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If you’ve heard anyone in a blue tie on television speak in the last 4 months chances are they’ve stated that Miliband (the sexy one, if twitter is anything to go by) would consider joining forces with the SNP but what does this mean for our glorious unified nation? Tim Moss investigates…
In the last week George Osbourne has come out to warn the nation that if Labour and SNP join forces the average Briton will be £350 worse off, or was it John Major, David Cameron or A Tory dossier? I forget), according to the Daily Mail, this figure comes from £6 billion worth of interest payments coming from ‘end to austerity’, ‘rising benefits payments’ and ‘abolition of Trident.’ Which is interesting maths considering scrapping Trident is a budget cut, but maybe that’s just pernickety. Their concerns are serious and real. Sarah Vine, wife of Michael Gove, is scared the country will become a ‘communist dictatorship’ with Scotland and the north ‘leaching of [sic]us till we die.’
But where did all this fear come from? It seems to stem from some key factors: the strength of the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon being one, who since the referendum has risen to become the most popular party leader in Britain (except Bez; if you can’t win a constituency in Salford on the back of dancing to Kinky Afro, then what can?). After exponential membership growth and some polls predicting a ‘total wipe-out’ for Labour, it seems that for Labour will have to have a coalition with SNP if they are to get a majority in parliament.
While Ed Miliband has flat out refused to have formal coalition with the SNP and has since stated that there would be no SNP ministers in his government, the Conservatives have pointed out that he has refused to rule out striking an informal deal with them. Which makes sense really, after all, no one actually knows what could happen.
If it did happen, Nicola Sturgeon would probably insist on ending Trident, which would realistically, considering the logic of minority government, would mean Trident would be moved to Dover. Sturgeon is, like any left-wing party should be, anti-austerity. Which essentially means she thinks we should stop cutting budgets to the point that people end up in absolute poverty. SNP want a more progressive tax system than Labour, to stay in the EU and to oppose the NHS’s ongoing privatisation (see the 2012 Health and Social Care Act for more information on that). Coincidently, this is also what Plaid Cymru and the Green Party want too, who are both also to the Left of Labour of the spectrum.
There is the real danger of the SNP campaigning for another referendum. After all, if they were able to secure one with just 6 MPs (and to be fair a lot of MSPs), it is interesting what they’ll do with 50 odd. But this danger is real no matter who is in power; consider which party they were secured the referendum from last time.
For me, I’m more concerned about the bigger threat of the possible people the Conservatives would have to strike a deal with. With everyone’s favourite third party facing a political nose-dive, a Tory majority would depend on striking a deal with the homophobic DUP– which Cameron hasn’t ruled out, the cringe-worthily populist UKIP, which Cameron also hasn’t ruled out, or what’s left of the Lib Dems, which went quite well last time. The Conservatives have a habit of using scare tactics like this on their opponents.
It works quite well. But you have to wonder, if people saw through the threats about Labour being on puppet strings to the SNP, or the Unions, or Russia, if the Conservatives weren’t so worried about being known for being in the pockets of Rupert Murdoch, tax avoiders and private healthcare companies, what their scare tactics would they choose?
To conclude, if Labour get in, other left wing parties (Plaid Cymru, Greens and SNP) may support them on certain things. That is all that really is confirmed at the moment.