The British Election

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, April 4th, 2015 - 67 comments
Categories: International, Politics, uk politics - Tags: ,

Britain is going to the polls on May 7, 2015.  Current polling suggests that the main parties are neck and neck. But the vagaries of FPP and a surge of nationalism in Scotland mean that the result is becoming utterly unpredictable.

The one and only leader’s debate has taken place.  The video is above.  There was some controversy as Labour’s urging for a Miliband Cameron debate was turned down by the tories. They opted instead for a folksy interview and this latest multi leader debate.

I suspect Cameron preferred this because he calculated that Labour faced the greater risk of leakage than the Conservatives if the minor parties were given exposure although to be fair the situation appeared to be complex with threats of legal action possibly having an effect. After watching the debate I think Cameron’s calculations may be right.

The leaders of some of the minor parties were very impressive. Natalie Bennett of the Green Party was principled, and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru was passionate. But to my mind Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party was the standout performer. She was tough and determined and more than held her own against her better known opponents.

Nigel Farage was as disgraceful as I thought he would be. Talking about immigrants suffering from HIV showed a complete lack of humanity and the responses from the others were totally appropriate.

Nick Clegg was missing in the debate.  He may be in danger of losing his seat.

The dynamics of the election are interesting.  Labour and the Conservatives will have many more seats than their polling deserves.  The Greens are polling at about 6% but are predicted by the Guardian at this stage to only win one seat.  The Lib Dems are polling at about 7% and are predicted to pick up 25 seats.  Dare I say this but even though it is polling at about 15% the UKIP is predicted at this stage to only pick up four seats and this does not seem fair.

The really interesting result could be in Scotland where the SNP is predicted to win up to 56 seats, with many of the gains coming from Labour.  William Wallace would be proud and Labour must regret the way it handled the Scottish Independence referendum.  It will also have to make peace with the SNP.  The predicted seats are double the number of seats that the SNP would win if representation was proportional.

The current prediction is that Labour may need the support of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Sinn Fein to get to the magical number of 326 seats.  Celts of the world would celebrate such a Government.

Miliband’s ruling out going into coalition with the SNP is farcical.  The numbers clearly suggest that a progressive government will require SNP support.

67 comments on “The British Election”

  1. Bill 1

    A couple of things worth mentioning Micky.

    The SNP has ruled out a coalition with Labour too (Trident renewal being a bottom line). They’ve also basically ruled out a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement. Now I’m guessing the reason for that is that they’d be bound to vote positively on Labour austerity budgets which is anathema to the SNP who want fiscally responsible spending increases across the board. They’ve stated they’ll lock the Tories out of government if they (the Tories) are the largest post election party. They’ll give an initial vote of confidence to the Labour party and then proceed on a vote by vote basis.

    Sinn Fein boycott Westminster and I honestly can’t see that changing. Also, the chances of their vote being needed is fairly slim.

    And although the SNP may hold the balance of power, Nicola Sturgeon will have little to do with how that operates. The SNP has a Westminster leader and Sturgeon isn’t standing in the UK elections. Alex Salmond has said he won’t punt for the position of SNP leader in Westminster if he wins his seat, but regardless, Westminster parties are going to have rings run around them by the SNP who will be the only party in Westminster who have recent experience of minority government and the plays and ploys that make or break it.

    Maybe also worth noting that google apparently had a lot of searches on whether people in England could vote SNP after that debate (they can’t) and SNP membership rose by a further 1800 during the debate to now stand in excess of 100 000 – which isn’t bad given Scotland’s population base.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Thanks Bill. Your understanding of UK politics is much deeper than mine.

      So Labour will obviously have to make peace with the SNP. And if the price of this is no Trident renewal and no austerity budgets then all good!

      I was trying to think of a similar situation in New Zealand politics. Perhaps the Labour New Labour difficulties back in the early 1990s were similar.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        Labour won’t agree to no Trident renewal. So…there won’t be a coalition. With no ‘confidence and supply’ agreement, the SNP can force modifications on Labour’s austerity focused budgets…or Labour can turn to the Tories for support.

        There was an odd law change around UK elections that might allow the SNP to simply vote against budgets without triggering a new election…The Fixed Term Parliaments Act. It looks as though Parliament cannot be dissolved without 2/3rds of the members voting for dissolution. (Section 2 of the Act)

        Anyway, that as it may be, I guess the illusion of left and right as represented by Labour and the Tories is about to vanish under the spectacle of those two propping one another up in vote after vote after vote.

        What I mean by that is that any informal, or ‘vote by vote’ agreement presented to the public will be an SNP/Labour one, but that most votes could be passed by a pro-austerity Labour and Tories voting in concert.

        • ScottGN

          Are you saying that the Fixed Term Parliaments Act would override the constitutional framework common to all the Westminster parliaments ie that the Budget is a simple majority confidence vote and failure to win that vote requires the Sovereign to either call another election or invite a different party leader to try and form a government that can win the confidence of the House?

          • Bill

            The Sovereign no longer has the power to recall or dissolve parliament. Outside of the statutory fixed term, it takes 2/3rds of seats (vacant included) to dissolve parliament.

            edit : as Alex Salmond has said, it seems nobody bothered to read the fcking thing. That, or they were so stuck in FFP head space that certain scenarios simply never occurred to who-ever drafted or passed it.

            • ScottGN

              Having a very cursory look at the act it seems that in addition to the 2/3rds majority to dissolve parliament for an early election, section 2, subsection 4 of the act allows for the government to fall if a confidence vote is lost in the House. Supply bills are always confidence votes. Therefore if the SNP was to vote down a Labour budget my understanding is that unless the government can win another confidence vote within 14 days of the initial vote (subsection 5) that would trigger a dissolution of the House and an early election.

              • lurgee

                The governement that wins a motion of confidence 14 days after losing one need not be the same government, if you follow me. If the SNP brought down a Labour government, they might find themselves facing a Tory Lib-Dem administration, or a Tory-Labour unity administration to ‘see out the term’ and ‘protect Britain’s parliament’ from interference from ‘Nationalist wreckers.’

                The SNP will have to play their hand carefully, and cynically.

        • lurgee

          I think it is far more likely that the SNP will find it in their hearts to compromise on Trident.

          In spite of their good running, they are actually in a tricky position.

          If the Tories are the largest party in in a hanged parliament, and the SNP are in a position to stop them getting into power, but do not, the SNP will be abjured by the Scottish voters. The Scottish public will not countenance a Tory led government being tacitly supported by the SNP over something the Scottish public aren’t quite as vehement about as the SNP are.

          It is also worth pointing out that many people in Scotland have jobs that depend on military spending. I grew up in Helensburgh, beside the Faslane submarine base. We didn’t like having it there, but we didn’t like the idea of not having it there either, as it brought in so much money to the town.

          It is (slightly) interesting that the SNP boost is not coming entirely at Labour’s expense. A lot of it seems to be the anti-Tory, anti-Labour, anti-Nats who have traditionally voted Lib Dem, which is the bloc that has resulted in the Lib Dems always being over-represented in Scotland.

          The reality is that the SNP will be under immense pressure to support Labour, because a lot of their support is former Labour that will be disgusted if the SNP do not help Milliband into Downing Street and help keep him there. About 12% of the SNP vote (according to polling analysis) is from Labour, and it is the most volatile. They aren’t interested in Independence, but are interested in pushing Labour into power and pushing Milliband to the left – it’s a tactic to outflank the still powerful Balirite pseudo-conservative, anti-progressive right wing of the party.

          The other 12% of the SNP’s new support is largely drawn from the Lib Dems, who have always enjoyed an unusually high degree of support in Scotland. That’s largely because of the peculiar nature of Scottish politics.

          No-one is suggesting, I think, that the Highlands and Islands are havens for those concerned with Gay rights and electoral reform. But they are full of people who won’t vote Tory (too English in profoundly conservative rural Scotland), won’t vote Labour (too urban in profoundly conservative rural Scotland) and won’t vote SNP (too nationalist in profoundly conservative rural Scotland) so they schizophrenically vote for the Lib Dems. Now that vote seems to have shifted to the SNP – along with a fair chunk of Labour’s vote.

          It looks like being the most interesting election in aeons, or at least since 1997.

          The SNP and the UKIP are wild cards, but of different sorts. The UKIP may critically injure the Tories in crucial constituencies, allowing Labour or the Lib Dems to win what should have been unwinnable seats. But they (UKIP) won’t win many seats at all, just make it harder for the Tories. The SNP, on the otherhand, probably will win a lot of seats, mostly from Labour.

          But as the only option for the SNP is to work with Labour, formally or informally, that doesn’t hurt Labour nearly as much as the UKIP hurts the Tories.

          Also, Miliband has shown he’s not useless in debates, so he’ll be getting lots of good coverage over the next few weeks. Cameron, on the other hand, is coming across more and more as a loathsome toff turd – A “bunch of hypocritical, holier-than-thou, hopeless, sneering socialists” indeed. Dave, apart from the last word (which hardly applies to Labur, alas!) you just described your own party. Too a hypocritical, holier-than-thou,, hopeless, sneering tee.

          • Bill

            The SNP have already stated that they will ‘lock out’ the Tories if the Tories are the largest party by voting them down after the Queens speech (or whatever it’s called). They have asked the Labour Party to make the same commitment so that the numbers are assured. Labour won’t make the commitment. The SNP have also stated that they will vote in favour of a minority Labour-led government.

            Neither the SNP nor the Greens (they are campaigning together on the issue) have any reason to back down on trident.

            edit : And from the horses mouth… In the meantime, I repeat my challenge to Ed Miliband: if together our parties have the numbers required after 7 May, and regardless of which is the biggest party, will he and Labour join with us in locking David Cameron out of Downing Street?

            Nicola Sturgeon is first minister of Scotland


            • lurgee

              It’s easy enough for Nicola to strike these postures; harder for Labour to signal support. The SNP are unlikely to lose ground by collapsing a parliament. Labour will, as their soft right wing defects and the tories point to the SNP and bray about how this is what happens when the Nationalists are given the reins of power and the only solution is a strong Conservtive majority … which, in turn won’t hurt the SNP but will mean five more years of lives being blighted by the Tories.

              The SNP can make intransigent noises about Trident just now, but expect to see them ameliorate their position as necessary if the numbers dictate it. I admire Sturgeon and think she is to smart to destroy a parliament and set up a Conservative victory over something than can be conveniently dropped into the basket labelled “We’ll do this when we have independence” basket.

              • mickysavage

                Of course if Labour came out and said no to Trident they would save considerable expense and contribute to world peace at the same time. I don’t know what the polling on the issue is like but it could be a way to improve relations with the SNP.

                • Bill

                  Labour. Trident. NATO. ‘In the club’.

                  They can’t say no to trident having committed to a supposedly independent nuclear defence option decades ago…unless the left of the party enjoys a resurgence.

                  Now. This ‘fear’ that the SNP will push Labour to the left….

              • Bill

                You’re ignoring general Scottish sentiments there (as well as SNP and Green party ones) and propagating a Tory meme there Lurgie. (Collapsing a minority Labour government and allowing the Tories in)

                Lets be clear. If the SNP allowed the Tories to ‘take the benches’ at Westminster, the SNP would be finished. It’s that simple.

                Independence may or may not be a campaign issue come the Holyrood elections in 2016. But, and I think the SNP have made this clear, it’s got fuck all to do with Westminster elections. (Securing the conditions made in ‘The Vow’ that the ‘No’ side put out a couple of days before the independence vote? Yes.)

                On Trident. The SNP have against trident for many, many years and was a major theme in their ‘Yes’ campaign. It’s not some opportunistic, vote catching nonsense.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Anti Trident has been a small party vote catcher for many years in UK.

                  This from Lib- Dems

                  “Britain’s nuclear deterrent, which consists of four Trident submarines, is out-dated and expensive. It is a relic of the Cold War and not up-to-date in 21st century Britain. Nowadays, most of our threats come from individual terrorist groups, not communist countries with nuclear weapons.
                  The Liberal Democrats are the only main party willing to face up to those facts.”

                  The post script is that they are sitting on the fence, some replacement, occasional patrols. hahaha.

                • lurgee

                  You’re ignoring general Scottish sentiments there (as well as SNP and Green party ones) and propagating a Tory meme there Lurgie. (Collapsing a minority Labour government and allowing the Tories in)

                  Lets be clear. If the SNP allowed the Tories to ‘take the benches’ at Westminster, the SNP would be finished. It’s that simple.

                  When I referred to the SNP destroying a parliament and setting up a Tory victory, the scenario I am envisaging is an early dissolution and a second general election in late 2015 or 16, with the Tories triumphant. Some in the SNP would actually quite like that, I suspect. Sturgeon, I think, is not one of them. She probably actually wants to make some changes, rather than pull faces from the opposition side. Sadly, many Scots are so used to being gubbed we think that face pulling actually counts as some sort of victory.

                  Sturgeon’s problem is if she gets what she wants and Labour need her to form an administration. She’ll probably be forced to confront the Trident issue. Labour just need to put it into a budget and if the SNP refuse to support it, down comes the government; then either we end up with a Tory administration, and the balme directed at the SNP, or another election, leading to a probable Tory majority.

                  Actually being in power actually has some degree of responsibility. That’s another reason my feckless country men enjoy the face pulling – it carries no direct and obvious burden of responsibility. I’ll wager devo-max will be traded for Trident.

                  A few nukes is a small price to pay for not having the Tories in power.

                  • Bill

                    …an early dissolution and a second general election in late 2015 or 16,…

                    Except for the small detail that it takes 2/3rds of the total number of seat to vote for a dissolution of Parliament if a vote is lost. And the SNP simply are not, not ever going to go down that path of being responsible for allowing the Tories in. But sure. Apart from that, it’s a fine theory.

                    Devo-max/home rule or whatever term you prefer was a part of ‘the vow’ made by the ‘No’ camp. The SNP have said their intention is to see it fulfilled.

                    And again Trident. The SNP simply won’t vote for renewal. Labour with Tory support will ensure that vote goes through.

                    • lurgee

                      You’re overlooking the 14 day automatic dissolution. Expenditure votes are automatic confidence votes, if the government can not pass them, then it automatically falls. If the Tories aren’t in a position to forma government, then parliament is dissolved and there’s another election.

                      If the SNP won’t vote for a budget that includes Trident, it is unlikely the Tories will either. Why would they? It isn’t in their interests to keep Ed Milliband in power. The Conservatives can happily let a Labour administration fall, looking forward to winning an election on a “We’ll do the job properly, unlike that parcel of rogues” ticket and present their own budget with Trident front and centre.

                      Which is a lose-lose situation for the SNP. Out of power, discredited, and still with Trident. Make that a lose-lose-lose situation. Pragmatism would turn two of these losses into wins.

                      (Which is as close to outright victory as any Scot can hope for.)

                    • Bill

                      Expenditure votes are automatic confidence votes, if the government can not pass them, then it automatically falls.

                      Nope. Not any more. They might trigger a confidence vote…that needs 2/3rds of all seats (including those that are vacant) to vote ‘no confidence’.

                    • lurgee

                      You’re confusing confidence votes in the current government and votes to dissolve the current parliament.

                      A no confidence vote, on a simple majority, dissolves the government, but not parliament. All supply bills are automatically confidence votes, because if you can’t pass your budget, you obviously don’t have the confidence of the house.

                      A vote to dissolve parliament early requires a 2/3 majority, or 14 days with no new administration being formed.

                    • Bill

                      Budget fails. Confidence motion called. SNP back confidence in Labour. -end-

                      Yes, I was confusing two issues, but it doesn’t alter the facts.

                      Here’s the legislation.

                      Early parliamentary general elections

                      (1)An early parliamentary general election is to take place if—

                      (a)the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (2), and
                      (b)if the motion is passed on a division, the number of members who vote in favour of the motion is a number equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats).

                      (2)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) is—

                      “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.”

                      (3)An early parliamentary general election is also to take place if—

                      (a)the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (4), and

                      (b)the period of 14 days after the day on which that motion is passed ends without the House passing a motion in the form set out in subsection (5).

                      (4)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (3)(a) is—

                      “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”

                      (5)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) is—

                      “That this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”


                  • lurgee

                    Yeah, but as I understand it, budget motions are automatically confidence motions. It indicates the house does not trust the government to spend money, i.e. has no confidence in it.


                    So if the SNP vote against a bill allocating funds to Trident, then a minority Labour government falls (unless the Tories decide to save it, which seems very much against their interests). Then a new administration forms or the house dissolves if that is not possible.

  2. Bill 2

    And as an indicator of the dumb-arse shit being flung around by…well, I would say the Labour Party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, but it’s essentially the British establishment, this unsubstantiated and simply not credible piece lands in ‘The Telegraph’ claiming that Sturgeon told the French Ambassador that she’d prefer Cameron to be PM over Miliband.

    edit: Christ on a bike! Riding in tandem with ‘The Telegraph’, The Daily Mail has a front page headline proclaiming Sturgeon as ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 2.1

      essentially the British establishment

      Many parts of the Fourth Estate, including The Torygraph, are part of the establishment of course.

    • mickysavage 2.2

      Wow. Makes our media look responsible and restrained …

      • Bill 2.2.1

        The bit that makes me laugh is that no-one in Scotland will be buying into that shit. That voters in England and Wales may buy into it is neither here nor there in terms of the prospective SNP vote.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Well they wouldnt have that on the front page of Scottish editions !

          Daily Mail- serving up alarming tory nonsense for over 70 years

    • ScottGN 2.3

      I’m a bit puzzled by this gambit by The Telegraph really. It seems to run counter to what the Tory strategy has been so far this election. They haven’t got a show in Scotland (and they don’t care anyway) so they’re happy for the SNP to take seats off Labour (lots of seats it seems) and then they can frighten wavering English voters back into the Tory fold by claiming that Miliband will be in the pocket of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Maybe they just couldn’t help themselves. Maybe polling is showing that British voters outside of Scotland are getting to know Sturgeon a bit and quite like her.

      • Bill 2.3.1

        I’m guessing that in their out of touch way, they were hoping to scare Scottish voters into simply not voting SNP. Preserve the cozy old boys club of Westminster. Both the Tories and Labour are fucked if the SNP wipe the board in Scotland and wield genuine power in Westminster.

      • lurgee 2.3.2

        The Telegraph has simply gone mad, recently. I dont know if any more complex explanation is required. It was always a bit of a reactionary uncle who drinks too much and holds forth endlessly and embarrassingly at family occasions sort of newspaper, but I think in the last few years it has genuinely lost the plot. I think it has tried to ape the success of the Daly Mail, and this has mortally offended the principled conservatives who worked there and the professional journalists.

    • ScottGN 2.4

      Great comment in the Guardian with this
      “The Telegraph ‘story’ has the fecal traces of Skidmark Crosby smeared all across it.”

      • mickysavage 2.4.1

        Yep talk about Dirty Politics UK style. And the fact that everyone in the meeting denies that the comment was made shows how bizarre the claim is.

        I expect there will be ads showing two rowing boats soon with the Labour/SNP/Green/Plaid Cymru resembling the local version from last election.

        I expect the target is to scare swinging English voters from “putting it all at risk” by giving the Scots too much power.

        • ScottGN

          The Tories main concern is that there are almost as many marginal seats in England that they and the LibDems are in danger of losing to Labour as there are Labour seats in Scotland that may go to the SNP. Consequently their strategy has been to portray Miliband as beholden to Salmond and Sturgeon (the campaign poster of Salmond looking down at a mini Miliband tucked in his breast pocket was really rather good). In the wake of the Indyref while the English were a bit shitty about what they saw as Scottish have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too it worked. Now however Sturgeon has gate crashed the election campaign and polls are showing that english voters actually quite like her (and her anti-austerity message). Hence the leaked ‘fake’ memo from the French Consul. It looks more and more like both Labour and the Tories have seriously under-estimated Nicola Sturgeon.

  3. Bill 3

    The predicted seats are double the number of seats that the SNP would win if representation was proportional.

    Of course, another perspective is that a political Treaty of Union predicated on equality should have meant that 50% of Westminster was comprised of Scottish based MPs…

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Treaty of Union meant 50% ?

      Dont know where you got that from ? At the time they had the trump card in the Stuarts replaced the English ruling family.
      The English cut the head off one, and then sent the last one packing.

      The Guelphs have been a largely nondescript borderline insane group.

      Electress Sophia was head and shoulders above all of them, and she was really a Stuart.

  4. Penny Bright 4

    Any summary of POLICIES and PROVEN TRACK RECORDS of the major parties in the upcoming UK election?

    Penny Bright

    • Bill 4.1

      A summary?

      Labour, Conservatives, UKIP and Liberal Democrats are all pro-austerity to one degree or another as per neo-liberal economic dogma.

      The Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru are all anti-austerity.

      I mean, I know that’s very basic, but everything else flows from there.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 4.1.1

        Sturgeon was a clear stand-out especially when she said:

        “We need to invest and grow our way out of austerity.”

  5. mikesh 6

    “The predicted seats are double the number of seats that the SNP would win if representation was proportional.”

    Presumably they would still have the same number of seats, but with a 28 seat overhang.

  6. Ecosse_Maidy 7

    Sturgeon debated in a forthright style with a human touch.

    She held the Westminster Old Boys Club to account especially Cameron and it showed. It showed in bright relief there is an alternative to the menu of cuts, austerity, more cuts all aimed at the lower end of the society, not because of need yet because of Ideology, especially of The Tories.

    Cameron under the strings of Crosby will pull out all the dirty tricks to smear the agenda of hope over cuts. They will use, and are using the right wing press and soon no doubt big industry to demean Sturgeons Hope agenda. They will raise the spectra of a Millibland Labour- Sturgeon,Salmond SNP, ,understanding pact, confidence and supply, call it what one likes, as a bad thing for Democracy in “Britain”….This means translated a bad thing for them…Tory South East based England. They will try and weaponise this tactic, to try and get people in England to tactically switch in swing seats away from a potential Labour vote to Them, under the mantra of keeping Sturgeon-Milliband out of power and influence.

    Now Sturgeon is used to this sort of treatment from the establishment, especially during the referendum campaign and despite a NO Vote, it was shown that you can navigate round big business threats and Westminster smears. Hopefully this will occur again and also that people in Wales, Northern Ireland, England will perceive Strurgeon for what she is, a progressive politician with a message of hope and competence.

    Only time will tell.

    The only thing more despicable at how the Tories/Crosby are painting the Rise of Sturgeon and a potential SNP/Labour co existence is the Tories haven’t ruled out a coalition, pact, alliance with Farage’s Racist UKIP. Oh the whiff of rank hypocracy!

    The surge in Scotland is no surprise, the only surprise is it hasn’t happened earlier, under New Labours promises of Jam tomorrow. Yet Sturgeon offers a form on pragmatic socialism that Labour sold out on….yet Scots have and are still buying into this via the SNP

    The SNP will have a have a much larger proportion of MPs at Westminster, its just about the numbers now. And I feel that Sturgeons Party will be in a position of influence, not only to set an alternative agenda of Hope over Austerity, Improved fiscal autonomy for Scotland yet to offer the other nations within the UK also an alternative to The Tories One Trick Pony Mantra of Balancing the Books to being nothing more than a cover for their Ideological Attachment To Slash & Burn anything that is not of their making.

    The SNP will be the voice of reason, saying that the spending of £100 billion on a replacement for Trident is abhorrent….Odd how Cameron says its the UK’s Independent Nuclear Deterrent yet those outside the Club Of Big Boys Toys whom try to procure them they are Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    I hope that Sturgeons SNP hold the balance of power, not just for Scotlands Interests….yet for the rest of the UK’s too and the wider world.

    Its just a pity, that we don’t have a similar sort of True Left of Centre Party in NZ with advocates like Sturgeons & Salmonds SNP,

    They show there is a better way to engage people in politics, which values all and strengthens society and does not try to break it.

    If they can do it, we can do it…Why not?

  7. Sable 8

    Milliband’s refusal to deal with SNP is no surprise. It echo’s our own Labour party’s attitude towards potential alliance partners and I suspect, for similar reasons.

    Labour in the UK these days has a lot more in common with the Tories than genuine left leaning parties. They are an ersatz left party, that is really moderate right

    That said, the alternative for the Brits, with the Tory’s return to office is akin to our own misfortune, with another three years of US neo con, boot licking, not to mention environmental and social mayhem from the nasty Nats.

    • Bill 8.1

      Milliband hasn’t refused to deal with the SNP. He’ll have to or, and bye-bye UK Labour if he does do this, allow the Tories back in as a minority government.

      • ScottGN 8.1.1

        I reckon Labour and the SNP will come to some sort of C & S minority government arrangement after May 7 if that’s the hand voters deal them. You can’t really blame Miliband for downplaying that prospect at the moment though, he’s under severe pressure in Scotland and trying to win a whole swag of marginals in England. As for Trident – I can’t see a compromise either side really, positions have been too entrenched for too long. The best that can be hoped for is some sort of ‘agree to disagree’ situation whereby Labour will have to look elsewhere in the Commons for votes on that matter. A bit like the way agreements have developed here in NZ. In fact negotiators for the Cons/LibDem agreement after the elections in 2010 spent a lot of time looking at how C & S agreements have been reached in NZ since we moved to MMP.

  8. millsy 9

    Bill said:

    “Labour, Conservatives, UKIP and Liberal Democrats are all pro-austerity to one degree or another as per neo-liberal economic dogma.

    The Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru are all anti-austerity.

    I mean, I know that’s very basic, but everything else flows from there.”

    I think that it is a pretty accurate description.

    Labour has ruled out renationalising the railways, for starters, leaving in place the horribly complex system created 20 years ago (I am pretty sure that was deliberately done to make it hard to be undone). Its welfare spokesperson has also declared that Labour ‘doesnt want to be the party of the welfare system’.

    Like most right wing parties in Trotter’s Anglo Saxon fist, the Conservatives have an ideological opposition to government services, welfare and trade unions. 5 more years of Tory Government will probably lead to a public sector that is less the size it was before the Boer War.

  9. adam 10

    I’m hearing from Scotland, that there is a lot of love for the SNP – more so after the failed vote for Scottish independence. Especially, how the SNP have conducted themselves after losing – it went down well.

    Even those who are hard core labour members, over there are giving up on labour and moving to SNP.

    I got an email from one of the more conservative labour supports I’m friends with, he stated there is no future for labour in Scotland, as they have burnt to many bridges. I was shocked to read that in his email – truly shocked. He even felt disgruntled with the labour party – is still a member – but has not decided how he will vote.

    I Just hope not to many people burn themselves out over this election – it is really the bonfire the left get burnt on, time and time again.

    • lurgee 10.1

      I think people feel it’s safer to support them now, with independence off the table for a decade or so.

      • ScottGN 10.1.1

        That’s probably true but I do think that some credit needs to be given to Sturgeon (or maybe I should just say ‘Nicola’ since she seems to have joined that small group of politicians who come to be know just by their first name). She’s become a very popular First Minister since she took over from Salmond notwithstanding the lunatic rantings of the Daily Mail.

  10. Anne 12

    Wow! Thanks to all of you and mickysavage for your well informed comments. I didn’t understand the political implications of this election (having not taken too much interest up until now), but I will be following it with fascination from now on.

    • mickysavage 12.1

      Thanks Anne. If you want to keep up with UK politics from a Scottish progressive view there is this fascinating website that reminds me of the Standard in both philosophy and approach …

  11. tracey 13

    Thanks to all. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your to and fro.

  12. Anne 14

    My parents were born and bred in London. My father (former British military) had a colourful political past. He and a mate joined the Oswald Mosley Party (didn’t use the N word deliberately) in the mid 1930s because they wanted to find out what it was all about. Went to a few meetings – including a trip to Germany – and was horrified at what he saw even then. Left England with his young family and settled in NZ in 1939. Fought in the Pacific and found the Americans obnoxious. It turned him off them for life. Then he did a 180 degree political spin and joined the NZ Labour Party and voted for them the rest of his life.

    On the basis of the above comments I think he would be rooting for the SNP if he was still around.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 14.1

      Ah the SNP.

      Thank god they didnt have independence before the GFC.

      With Scottish banks supposed to even more larger part of the economy than Ireland it would have been a disaster par excellence as the French would say.

      The Spanish regions like Catalunya have even greater control than Scotland currently has, ended up even greater disaster.

      • Bill 14.1.1

        Thank god they didnt have independence before the GFC

        Yeah, because that would have meant tax-payers from various nations bailing out various banks associated with other nations…as happened. (US taxpayers bailing British banks for instance)

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Royal Bank of Scotland – owned by taxpayer

          Bank of Scotland, the Jacobite bank, pushed into merger with Lloyds.

          The connection with the US is because they had subsidaries operating in US.

          Scotland would have gone cap in hand to be saved by England, or faced a bigger financial catastrophe than Ireland.

          • Bill

            So, from your comment it appears you understand that a bank retrieves its losses from tax-payers across a number of countries it operates in and with the compliance of that country’s government to a bail-out formula and not wholly or even possibly greatly, from the country it’s historically associated as coming from.


  13. Ecosse_Maidy 15

    Thanks Micky for this article.

    You might like to have a read…..of the link below in regard to a recent “Bombshell”claim by the Torigraph (aka The Telegraph) in the UK.

    So starts the attacks upon the SNP and Sturgeon…who has the Daily Fail (aka The Daily Mail ) calling her the “Most Dangerous Woman in the UK”.

    Not that she wouldn’t be expecting it and will weather the storm ( goes to show how worried they are )

  14. Cantabrian 16

    I was not impressed by Natalie Bennett in the debate. Sturgeon and Leanne Wood were outstanding. Bennett seemed to grate somehow – much more than our NZ Green leaders do. I will be interested to see if she wins her seat.

    • ScottGN 16.1

      It’s unlikely. The Greens looks set to win only one seat which is the one they have in The Commons, Brighton Pavilion which is held by Caroline Lucas.

  15. ScottGN 17

    The Guardian’s poll projections today show Labour and the SNP on the verge of a majority.

    • Bill 17.1

      Plaid Cymru are unlikely to go backwards. On current numbers that’s (I think) three mps buried in the ‘others’ total. Then add the one from the Greens.

      So, by my reckoning, the majority is there on that survey – and it comprises of three anti-austerity parties and Labour.

  16. ScottGN 18

    The Times is reporting that Ashcroft polling shows Labour has increased its lead in English marginals they need to win to take government.

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