11 October 2009

The Return of the Tory Stick

"Labour's campaign – Vote SNP, Get Tory – will put this issue centre stage between now and the general election."

Thus spake Jim Murphy, who bears a striking resemblance to the villain Sokar in Stargate SG-1:

But leaving his potential Goa'uld lineage aside, this is yet more tosh from Labour.

Firstly, it's the old negativity. If that's the Labour message, where's the celebration of their record? Where's the promises for the Parliamentary term to come? Nowhere. Instead, the Labour tactic is "Let's slag off as many rival parties as we can because we just don't have anything positive to offer anymore". The Tories looking like a Government? Slag them off. The SNP doing well in the polls? Make it look like they're closet Tories. Make no mistake, folks, this lot would slate the Keep Clackmannanshire Smiling Party if they thought it would get them anywhere.

So it's a mark of how desperate Labour are.

But is it accurate? Well, for those wondering how many Constituencies there are where a straight Labour-SNP swing could let a Tory candidate in, the answer is just three: Dumfries & Galloway, East Renfrewshire (so you can see why this line of attack might have added piquancy for Jim Murphy) and Stirling. So unless Labour are only campaigning in three constituencies, for most voters, the line is a bald-faced lie: even in other seats where the Tories came second in 2005, the Labour-SNP swing required for Labour to lose the seat to anyone would see the SNP overtake the Tories.

And even in those three, if there is a straight Labour-SNP swing, you can hardly blame the SNP for, you know, trying to win votes like political parties are supposed to. No, blame - if blame has to be allocated at all - should go squarely to Labour for disappointing their constituents and the country to the extent that they're willing to vote for someone else.

Then there's the possibility that, in the event of a Hung Parliament, SNP MPs may well support the Tories on issues where they do - or can agree - and gain concessions on others. Like the Tories do in Holyrood, come to think of it, and it's an approach that's given them extra clout, extra credibility and an element of kudos as opposed to the approach favoured by Labour which involves taking their ball home. And even on issues where the two parties don't agree, the Tory apporach contrasts favourably to Labour's: for example, the Tories in Holyrood disagreed with the SNP over Lockerbie, but they had an alternative approach and a principled reason. Labour in Holyrood kept hitching the issue to who is - and who could be - in power. They used the Lockerbie Bombing as a vehicle for political point-scoring.

So the SNP have a good model to follow. But for it to work, we need to reach a situation where Tory MPs and SNP MPs can together (and only together) form a working majority. By my quick reckoning, for that to happen, Labour would probably have to lose more seats than are actually available to the SNP. And, as I said before, if Labour are losing seats to anyone, that's not the SNP's fault for winning some of them. It's Labour's fault for letting so many people down that they're willing to eject them... even to the extent of voting Tory.

This blog has no time for David Cameron, and is not overly enthused at either the prospect of more Tory MPs or a Tory Government, but is exasperated with Labour. Indeed, I was exasperated enough to quit Labour for the SNP. So if people are more willing to support the Tories than Labour, that's merely a mark of how low Labour have sunk. And their petty, childish egg-throwing (coupled with a blatant lie) in lieu of a positive defence of their record or promotion of future policies only serves to compound their indignity.

To put it bluntly, if they can't think of a reason to stay in office other than the fact that they're not the other guy, then they should piss off and let people who do have ideas put them into practice.


James Higham said...

Great piece, Will and an interesting look at Scottish politics.

Montague Burton said...

With the SNP having trounced Labour into third place at the Euro elections in Dumfries and Galloway for the first time ever, there's more than enough reason to say that a vote for Labour let's in the Tories.

Besides, this whole nobody ever votes for the SNP at Westmonster elections has never been put to the test when the SNP have been in power. I honestly believe there has a been a seismic shift in support for the SNP. Despite two and half years of relentless media negativity the party continues to grow in popularity. They could confound all expectations next May/

Dramfineday said...

JRMacN is a vote for new labour not a vote for the Tories anyway? I see Broon is selling more of the nation off to reduce the debt caused by his unregulated banking chums.... how's that anything other than tory?

Broxi said...

Montague Burton said...

With the SNP having trounced Labour into third place at the Euro elections in Dumfries and Galloway for the first time ever, there's more than enough reason to say that a vote for Labour let's in the Tories.

Just a thought, but the SNP and the Tories beat Labour into third place in Stirling and East Ren in the Euros, so it looks like a vote for Labour is a vote for the Tories there as well.