Saturday, May 02, 2015

UK Election: Labour leader’s nonsense about no cooperation with SNP

Sturgeon's view of Miliband's anti-cooperation nonsense
Next week Britons go to the polls, and Labour leader Miliband has once more put his foot in his mouth with a statement that he is not interested in any post-election coalition or cooperation with the surging Scottish SNP party. Labour will be blown out of the water in almost 100% of the big block of Scottish seats. The Scots have decided en masse to hold the feet of the rest of the UK to the fire of the “vow” made by Labour and the Tories during the Scottish referendum, by sending to Westminster almost a clean slate of Scottish MPs.

Come next week, one day after the election, the political contours of the UK will be irrevocably altered, most likely for decades to come. Regional politics will dominate most decisions, given the absence of a democratic method of electing MPs in the UK. The archaic first past the post system (FPTP) has finally broken, under pressure from voters in areas that have been short-changed with regards to more democratic  representation in Westminster. The UK is settling into blocks of voters, with different interests geared to their geographic locations.

The SNP is on the road to becoming the Bloc equivalent in Canada, with Scotland sending a big block of MPs to London to represent Scottish interests there. In Wales, similar moves are afoot, although not yet as dramatic as the mass conversion of Scottish voters in the past year. There similar rumblings elsewhere.

The SNP had announced that under no circumstances will it prop up a Conservative minority government. This seems to have emboldened Miliband to take SNP support of a minority Labour government for granted:

On a helicopter tour of north-east Scotland, the SNP leader said Miliband had made a tactical error by failing to acknowledge the political reality.
Miliband has not only ruled out a coalition with the SNP, but he has also rejected less formal arrangements. Some senior figures in Labour believe that, if he is to govern effectively as prime minister of a minority government, he will have to do deals with the SNP.
In the final weekend of campaigning, Sturgeon urged the Labour leader to acknowledge that likelihood: “I’m just facing up to reality. A minority government can’t govern without support from other parties. Either Ed Miliband will accept that or he won’t.”
Speaking on board her liveried helicopter on the flight from Stonehaven to Inverness at Saturday lunchtime, she said: “When I heard [Ed Miliband] on Thursday night, in pitching that message to an English audience, he appears to be letting himself be pushed about by the Tories. But also he did sound as though he wasn’t particularly interested in what people in Scotland thought.”

By week’s end Miliband will find that he has poked a stick into a hornet’s nest. If the Cameron Conservatives do not win a majority, which seems likely, but have more seats than any other party, the pressure from Labour MPs and the Labour party on Miliband to cooperate with the big block of SNP MPs to vote no-confidence in Cameron’s minority government, and replace it with a non-Tory government.

That means cooperation of one sort or another with the SNP, in confidence matters. That’s simply a fact of life in a Westminster-style democracy. And such cooperation between parties unable to win more than 50% of seats in legislatures is the norm in the major European countries. It works there, because parties have to take into consideration the voices of the voters, as expressed by their sending MPs to their parliaments.

I expect Miliband to suddenly discover that his nonsensical mutterings about non-cooperation with the SNP are just that: nonsense. Either that, or he will be sent packing by his own MPs.

1 comment :

  1. Shades of Trudeau and Michael Iggnatiff. It burned Iggy, it will burn Trudeau, and it might burn Milliband (not as certain as the SNP is closer to the Bloc then the NDP).


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