Sunday, 5 April 2015

Scary, scary

There's an excellent piece by Kevin McKenna in today's Observer about why the main parties are terrified of what he calls 'the SNP revolution'.  He points out how many of the commentariat are bewildered by the surging (or insurgent if you're a writer in a major national newspaper) SNP popularity and therefore resort to denigrating its supporters in defence against any change to the comfortable status quo.

Yesterday saw 'Frenchgate', a crude attempt to smear Nicola Sturgeon's reputation which surfaced in the Telegraph, claiming that she had told the French Ambassador in a private meeting that she would prefer David Cameron to be Prime Minister after the next election. The claim was swiftly shot down in flames by both parties to the discussion, and now there is to be an enquiry as to the source of the leaked memo, which the UK government, in the form of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, are denying all knowledge of.  The only thing surprising about this whole affair is the crudeness of it, possibly due to it being a rush job following Ms Sturgeon's performance on Thursday night's leaders' debate and her subsequent popularity.

One factor in the Establishment rush to try and neutralise the SNP 'threat' may be a strand of feeling after the debate from people outwith Scotland wishing that they could vote for an SNP candidate in their constituency, and regretting the fact that the SNP don't contest elections outside Scotland.  No doubt the major parties find it something of a relief that this is the case.  But there may be a way to allow people to do effectively that.

What if the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens were to form an explicit anti-austerity alliance?  Obviously the parties in question do not agree one hundred percent on all policies, but there seems to be sufficient overlap to allow this to be feasible.  After all, The Tories, Lib Dems and Labour are all effectively austerity parties.

No doubt people who are more politically savvy than I am can give me lots of good reasons why this wouldn't be a good idea, and I'm always happy to learn from that.  Nevertheless, it might go some way towards addressing what is, according to Mr McKenna, an unmet need to address austerity in people's own terms and not those handed down by Westminster.

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