Where’s the SNP campaign against the Conservative Party?

Nicola Sturgeon says she doesn't support Cameron, but she's sending out mixed messages. This is the woman who claims she wants an alliance with Labour, while encouraging voters to support almost anybody else.

Nicola Sturgeon says she doesn’t support Cameron, but she’s sending out mixed messages.
This is the woman who claims she wants an alliance with Labour, while encouraging voters to support almost anybody else.

Is anybody else sick of hearing nothing from the SNP but claims about Labour that turn out to be false?

Why these constant claims that Labour created the Bedroom Tax (lie), Labour supported the Tory plan for £30 billion of cuts (lie), Labour are Red Tories because they were allied with the Tories over the independence referendum (lie)? What’s the point of saying Labour brought in Atos? Atos bought itself into government work by taking over another company, but when Labour renewed its contract, Atos had done nothing wrong, so there was no reason NOT to renew it.

Isn’t it more accurate to say, simply, that the nationalists have an axe to grind against Labour because Labour didn’t support independence in the Scottish referendum last year?

Have a look at this; it’s an argument that makes sense:

How much good will the SNP really do the United Kingdom? Think about it; that party’s very reason for being is the break-up of this country. And look at the voting advice it has given people. Here’s Ed Miliband, telling it straight to a rattled Nicola Sturgeon in last Thursday’s leader debate:

The saddest part of this chapter in our political history is that it doesn’t have to be this way. The SNP has policies of its own – but we never hear them because Ms Sturgeon is so busy pushing her negative campaign against Labour. Yet she claims the enemy is David Cameron. In that case, there’s one clear question to ask:

Where’s her campaign against the Tories?

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75 thoughts on “Where’s the SNP campaign against the Conservative Party?

  1. David Carroll

    Nicola Sturgeon has spent at least the past few weeks offering Milliband the chance to keep Cameron out but all he can say is you are about the break up of the UK. That may be the SNPs main cause but not at this election. The saying, ” The enemy of my enemy is my friend” should hold true here. perhaps if Milliband was a more effectual leader of the opposition the bedroom tax et al might not have had such an easy passage.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The SNP’s main cause is the break-up of the UK – at this election and every other. Don’t be fooled by a line spun by a plausible-looking politician.

      There is indeed a saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Unfortunately Labour went along with that during the campaign on the independence referendum and now the SNP is using it as a club with which to beat Labour for “cozying up” to the Tories. Suggesting that Labour should get together with the SNP for the very same reason would be a sickening example of double-standards by the nationalist party.

      And Miliband has been an extremely effective opposition leader. You clearly don’t understand the UK Parliamentary system if you think he could have done any more to prevent the Bedroom Tax from being enacted into law. Don’t you know, for example, that any party or coalition with a working Parliamentary majority – such as the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of the last five years – can automatically win any whipped vote in the House of Commons, such as that on the Welfare Reform Act, of which the Bedroom Tax is a part? Labour voted against the Bedroom Tax – en masse – at every relevant opportunity, spoke out against it in public and organised debates about it in Parliament – that’s why the public is right behind Labour’s plan to abolish the Bedroom Tax immediately after the general election; because that will be the earliest possible opportunity to do so.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You’ll be another one who doesn’t understand pairing, then.
        Note that it says pairing isn’t allowed in vital votes, meaning this wasn’t as crucial as your Courier wanted you to think.
        For more information, check the comment column of my own article here:

        I’m glad to enlighten you. Now you know that those missing MPs would have made no difference at all to the vote, if they had attended – and if they had, then other Parliamentary business would have been disrupted.
        Now you have to tell everyone you know, so you – and they – don’t go propagating this lie again.

  2. Gary

    Mike, this is sad, and pointless. Please try and gain some knowledge instead of resorting to tribalism. The reasons behind the ‘SNP surge’ are long standing over a number of years.

    I’m not going to try and score points. Look at the recent political history of Labour in Holyrood, there are lessons for the future of Labour in the rest of the UK.

    All the best.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      As I have indicated many times, I’m not saying Labour doesn’t have its faults. However, the SNP can hardly claim the higher ground with a campaign of lies against Labour and – as a nominally left-wing party – absolutely nothing to say about the Conservatives.

  3. Andy

    I would have thought that for the SNP leader to say she will side with Labour, Greens and/or Plaiid Cymru if it succeeds in preventing the Tories from occupying Downing Street is a campaign against them in itself!
    Perhaps the Labour Party should be looking at itself and ıts leader and asking why it is not holding a significant lead in the Opinion Polls on its own merits.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s a hugely biased (Tory) press holding Labour back.
      Your claim about the SNP leader’s pronouncements is hamstrung by the fact that she was making her comment as part of an attack on the Labour leader – who shrugged it off without any visible effort.

      1. Andy

        If that is what you believe then dream on, Mike. I suppose you will next be suggesting that the opinion polls are also biased….and remember it was you who took delight in the polls apparently showing a rise in Miliband’s popularıty.

        Sturgeon, for whom I have no time at all, has made her comment so often over the past few weeks that to suggest it was “an attack” iis in my opinion ludicrous but if, as you think, Miliband has shrugged it off, why are people concerned about it?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Opinion polls can only report people’s opinions – the clue is in the name. Those opinions can be based on a very small amount of information. Do you know how many of those people based their opinion on SNP information about the Labour Party? Neither do I. It’s all opinion, rather than fact.
        The rise in Miliband’s popularity continues – he did very well for himself on Thursday evening, as almost everyone I met on Friday agreed.
        People are concerned because these claims keep being repeated – presumably on the basis that Goebbels was correct in his Great Lie theory – that any lie repeated often enough will eventually be accepted as true.

      3. Andy

        Sorry Mike – the size of the sample in the major opinion polls is accepted within a plus or minus 2% error rate as being adequate to make a reasonable judgement. If, however, you wish to believe otherwise then your view on the popularity of Miliband in an opinion poll and random vıews of people you spoke to on Frıday must be equally suspect. (The ones I spoke to thought he was adequate but a bit flustered at times and lost out to Sturgeon on the criticism of Cameron’s no show)..
        You said Miliband shrugged of “an attack” but now you say it is being often repeated and seek to liken it to the Great Lie theory…but surely the British public is sufficiently wise to know that much of what has been and will be put forward by all the parties is pie in the sky? .

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think you missed my point – which is that these are opinion polls – they show what people think, based in the information they have absorbed. We’re not discussing whether the polls are accurate in describing how people will vote; we’re discussing whether people have absorbed fact or propaganda. Opinion polls can’t make any indication in this regard and cannot, therefore, be used to indicate that a particular party is right or wrong – as is being pushed very strongly by the SNP and its supporters.
        The Miliband popularity poll showed how popular the Labour leader is becoming, based on his appearance in the leader debate on Thursday, in which his comments may be fairly easily fact-checked.
        Your claim about the British public’s skill at working out fact from fiction is easily shot down simply by pointing out the adherence of SNP supporters to the many lies about Labour.

      5. Andy

        I appreciate the point you are seeking to make about opinion polls…the opinion polls on the popularity of the political party leaders are an ongoıng exercise and were not based on the one TV appearance but are a reflectıon of what people have both seen and heard and both Mılıband’s and Cameron’s standing improved but without question Sturgeon has been the “star performer” in the debates but that does not mean the SNP have the best policies for the UK does it?” .
        If any party thinks it has been held back by a biased press then it is for that party to decide how best to counter it; perhaps by better use of the press which is known for its bias towards them. .

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        Sturgeon came second to Miliband in the last debate – as all the polls showed. She was not considered the star performer at all.
        Your ideas about the press are a little, let’s say, optimistic.

      7. Andy

        I believe that Survation/Mirror (Labour biased?) made Miliband the winner in the UK but Sturgeon won in Scotland and overall on the argument Farage and Miliband were tied. But I specıfıcally referred to the “star performer” where Sturgeon in the Survation/Mirror poll achieved 35% and Miliband 29%

      8. Mike Sivier Post author

        The Survation poll gave it to Miliband overall (35 per cent against Sturgeon’s 31 per cent). I don’t have figures for Scotland alone – why would I? This is a UK-wide election.
        Ipsos Mori had a cute system involving ‘cheers’ and ‘boos’ measured on the social media. Sturgeon won 81 per cent cheers – but this came from just 5,761 tweets. Miliband had 74 per cent cheers, on the basis of more than twice as many tweets – 11,402. He’s the clear winner there.
        Survation had polls on individual subjects like housing and the national debt/deficit. Miliband came out on top in both of those, with Sturgeon only mustering around 18 per cent. It seems people are more enamoured of her than her policies.
        Now, why would you suggest Survation is Labour-biased? Because its polls are published by the Mirror? Or do you simply not like the figures? They’re as good as anyone else’s.

      9. Andy

        If Miliband had not shaded the minor parties in the polling on specific aspects – and he only tied with Farage on the overall argument side – , then he would be in serious trouble. but you have overlooked the point I was makıng as to who was adjudged the Star Performer and who was……

        Sorry but I do not think the ya-boo of the IPSOS Mori, however novel, is a basis on which to determine the electability of a party to form the next government. .

        My citiıng the Mirror as being a Labour supporting newspaper merely countered the frequent assertions that the media is Tory biased…some newspapers do, of course, favour the Conservative whıle others seem to be more Lıb Dem and even Ukıp lwhich provides the balance.

      10. Mike Sivier Post author

        The Survation poll did not mention any ‘star performer’ as far as I could see (although I was speed-reading – lots to do today). Can you point it out for me in the report?
        Regarding both polls, I’m reminded of this tweet by a chap called Mike Smithson: “Generally the degree to which someone questions reliability of poll is in direct proportion to their dislike of the numbers.”
        There is NO balance in the media. You have ONE national newspaper that supports Labour, one supports UKIP, the Guardian, the Independent, and the rest are Tory. Television is all Tory, with a nod towards balance from Channel 4 News; just a nod.

      11. Andy

        Sorry not to have come back before – too busy dealing with matters relating to the campaign against the frozen State Retirement Pension policy.

        The details of the Survation/Mirror poll were publicised on the BBC ınternet “Election Live” commentary just after the Thursday debate and repeated on the Friday morning. You can check them there if you wish.

        The quotation from Smithson on polls is interesting and makes one wonder why you sought to question them in the first place.

        You miss the point of my highlighting the possibility of bias in the Survation/Mirror…it was to show that I was not opposed to use information from, as it were, an opposing camp and, thereby, balance my argument.

        It is acknowledged that some aspects of the media have a political bias – not all Tory – but we dısagree about the imparıalıty of the BBC…I think Andrew Marr provıded the perfect counter to that yesterday by his in depth questioning and continual interrupting of the Prime Minister….as another topic you have posted clearly shows.

      12. Mike Sivier Post author

        The BBC’s Election Live commentary is refreshed every day and the information on it from previous days is not saved – or at least, I haven’t found it. If you have, would you like to share the link?
        I don’t recall questioning the polls – you were.
        Regarding the BBC, there is a clear Tory bias, as explained in previous articles. According to the Mirror (scream “bias” if you want), Cameron stormed out after the Marr interview, furious that he hadn’t been allowed to utter his pre-planned lines and that he had been interrogated over the government’s murderous ‘welfare’ policies instead. It seems he expected a much easier ride but Mr Marr – perhaps because he is a professional – did his job and actually asked some relevant questions.

      13. Andy

        To access the information on the BBC internet sıte:

        1. Find the Election 2015 page for 20th April with picture of Sturgeon as the header.
        2. Scroll down to just below the picture . On right hand side “Election Live April 18th” and click
        3. Scroll down past the header of a nervous looking Miliband. Just below picture -right hand side find “Election Liıve 17th Aprıl” – clıck
        4 Scroll down past the header of eddıe Izzard and below picture on right hand side find “BBC Electıon Debate” – click and read to your hearts content…..or don’t bother and just belıeve what I say for a change.

        Second point – if you read your reply to my second comment ıt ıs you that starts to question the validity of the opinion polls and there samplıng. I simply followed on from there.

        Third point. You mention that there are previous articles on “BBC Bıas” but, of course, if you quote them or, indeed you wrote them, then…….so perhaps some ındependent references?

        Fourth point. I have no intention of screaming bias over the Mirror…we both know it is and acknowledge the fact..
        As regards the Andrew Marr interview with Cameron I am not in the least surprised he was angry at being ınterogated rather than interviewed. Having politely pointed out that Marr was constantly interrupting him while he was addressing the question I feel he had everyrıght to be – just lıke Mılıband was shkıng wıth nerve just prıor to hıs Paxman ıntervıew. No, had it been me I would have probably thumped Marr for his rudeness and unprofessıonal conduct .
        Hopefully, however, Marr will be the same abrasive character when he interviews Miliband (next week, ı belıeve) and not be like soft shoe Paxman was wıth hım..

      14. Mike Sivier Post author

        Thanks for the information on accessing previous BBC election live pages. It just goes to show what you miss when you’re under pressure all the time.
        Your second point misunderstands what I was saying. Opinion polls report opinion. I wasn’t questioning the methodology or validity of what they were reporting, just pointing out that we don’t know why people were stating those opinions. They could be based on false information. That’s why it is important to get facts out and then see what happens. The SNP works very hard to prevent that from happening. Whenever I write an article about that party, shares from the VP Facebook page are always lower than for other articles, while the amount of adverse comment multiplies exponentially. This indicates that the SNP and its supporters are determined to suppress any information that is adverse to its campaign.
        BBC Bias – check the Cardiff University study: https://theconversation.com/hard-evidence-how-biased-is-the-bbc-17028
        Fourth point: Interviewers are like that with all politicians. They want answers to questions, not pre-prepared propaganda. Marr was just doing his job.

  4. Florence

    Many other comment forums BTL (below the line) on matters Scottish are being bombarded with “Nicola” fans, apparently from all over the UK. They all stick to a very obvious agenda attacking Labour, usually exhibited by repeating the lie about Labour & Tories both being wedded to neo-con austerity and massive cuts. This is a very dangerous game to play. No-one who is in contact (as you are here Mike) with their active community is in any doubt that they are working to have influence at Westminster not to get rid of the Tories, not to implement UK policies from which the Scots as part of the UK will benefit, but to pursue a narrow nationalist agenda. Mike, you’re absolutely right to stick to your guns on this one. I wish all in the UK, including Scotland, no harm and freedom from the ideological terror of the Tories, but can the same be said of the Nats?

  5. Florence

    PS The SNP claim that the biggest anti-Tory grouping would form a government is in fact quite wrong. If Labour do not have more seats than the Tories they would never be allowed to form a legitimate government by the press & establishment. The LibDems, and their self-imposed rule in 2010 and 2015 that they would only form a coalition with the party with the largest number of seats, will prop up a minority Tory government even though there is no constitutional imperative to do so. Where would the other smaller parties and their principles (incl the SNP) be then? That is the danger behind the SNP rhetoric about being anti-Tory, while being virulently anti-Labour.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I was discussing this with an SNP cultist on Twitter last night. He said Jim Murphy had lied when he said the largest party had the first chance to form a government. Clearly he was alluding to this – and wasn’t lying at all. Thanks for clearing it up.

      1. Andy

        In an electıon where there ıs no party wıth an overall majorıty the Priıme Mınıster ıs entıtled to consıder ıf he (or she) can contınue ın governemnt eıther ın coalıtıon or as a mınorıty. Gordon Brown had that optıon after 2010 but realısed ıt was not feasable and resigned and, as a matter of protocol, recommended Cameron to Her Majesty as her next Prıme mınıster.

  6. Ian

    Why would the SNP attack the Tories when they aren’t even in the running in Scotland? That would be a waste of time and effort, the Conservatives aren’t even players north of the border, the only competition the Nats have is Labour, that’s why the SNP focus on them. Besides, whatever attacks you refer to, The Sturgeon General was clearly beckoning Miliband into a loose coalition after the election.

    Labour ballsed up by cosying up with the Conservatives in the Better Together campaign, that was plain bad politics as far as Scotland is concerned, as shown by the distinct possibility of Jim Murphy losing his seat. Of course the SNP are going at Labour.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Conservative Party is fielding candidates in every Scottish constituency. While the SNP picks fights with Labour over lies, the Tories have a clear field to talk to constituents about anything else, with the added bonus of not having anyone looking over their shoulder and complaining about their behaviour.
      Sturgeon is desperate for Labour to agree that a coalition is possible, because it would mean the SNP could tell voters they could safely support that party without fearing that it would allow a Conservative government again at Westminster. Ed Miliband, of course, wants an outright Labour victory and absolutely cannot suggest any such alliance; this casts doubt over whether a vote for the SNP would keep the Tories out.

      Now for the regular lie:
      Labour never went “cosying up with the Conservatives in the Better Together campaign”. That is a lie put out by the SNP and its supporters – apparently because they are upset that Labour did not support Scottish independence. Strangely, some SNP supporters have been claiming that Labour should join an alliance with the SNP because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” – but that would be completely at odds with what they’re saying about Labour and the Conservatives in the independence referendum campaign; the alliance of Labour and the Conservatives could be said to be a matter of convenience because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” but the SNP is claiming that Labour and the Tories are much more closely-aligned.
      That claim has no basis in fact whatsoever.

      Right. How are you going to respond to that – by suggesting I hate the SNP, as others have today?
      Let’s get that out of the way: I don’t hate the SNP.
      I don’t have any respect for the SNP either, though.
      As a party that has based its campaign on lies, it deserves no more respect than the Conservatives.

      1. Ian

        I don’t care how many constituencies the Tories are fighing in Scotland, they will fail in Scotland. The SNP’s only opposition up there is Labour – that’s why the theSNP is taking the fight to them, not the Tories. The Tories are no threat, everyone knows that. I doubt Nicola Sturgeon is desperate for anything from Labour other then a case-by-case loose coalition. Getting into bed with the enemy – as far as the Nationalists are concerned – isn’t good politics for either side for obvious reasons. Ed Miliband might want an outright victory but if he’s seen the polls he’d be a mug to put his money on it.If the Conservatives could gain power again then Miliband has nobody to blame but himself. This s a deeply unpopular government with a deeply unpopular leader and Miliband still cannot get a lead in the polls, still both on 33%. That is down to Miliband and the direction he’s taking the party. If Labour can’t get an absolute clear majority against this lot of gangsters then that is Labour’s fault alone. Largely Miliband’s fault, IMO. Against this lot, Labour should be walking it and a real Labour Party would be.

        You say Labour didn’t cosy up, that’s a matter of opinion but they did join the Tories with their scare tactics and nonsense in a campaign marred from the outset by lies and disinformation from the Better Together campaign an their friends in the media, Gordon Brown was bundled in at the last minute for the Yessers, Labour people shared stages with Tories, too. Looks like cosying up to me but apparently not to you. Labour should have played Switzerland on he whole independence issue. Said they didn’t think it was their place to try and influence the decision etc etc etc…

        I wouldn’t know if you hate the SNP or not but you are very much blogging for Labour (which made your ‘SNP cultist’ remark snide, unnecessary and ironic given your almost myopic drum beating for Miiband and refusal to countenance anything but very minor criticisms of them despite knowing fine well this is no Labour Party any more). You know the SNP are going to urinate on Miliband’s strawberries, that’s why you’re focused on them, they will lose your team votes. Ironic, no, since that is why the SNP are focused on Labour.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Ian, supporters of the SNP are very much like cultists in their beliefs and attitudes. They think the SNP can do no wrong and never lies, and they use intimidation to get their way. I’ve lost count of the number of so-called ‘keyboard warriors’ I’ve had to block because of threatening behaviour. Applying the ‘cultist’ label was not only appropriate, it was necessary. Right-thinking people need to know what they’re facing. In the light of your comments in this regard, your claims about the Labour Party and my support for it may comfortably be dismissed as a product of resentment.
        The Tories in Scotland are only part of the issue. The SNP says it wants a voice in Westminster, to benefit the whole of the UK so, in that case, why isn’t Nicola Sturgeon telling people in England not to vote Tory? She won’t, because she needs a large number of Tory MPs, otherwise Labour will be able to form a majority without her party and won’t need her.
        So the SNP position is: Don’t vote Labour in Scotland; don’t vote Labour in Wales; don’t vote Labour in England. Vote SNP in Scotland; vote Plaid in Wales; vote TORY (not Green) in England – so the SNP can get the influence it needs in Westminster. The ultimate aim, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, is an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK in the grip of the Tories, forever (or at least for the far-foreseeable future).
        Is that what you want?
        The lack of support for Labour has been due to the poor exposure they have received from the right-wing mass media. I know you’ll want to blame it on the man himself but this is easily disproved by pointing at his popularity figures – up 20 points in the last month alone, after he had a chance to show what he’s really about in the leader debates.
        I don’t propose to go over the referendum campaign yet again. Suffice it to say that the ‘Yes’ campaign was not devoid of ‘scare’ tactics. Labour shared stages with Tories because they are both unionist parties and were campaigning for the same result – no more, no less. To suggest there was any more to it is blind stupidity. You say “Labour should have played Switzerland on the whole independence issue” which betrays your ignorance of the facts. Labour wants to keep the union so Labour campaigned to keep the union.
        Perhaps you should play Switzerland with your comments from now on.

      3. oscartaime

        Guess a lot comes down to ones definition of “cosying up”. Labour indisputably campaigned on the same platform as the Tories & for many that was as good as cosying.

        Hard to see why Labour chose this path as it may have been even more powerful to campaign separately as Gordon did in the end & to considerable effect.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        What you’re saying is that “many” people are extremely gullible and will believe anti-Labour propaganda for the sake of it.
        The reason Labour chose to join a united campaign to save the union is obvious to any strategist; you do what you must if you want to win.

      5. john

        In 18 years of being able to vote I have never seen or met a conservative candidate in my constituency.
        Because they are a non entity.
        Can you please provide evidence that the tories are picking up any significant ground in Scotland because the SNP arent attacking them?

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        It’s not being argued that the Tories are picking up significant ground – although the SNP is certainly giving them a lot of space.
        Can you demonstrate evidence that fewer people are likely to vote Tory there than in 2010?
        Meanwhile the SNP does nothing to counter Conservatives, other than have Nicola Sturgeon utter a few placating words on TV every now and then. It’s not good enough.

  7. Sinky

    Why would they need a major anti tory campaign when in virtually all seats they contest tories have virtually no chance of winning? She has made it very clear she I against tories and their policies. And as for lying look no further than Scottish labour and the “largest party forms the government” and “no spending cuts in in the next parlement” (and more) lies. SNP aren’t perfect, but if they can drag Labour leftwards it’s good news

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      When’s the last time Nicola Sturgeon said people shouldn’t vote Tory?
      Check some of the other comments under this very article for answers to the disinformation you’ve been given about the “largest party forms the government”.
      As for “no spending cuts in the next Parliament”, this is something that has been suggested by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as possible under Labour’s spending plans.
      The SNP will not be dragging Labour anywhere.

      1. Sinky

        She has however repeatedly said she disagrees with the current government’s record and criticises the tory manifesto – is that not enough?
        Unless I misunderstand, to form a government you first must win a Queens Speech vote with 50%. So long as SNP and Labour (and any anti Tories) have together more than half the commons and vote against it then the Tories could not form a government. If Labour, propped up by the SNP can get 50% they would absolutely have the constitutional right to form the next government. There is also historical president for this. Murphy has been repeatedly misleading the electorate about this.
        Regarding no spending cuts, Ed Milliband has repeatedly stated that he plans to make cuts “outside protected areas” I’m not sure how he could be clearer on that.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, it isn’t enough. The SNP plan is to dupe Scottish people into supporting that party so that it can demand concessions in Westminster that make an independent Scotland possible. Then the plan is to quit any alliance with Labour and split Scotland from the rest of the UK, which is most likely to vote Tory due to disillusionment with a Labour Party that would let this happen. Labour knows all this and that’s why Ed Miliband is refusing any alliance with the SNP.
        Put simply: If Scottish people vote SNP, then they’ll end up with an SNP dictatorship in the long-term, while the rest of the UK will end up with a Tory dictatorship.
        Is that what you want?
        Moving to your second point: Others have covered this. Your theory fails if the Tories manage to get a Coalition together that totals more than half of MPs. Murphy has not been misleading, for reasons previously explained.
        Regarding spending cuts: You seem to be lumping Labour’s plans in with those of the Tories. You do know that the Tory cuts are up to 10 times more than those of Labour, don’t you? They’re not the same.

      3. Sinky

        On the first point: you tell us to judge Labour on their current manifesto (rather than their abysmal record last time they had power), yet you refuse to judge the SNP on their manifesto, which outlines progressive change (though not always going far enough imo) and is not about independence. A little hypocritical don’t you think?

        On the second point: Murphy has repeatedly said the largest party forms the government, which is just not true, however you try and spin it. Besides, any seat that moves from Labour to SNP is still is a vote against against any tory government, so does not help the Tories cling on to power, and SNP taking seats from the LibDems actually helps keep the Tories out.

        Point 3: Where do I lump Labour’s plans with the Tory ones? Where do even imply it? My point was that Murphy promised no spending cuts whilst senior Labour members including Ed are planning cuts ie lying.

        Yes I do know that Labour are less bad than the Tories, but less bad does not equal good.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Labour’s record in power was very good. Yes, there were a few things it got wrong – and some it got VERY wrong – long-term readers of this blog will know that I have applied criticism where it is due. I have a list of Labour’s achievements, in fact. It was written before the 2010 election, and by someone else, but is worth using as a reminder:
        6th largest economy in the world
        4th largest GDP per person in the world
        Longest period of fiscal stability since World War 2
        …Longest period of sustained growth for 200 years
        A rising National Minimum Wage – the annual uprating benefits 1 million people a year.
        Shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
        Three million more operations carried out each year than in 1997, with more than double the number of heart operations.
        Over 44,000 more doctors
        Over 89,000 more nurses
        All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer
        Teenage girls are offered a vaccination against cervical cancer.
        The NHS guarantees that you will see a cancer specialist within two weeks if your GP suspects you may have cancer: you will not have to wait more than 18 weeks from GP referral to the start of hospital treatment – and most waits are much shorter than this.
        22 million people are benefiting from real tax cuts to boost their income this year.
        12 million pensioners benefiting from increased Winter Fuel Payments
        900,000 pensioners lifted out of poverty
        500,000 children lifted out of relative poverty and measures already in train will lift around a further 500,000 children out of poverty.
        Free TV licences for over-75s
        The New Deal has helped over 2 million people into work
        Over 3 million Child Trust Funds have been started
        Nearly 3,000 Sure Start Children’s Centres opened, reaching 2 million children and their families
        Over 42,400 more teachers and 123,000 more teaching assistants than in 1997
        Approximately 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools
        A free nursery place for every 3 and 4 year old.
        Doubled the number of registered childcare places to more than 1.5 million, one for every four children under eight years old
        More young people attending university than ever before
        Double the number of apprenticeships starts, with figures for 2008/9 showing 234,000 started an apprenticeship this year compared to 75,000 in 1997
        In 1997 more than half of all schools saw less that 30% of their pupils fail to get 5 good GCSEs including English and Maths~Now only 270 schools fail this benchmark and we are guaranteeing that no school should fail this mark after 2011
        Between 1997-98 and 2009-10, total funding per pupil has more than doubled from £3,030 in 1997-98 to £6,350 in 2009-10 in real terms, an increase of 110%
        The Northern Ireland peace process
        The UK is now smokefree, with no smoking in most enclosed public places.
        The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 21% below 1990 levels, beating our Kyoto target.
        Over £20 billion invested in bringing social housing to decent standards
        Rough sleeping has dropped by two thirds and homelessness is at its lowest level since the early 1980s
        Free off-peak travel on buses anywhere in England for over-60s and disabled people.

        Moving to your main points: Labour is campaigning on its current manifesto; the SNP is not. The SNP is conducting a negative, anti-Labour campaign. Voters have to judge the parties on how they present their message and that’s what I’m doing, so – no, not hypocritical at all.

        Moving to your second point: What a shame you haven’t bothered to read the comments by other people! Andy stated: “In an electıon where there ıs no party wıth an overall majorıty the Priıme Mınıster ıs entıtled to consıder ıf he (or she) can contınue ın governemnt eıther ın coalıtıon or as a mınorıty. Gordon Brown had that optıon after 2010 but realısed ıt was not feasable and resigned and, as a matter of protocol, recommended Cameron to Her Majesty as her next Prıme mınıster.” Florence said: “The LibDems, and their self-imposed rule in 2010 and 2015 that they would only form a coalition with the party with the largest number of seats, will prop up a minority Tory government even though there is no constitutional imperative to do so.”
        So Jim Murphy was right, because Gordon Brown recommended Cameron as the leader of the largest party, and also because the largest party would gain the support of the Liberal Democrats, who are still likely to be a considerable size after the general election. The DUP has also said its support is on offer, which would also boost whichever party is largest. Your claim about a seat changing from Labour to SNP keeping the Tories from power won’t carry any weight if the Conservative Party manages such a coalition anyway – and Sturgeon remains silent about Tories in England.

        On your third point: Weren’t you conflating Tory and Labour spending cuts? You seemed to imply that all cuts were bad, therefore Labour is bad. Murphy may still be able to deliver no spending cuts; you don’t know what he has in mind, therefore any claim that he is lying is premature. Meanwhile I can point out Sturgeon’s tacit support of the Tories in England for all I’m worth, if I want.

        Your last fling – the claim that Labour are “less bad” than the Tories – is so miserable I’ll leave it on the floor.

      5. Sinky

        OK, yes, some good did come from Labour last time, though sullied with many negatives, and much in that list is indeed commendable.

        The SNP are campaigning strongly on many points in its own manifesto, many of which I strongly believe in. For example scrapping trident comes up regularly – and is an issue I feel very passionately about. Ending the financial and social idiocy that is right to buy was discussed at the last debate, which Labour for some reason still supports. They are campaigning to protect the NHS. They are campaigning for spending increases to grow the economy out of deficit, a stance backed by many economists. Along with these points and many others they are also campaigning against Labour, but by asking them to campaign more against the Tories, you seem to admit that campaigning against your opposition is needed along with just setting out your own policies.
        Whilst we are talking about content of manifestos, why on earth does Labour promise things in their Westminster manifesto that are devolved to Hollyrood, therefore are totally out with their control (eg 500 more GPs and 1000 more nurses)?

        On the second point: if Labour and SNP (together with other anti-tory parties if necessary) have more than half the seats (which looks likely), then the Tories cannot form the government – it is as simple as that.
        The latest YouGov polls suggest that Labour and SNP alone have more than the required half, add to that a handful of Plaid and Green for good measure and then even if SNP takes every Labour seat in Scotland and Labour loose a couple more in England, Labour could still come to power with SNP support. SNP also look set to take several LibDem seats and so help Labour.
        Sturgeon openly criticises the Tories, and their manifesto – clearly arguing on national television against Cameron and his policies – does this not show she is against them? Besides her party is not standing in England – would you expect the DUP to campaign against Plaid in Wales?? As a final note, it’s worth remembering that Murphy himself said that Labour had “the moral and constitutional right” to attempt to form a government after the last election – now is saying the exact opposite to the electorate.

        My point was about parties lying- which Murphy has done, both on spending cuts and largest party – though I do suggest that we should be investing in the economy, not strangling it and cutting essential services. I can only judge Murphy’s plans (by which I mean Milliband’s plans given Murphy is not in charge – as made clear by other Labour figures when questioned on Murphy’s claims) on what Ed and the rest of the party has said (cuts outside protected areas). How will Murphy be able to deliver no additional spending cuts, when his party has promised the opposite?!

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        How did you know what was in the SNP manifesto when it has only been published today?

        Labour can promise things in its Westminster manifesto that relate to Holyrood because Westminster controls funding to Holyrood through the Barnett Formula. If Labour increases funding to the NHS in England, for example, there must be a consequent increase in funding to the other UK countries. It’s one reason why Wales has been calling “foul” on the Coalition Government for saying that country’s NHS is in a poor state – the Coalition has cut funding to Wales by 10 per cent over the last five years.

        If Labour and other parties end up controlling more than half the seats in the Commons, then the Tories will indeed be prevented from forming a government – but that doesn’t mean that anyone else will form a government either. The fact that Labour won’t deal with the SNP because of the “fundamental differences” mentioned by Ed Miliband last Thursday means that the most likely result in that case will be another election.

        Sturgeon’s criticism of the Tories only goes a certain distance. It stops short of actually saying that people should not vote for them. Why is that? Because she needs people to vote Tory in large numbers in order to create enough of an opposition to Ed Miliband for Miliband to consider an alliance with the SNP. It is entirely for selfish purposes that she does not go the rest of the way and actually tell England, “Don’t vote Tory”. She has said this election is about getting rid of them, and she has said she wants the SNP to influence what goes on in the whole of the UK. Why not start here?

        Your question about the DUP and Plaid is irrelevant because Plaid does not expect to form a government after May 7; the Conservative Party does. Your point about Jim Murphy is interesting on a historical level but experience changes people; Labour didn’t get to form a government last time and he knows it.

        Your point about parties lying has already been defeated, by the way.

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        And also by Stewart Hosie, perhaps?
        Did you see the Andrew Marr interview with Nicola Sturgeon in which she said “something significant” would have to happen before the SNP went back to the Scottish people and sought a mandate for another referendum? Would “something significant” include, perhaps, the election of a large number of SNP candidates to Parliament in Westminster? Many people believe it does.

        That being said, she certainly doesn’t seem to have covered herself in glory.

  8. Jim Round

    At the end of the day, political parties are what they are. None of them are immune from making questionable statements about each other, it’s why I despise the party system.
    It is simply a pantomime “oh yes it is, oh no it isn’t” you only have to look at news items on things and scroll to the bottom for the Conservative/Labour responses.
    Take this as the latest example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32359928
    It is a good point made by Milliband, but you only have look further down for the knockabout to begin, who’s telling the truth? Who knows? Does anyone care?
    And for balance, here’s one the other way round: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/32350391
    Each party is guilty of cherry picking facts and statistics to suit their agendas.
    What you have to remember is each party wants to form a government, and would sell it’s own Grandmother to achieve it, you’ve seen the election propaganda come through your letter box from all parties and thought “yeah right”
    We need electoral reform, no two ways about it, that poor attempt at AV did not count.
    FPTP works best for a two party system, full PR with a “none of the above” would mean MP’s actually working for their seat.
    This type of yah boo politics will continue, and I would (unfortunately) if a betting man, wager good money on a lower turnout than 2010.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      On the first story: Miliband is right. The CBI is against regulation – but have a think about the result of lax regulation on the banking sector and you’ll see that the organisation is on the wrong side of the argument. The Tories were off talking about immigration because they’ve lost the plot.
      The second story is about unemployment, and I’m afraid I differ from all the parties, in that I don’t accept the official figures. They fail to take account of important statistics. The best that can be said is that Labour is right – thanks to zero-hours contracts and similar shenanigans, we have three people doing jobs that would normally have been carried out by one – and that one person would have had the right to holiday and sick pay, and a pension. Meanwhile, productivity has flatlined.

  9. Thomas

    To be fair to the SNP, if it were the Tories that had nearly all the seats in Scotland they would be the SNP’s main target.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That would have a different dynamic, as the Tories were in office. The SNP plan is to deny Labour the majority it needs to remove the Tories from office, so Labour will be forced to seek an alliance. The SNP is telling voters this is what will happen if they support that party. The ulterior motive is that it will push for legislation that weakens the UK and strengthens Scotland’s ability to demand independence, quitting any alliance when the SNP feels strong enough – and at a weak point for Labour. The intention, long-term, is still independence from a UK that would go back to Tory control due to public disillusion with Labour – because of a Labour deal with the SNP.
      Ed Miliband knows this. That’s why he’s saying the only way to get the Tories out – and keep them out – is for Scottish voters to support Labour.
      The SNP campaign intentionally helps nobody but the SNP.

  10. Emyr

    Pathetic shallow article. You can’t argue with facts. Labour did ally with the Tories to get a no vote. Liebour did/do support cuts. Vote Plaid Vote SNP and force Labour to be progressive

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Pathetic shallow comment. You can’t even support yourself with facts. Labour campaigned for a no vote – it just happened that the Tories were doing the same and it made sense to pool resources in order to win. Labour supports a growing economy; the amount of cuts necessary to achieve what the British people say they want (a balanced budget in the shortest reasonable time) is tiny compared to the size of the UK budget.
      Do NOT vote Plaid or SNP; you’ll end up with another Conservative government.

      1. Emyr

        Oh no no no.
        Labour want to preserve the union to get Donkey lobby fodder. The Scots have thankfully seen through this. If you get a majority lab govt you get Tory lite. If you want a progress’ve govt then vote to get lab supported by Plaid and SNP.
        look you go to a bar in America and order Bud or Bud lite both taste awful. That Tory or Labour. You want a full bodied sasisfyingg brew then ask for one think of it as Plaid or SNP as craft microbrews who turn out excellent brews

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        What on Earth is “Donkey lobby fodder”? Please explain what it is and show us some evidence to support your claim.
        Show us also why you think Labour is “Tory lite”, when Labour is planning to reverse so much harmful Tory policy and restore so much that will be good for the people of the UK. Have you not read Labour’s manifesto? It’s full of good ideas.
        But all that could be put at risk if people support the nationalists, who have their own agenda that has nothing to do with the good of the people of the UK and everything to do with their own selfishness.
        Your comparison with alcoholic beverages does not deserve comment.

  11. Ghotis

    The SNP have been perfectly clear that they don’t support the Tory agenda. You want to know why they’re not actively campaigning against the Tories? It’s perfectly simple: there are almost ZERO seats where the SNP are in competition with the Tories. And that’s not going to change in hurry.

    It’s the same reason that Murphy, Davidson and Rennie ganged up on and grilled Sturgeon in the debates and on Sunday Politics. With very little criticism of each other. The reason is that the SNP are the only party with a credible shot of winning in every single seat.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If the SNP really wants to get a powerful voice in Westminster for the good of everybody in the UK – as Nicola Sturgeon has been saying recently (she changed her tune, didn’t she?), then the SNP should be telling people across the UK not to vote Tory.
      But the SNP isn’t doing that, is it? Because that might negate any negotatiating power it would have with all those seats.
      No – the SNP needs the Tories to have a large number of seats in England, if not also in Wales, with allies in NI, in order to have that influence.
      So Sturgeon will keep her trap shut.
      It’s tacit support of the Tories. Now, what political party, with an interest in what’s good for the people, would do that?
      NO political party.
      Sturgeon and the SNP are trying to make fools of the Scottish people – and those in the rest of the UK as well.

      1. Ghotis

        You won’t believe the SNP don’t support the Tory agenda unless they, with no seats or influence outside of Scotland, tell English voters not to vote Tory? Righto.

        Sturgeon has categorically and explicitly ruled out working with the Conservatives; and has been scathingly critical of the austerity agenda at every turn. On the other hand she’s offered confidence to Miliband at Westminster.

        The cynicism of Labour is what’s letting them down. The constant bad faith. Their bitter, cynical approach to the SNP and their supporters (“cultists”, “religious”, etc). While the SNP have been busy providing the counterargument to the austerity agenda that people are CRYING out for: short-term deficit spending, Keynes, etc. You know? The arguments Labour used to make. But now we have Ed Balls over-ruling Jim Murphy, pointing out that they WILL be sticking to a cuts agenda (why? because they want to attract votes from the right in middle England).

        This cynical approach from Labour has done nothing but increase support for the SNP. Labour really need to rethink their approach and the impression they’re giving voters. You think sneering at Labour-SNP defectors and calling them cultists is winning Labour any endearment?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t refer to SNP bullies as ‘cultists’ because I support Labour. I call them cultists because that’s what they are. There’s no bitterness or cynicism about it; it’s a case of seeing a thing and applying the appropriate name.
        SNP supporters like talking about opinion polls so if you want to claim the SNP is making all the ground with counter-austerity arguments, let me remind you that the opinion polls put Ed Miliband a LONG way ahead of Nicola Sturgeon on the debt/deficit after last Thursday’s leader debate. The people support Labour on this.
        I notice you label Labour’s approach as “cynical” no less than three times in your comment. Why so keen to label the freshest thing on offer in that way, if not to run it down? That seems a little… I don’t know… cynical to me.

  12. Emyr

    Lobby fodder. Donkeys with red rossettes. I’m from the valleys and have seen heard and experiencied it all. They don’t give a Danny about their constituents or Wales. They only care about themselves. They like the cushy zlondon lifestyle. Some of them were barely literate.

  13. Ghotis

    I don’t find Labour’s policies entirely cynical. Some are great and I wish they’d drop the obstructive approach to the SNP and actually work with them against the right. It’s the attitude of Labour & many supporters to the SNP that is cynical. “Cultists” etc.

    I voted Labour last General Election. I voted labour in the Scottish Elections in 2011. In fact, I’ve voted Labour every election other than the first election I voted in (in which I voted SSP – I was only 18). Now I see the SNP doing a competent (no Government is perfect) job of running the country; I see them making the economic arguments I want to hear from Labour; I see them creating accessible and pro-active politicians in my constituency; I go into the constituency campaign office to see what’s what and I don’t see raging Nationalists or any independence rhetoric – I see calm, friendly, discussion about local issues, urban regeneration, etc. I’ve never even seen my incumbent Labour candidate because he doesn’t live anywhere near the area. I don’t hear very much denigration of Labour; yet all we hear from Labour is constant sniping about the SNP.
    So I’ll be one of the many switching to SNP this time around.

    For this reasoned and dispassionate analysis of my electoral options, I find Labour and much of the press attacking my ilk as zealots, cultists, extremists, etc.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I wish the SNP would drop the negative campaign against Labour and actually try to win seats on the strengths of its own policies. It is the SNP that is obstructing any co-operation – and in any case there are severe doubts about that party’s claim to be left-wing.
      I do not see the SNP doing any of the things you say you see, but I would point out that there would be no need for raging nationalism or independence rhetoric in a room full of people who are all of that persuasion already.
      I do see denigration of Labour – including in your own comments, never mind the fact that you backtracked a little at the start of this one.
      I find it curious that you have to claim that your comments about the SNP are a “reasoned and dispassionate analysis”. Protesting too much, to paraphrase Shakespeare?
      Let’s see the SNP stop attacking Labour and start attacking Tories, and I’ll reconsider my attitude to that party.

      1. ghotis

        As has already been pointed out, SNP frequently attack the Tories including completely ruling out any kind of formal or informal deal with the Tories. Not to mention strong and sustained criticism of the Tory economic and welfare policies. The Tories, however, are not where the primary debate is for the SNP in the GE because, as has been said, the SNP are not in competition with the Tories for any seats!

        I’m not actually convinced you know much about the SNP other than the caricature you’ve picked up from the press and the “sharper” end of the debate that gets disproportionate exposure through social media. Trust me, on the ground views within the SNP are generally broad, mature and nuanced. There is even a breadth of opinions on independence within the SNP. From fundamentalists (independence now at any cost – not a viewpoint I agree with at all), to gradualists (independence as a distant, long term, generation spanning goal) and all shades in between. I’ve even encountered numerous independence sceptics within the SNP (yes, there were No voting SNP supporters) who like the SNP’s social democratic attitude and commitment to localism but are not necessarily convinced that independence is necessary.

        However, if you’ve limited your window into the SNP to the mainstream press and a minority of loudmouths on “Twitter” and the like I can see how you might get the wrong impression.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Why should anyone trust you to provide any kind of balanced view on the SNP? You’ve already demonstrated that you’re a full-on supporter.
        It’s impossible to accept your criticism that my view is limited when you’ve blinkered your own so heavily.

      3. Sinky

        You’ve already demonstrated you’re a full-on supporter of Labour Mike, why should anyone trust you to provide any kind of balanced view on Labour?

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Because everybody knows – including and especially the Labour leadership – that I criticise Labour just as strongly as anyone else, if not more so, when I see fault there.

  14. Gregor

    I watched Ed balls say he wouldn’t change anything about Osbornes 30b austerity plan. That’s not a lie which completely destroys all your credibility in my eyes. As usual the only defence for labour is lies, bluffs and lies.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If it’s not a lie then you are desperately, badly mistaken. Osborne said he would not change Osborne’s budget. The £30 billion of austerity cuts is a Conservative Party plan and is nothing to do with the Labour Party. Labour doesn’t need to defend itself when an attack is based on errors.
      I hope this restores my credibility in your eyes.

  15. Jim Round

    I have a few friends in Aberdeen and Inverness, Aberdeen councilis Labour controlled Inverness (Highland) is SNP controlled.
    Some in Aberdeen are annoyed that after years of oil money, the infrastructure of the city is in need of investment and nothing appears to happen.
    On to Inverness and the SNP leader has come in for criticism for wasting money on projects and other things, he is now the SNP candidate against Danny Alexander???
    The point here is no party comes out looking good on this and I’m sur there are similar stories (I also know a little about Tameside) up and down the UK. People blame (right or wrong) past and/or previous Holyrood and Westminster governments.í
    The problem is, and will be until the political landscape changes, is that apathy is going to get bigger among the electorate.

    1. Jim Round

      I apologise for the poor punctuation and spacing, so called “smartphone” (proceeds to throw it against the wall)

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You should try using Twitter on a Kindle Fire – autocorrect is absolute murder.

  16. Barry Davies

    Simple Question Mike why would the snp waste time electioneering against the tories when most of the seats are labour and the others libdum?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      They say they want to lock the Tories out of government; let’s see them put a little effort into it.

  17. john keen

    Sticking my Ha’penny worth in;

    I rather like Sturgeon but it is a fact that she has been Labour bashing somewhat around the country and the sticking point it seems is her apparent desire for another referendum on independence which is an insult to the majority of voters who rejected independence in the one recently held.

    Now IF (and it’s so large an “IF” you’ll likely need climbing gear to get over it) Sturgeon would state that a second referendum was NOT her hope nor on her horizon it would certainly ease many worries of the other parties and infact destroy much of their rhetoric against any kind of alliance, it would also be helpful for the SNP to Support Labour outside Scotland rather than to do anything they can to weaken them.

    Her strategy is certainly pretty confusing at the moment, so much potential being destroyed by a flawed strategy.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      She says she would only consider another referendum if a major change happened – such as, perhaps, the SNP winning many Parliamentary seats?

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