come from Scottish taxes. We also feel that the spending of squillions on nuclear missiles that are placed 30 mins from our biggest city could be better spent. This is especially so since the UK government has cut so much of Scotland’s air-sea rescue and surveillance that we have to borrow planes from other countries to protect these missiles from suspicious activity in the waters around them.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        It’s not disregard of my followers – I hold many of them in extremely high esteem. They are the readers and commenters who have something to contribute, rather than sniping from the sidelines.
        Why do ‘Yes’ voters think funding United Kingdom projects shouldn’t come from Scottish taxes? Don’t you know there are NO Scottish taxes? There are only United Kingdom taxes. Scotland democratically voted on whether to leave the UK and the democratic result of that vote was that Scotland should stay – in the UK.
        In case you haven’t noticed, the government has cut ALL of the UK’s coastguards – did you think Scotland was getting special treatment?

      3. Joan Edington

        Yes Mike, I do realise that coastguards have been cut in the rest of the UK as well. My point was that if the UK, as it has, decides to hold nuclear weapons in coastal waters, at great expense, it is foolhardy to cut the defense of these weapons at a very minimal saving in comparison.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        And my point was that you – and other Scottish nationalists – adopt a Scotland-centric view that hinders your understanding of the issues that affect all of our lives, here in the UK. As I mentioned before, Scottish taxes don’t pay for HS2 – UK taxes do.
        It’s also worth adding, in response to your main point, that if I really held my readers and commenters in low regard, I would not be bothering to respond to you at all. If I think another person has a misguided attitude, at least I try to explain my reasons.

  5. jaypot2012

    Dear me Mike – you really do have a major hang-up about the SNP! I don’t care what anyone outside of Scotland says about Jim Murphy and the Labour party here – this is Scottish Labour and is judged by the people of Scotland. To an awful lot of people, Jim Murphy is an arrogant bully and Labour have made a huge mistake in putting him as the leader of the SCOTTISH Labour party, which should have their main interests and their policies for Scotland and then the rUK.
    SNP are for Scotland and believe in Independence, as do I, who has only lived here 8+ years. So the SNP are all about Scotland, shouldn’t the Scottish Labour party be the same?
    I want a Labour government in May 15, but I also want the powers that they promised, and to have our own devolved powers on our taxes, our welfare system and an oil fund, to name just a few things.
    The SNP have not stated that they would go into a coalition with Labour, they have said that they would work with them in certain areas as long as we got what we wanted in regards to Dev-Max powers. Are you saying that is wrong for the SNP to want to look after their own? Remember, it was Cameron who took away the vote for Devo-Max and just put the referendum as a Yes/No vote – the majority of people in Scotland would have voted for Devo-Max but didn’t get that chance.
    As for the SNP joining forces with the Tories, you must be living in cloud cuckoo land with that one – the SNP would never, ever help the tories to win the next election as the people of Scotland would not stand for it.
    I have followed you for many years and always thought that your posts where fantastic, funny, logical, un-biased and straight to the point. However, since the Scottish Referendum you have been biased, angry and down right nasty at times. There is no need for such anger against us Scots and no need for calling us names. If you love the Labour Party so much and don’t agree with anything from any other party, or party member, then just rename yourself Vox Political for Labour!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Latest opinion polls – in Scotland – put Scottish Labour up and the SNP down, by two points each (that’s the most conservative result – there’s another that suggests Scottish Labour have closed the gap to 10 points).
      Scottish Labour is indeed all about Scotland – it’s about Scotland as a part of the United Kingdom, which is in fact what Scotland democratically decided to be.
      I don’t trust the SNP with regards to what it will do post-election. If you’re as ardent a follower of that party as you say you are, perhaps you can enlighten us all on these rumours about a ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ being planned for election day, or the day after?
      I didn’t think the SNP would support the Tories – certainly not to win an election because that would be very much against their interests. After an election, matters would be different and I can certainly envisage the SNP doing whatever it could to advance its own cause.
      If my personal attitude has changed since the Scottish referendum, then pro-independence campaigners have nobody to blame but themselves. I came to that debate with an open mind and have had my perception of it soured by the persistent poor behaviour of nationalists.

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