On the SNP win in Scotland

One way of looking at this is that it\’s not about the SNP winning, nor the Lib Dems imploding (and the Tories are irrelevant outside the Borders anyway).

Rather, the Labour strongholds, where they weigh the votes rather than count them for any old dead donkey with a red rosette, have revolted. The client state has collapsed.

OK, perhaps a tad over-dramatic but not all that much. And yes, it was a Scottish election, on Scottish issues, not a Westminster one on the wider UK issues.

But here\’s what I think is the interesting question.

What if the same happens to those Labour fortresses in the NE, Mersey and the West Midlands?

It\’s something that the BNP tried (and thankfully) failed to do. But does anyone really think that the generational Labour tribalism is going to continue? That these places are forever Red?

Now yes, I am a UKIP partisan and it would be all too easy for me to claim that UKIP are going to do it at the next GE. But of course I don\’t think that\’s probable: but I do think that it\’s possible.

One matey who lives and works in one of these one party states says that he\’s amazed that people don\’t realise quite how fragile they are from the inside. He gives himself a 50/50 chance of taking one of these Northern Labour seats if he can just get the £40/£50k to give it a real go over the next couple of years. His analysis is that you don\’t particularly have to persuade people not to vote Labour: you need to get them to understand that you don\’t have to vote Labour nor for the despised and hated Tories. There really is a viable third option.

Again, being realistic and taking the UKIP partisan hat off, that same matey doesn\’t say that UKIP is the only possible solution, nor that it will inevitably be the beneficiary.

The heart of his analysis is that those Labour heartlands, just as those in Scotland last week, are capable of being shifted away from Labour. To is more difficult, from he thinks is eminently possible. Cutting those 20 odd seats in the NE away from Labour would cut the national party off at the knees. He thinks.

OK, dreamtime over, but wouldn\’t it be absolutely fascinating if he were correct. If those heartlands do implode?

19 thoughts on “On the SNP win in Scotland”

  1. “you need to get them to understand that you don’t have to vote Labour nor for the despised and hated Tories”: that’s pretty much my guess at what happened in Scotland. Once a new patriotic party had emerged to displace the Tories, people were able to junk Labour. Salmond’s next job is to encourage the police to get about their business and see just how many Labour people can be jailed for corruption. The chance may not recur.

  2. Andrew Duffield

    Surely the main flaw in this is that the Scot Nats are an alternative socialist party, whereas UKIP garners support as an alternative to the Tories?

    UKIP as a Euro-sceptic replacement for the Lib Dems might be a better bet in the first instance!

  3. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    Perhaps it’s just recognition that the Westminster teat has been sucked dry, and Scottish independence will allow them to batten onto Brussels.

  4. I lived in Sunderland / South Tyneside most of my life and even if Ed Milliband went door to door and personally smashed every grandmother’s kneecaps… the monkies would still vote for him…

    The only choice that seems to register in the pin heads is if they should vote at all, no vote means they’re not happy with the current leader and a vote means they are.

    The best thing we can offer the Scots as a going away present is everything they fought so hard for 700 years ago, namely everything north of York (and maybe Liverpool as well) as this country might finally be able to get rid of some of the crippling debt and start working its way back to the first world.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Lee – “I lived in Sunderland / South Tyneside most of my life and even if Ed Milliband went door to door and personally smashed every grandmother’s kneecaps… the monkies would still vote for him…”

    Yet the English Democrats won in Doncaster for the post of Mayor. I think TW’s friend may be right. A lot of people are tired of a party that is very tired, corrupt and cut off from the values of its base.

    The problem for UKIP is that the population up North are parasitic on the rest of us. They won’t vote for anyone who promises to cut the money off. They may vote for someone who is socially conservative but only if they promise to keep the cash flowing.

  6. It’s the ‘to’ thing…In Scotland they voted for the SNP as an ‘anybody but Labour’ option. ‘Anybody’ excludes the LibDems who are fatally contaminated, and in truth the SNP are the only game in town. An English alternative to our main two parties (as Salmond has shown) requires charismatic leadership. As good as the lad is, Farage can’t do it all on his own. He needs a left-if-centre coalition partner. The Yes to the AV team missed a trick by not including him on the platform.

  7. The client state hasn’t collapsed. The clients are simply switching allegiance to another party who offer them everything they want.

    The SNP are as deluded as Labour, maybe even more so, about keeping the party going. Their manifesto if implemented would bankrupt any independent state within five years.

  8. Rob nailed it.

    I live on the west coast of Scotland, from a staunchly Labour family, and my father voted SNP on Thursday, first time in his life he hasn’t voted Labour (that’s nearly 50 years of voting). That Salmond is cleary superior in every way to Iain gray provides the cover, that the SNP haven’t completely screwed things up over the last 4 years likewise.

    The point is ideologically the difference is next to nothing, the SNP are a different shade of social democrats, as viscerally anti-Tory as Scottish Labour every were. As Rob says the ‘client state’ is just switching parties.

  9. Perhaps it’s just recognition that the Westminster teat has been sucked dry, and Scottish independence will allow them to batten onto Brussels.

    So they can become another Ireland, followed swiftly by another Act of Union?

  10. Scotland can go and be independent, they can even take their share of the Oil that is in Scotland’s territorial waters.

    Good luck to them.

    However, before ya’ go Alex, there’s a bill to be paid. England, Wales and Northern Ireland own the larger share obviously, but you need to pony up for your share.

    So what will it be? Cash or Charge?

    Alex? are you alright Alex? You look a bit pale matey.

    Divorce is a bitch ‘ain’t it?

  11. Tim, you forget that Labour had their best ever performance in Scotland last year. It is entirely down to the difference between UK and Scottish elections. The SNP aren’t seen as having anything in the game at Westminster, so general elections are still seen as Labour v Tory. And Labour wins big every time. We are not about to see a collapse there.

    But for Scottish elections that schtick doesn’t work. Plus have you seen the muppets Labour have up here? Iain Gray can face down Pinochet’s tanks but he can’t deal with protestors at Queen Street Station!! Salmond towers over everyone on the Scottish political scene but he still won’t win his independence vote. Maybe Cameron should call his bluff and legislate for a UK-wide referendum on the question.

  12. Unfortunately the Labour vote did not collapse in Scotland. It fell I suspact 1-2% overall. What did it was the LudDim collapse which appears to have moved solidly to SNP.

    Still there should be lessons for UKIP in that. People who voted LD simply as a protest at the awfulness of the others, assuming they were somewhat liberal without knowing their policies. The SNP’s real achievement was to be both the governing party and the recipient of protest votes at how bad the government was, at the same time.

  13. @JohnGalt: thats an interesting point – UK national debt is pushing £1bn (or will be by the time any referendum takes place), Scotland has approx one twelfth of UK population. Ergo if Scotland goes it alone it should have to take c. £80-85bn of debt, which is going to cost it £3-3.5bn in interest (assuming they can borrow at 4%). Scottish budget is £33bn annually. Ergo they need to find approx 10% cuts to pay their share of the National Debt.

    That might concentrate a few minds.

  14. Jim says “Scottish budget is £33bn annually.”

    One of the problems that people in the rest of the UK have when they look at the economics of Scotland is that they have not got a clue (which is perfectly understandable, but should give them pause before they comment) .

    The Scottish budget, for example, of £33billion reflects only funds for devolved matters and does not remotely equal all funds raised in Scotland, even ignoring revenue from North Sea Oil.

    On North Sea Oil, most people in the UK (and still too many in Scotland) are unaware that the British Government suppressed information about the value of the oil which an internal report had concluded would provide an independent Scotland with an embarrassment of riches.

    The Chancellor of the time, Dennis Healey, commented many years later that the Scots should heve been able to work that out for themselves (sad to say, on that, he was bloody well right, because only the financially well qualified-yes, that does include me-were able to do so, but in the late 70s were unable to persuade sufficient of our fellow Scots of the duplicity of the unionist politicians. That is a much easier task nowadays 🙂

  15. Hugh and Neil both have it. And I think the same’s true in Northern England: if there were regional parliaments with real power, then there’s a good chance that a non-Labour party would win the elections there, but I can’t see any Northern Labour voters risking letting in a nationwide Tory government by voting for a non-Labour party.

  16. I missed SMFS’s comment, but it also supports what I’m saying. Although given the abject failure of Peter Davies’ term as mayor, I don’t see the EDs repeating their performance (as with the BNP councillors in Stoke, the best way to destroy far-right nutcases is to give them a small taste of power and responsibility, and watch them cock it up. The Austrian chap with the silly moustache is an exception here, admittedly…)

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