My tweets

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  1. My view as a Scottish voter…

    It would be difficult for the SNP to be seen as supporting a Tory government. Their strategic electoral offer is that they, not the Labour are the centre-left alternative to remote Tory centre-right rule. They have expanded this to suggest that the current Labour offering is little more than Conservative policy operated by the Labour Party. The term Red Tory gets bandied about a lot, especially about Jim Murphy MP, the new Scottish Labour leader.

    Sturgeon, the new SNP leader and Scotland’s new First Minister, has explicitly ruled out doing a deal with the Tories. I think it would be electoral suicide on a par with Nick Clegg’s promise on tuition fees for the SNP to be seen to side with the Tories. So I think that rules out a formal coalition and a formal confidence and supply agreement.

    On the other hand the offer in terms of useful constitutional reform from the Tories is better than the current offer from the Labour Party. Sturgeon and Salmon et al might be able to find a way to do a closet deal with the Tories, voting or abstaining on a carefully mapped out case by case basis in exchange for wide-ranging constitutional reform. Constitutional reform is a bit of a double edged sword for the SNP. On the one hand they want it, because they are more democratically inclined than other parties (e.g. they don’t sit in the Lords) and some reforms favour them (an elected second chamber using PR gives them a second place to sit, using STV for Westminster elections gives them more seats consistently. They also want more powers so they can demonstrate that Scotland and the SNP can use more powers to do good things and therefore Scotland could (and should) be independent. The other side of the sword is that anything that makes the UK less dysfunctional reduces the narrative that it is all Westminster’s fault and we (Scotland) can only be truly free and happy if we are independent.

    I don’t think it would be that hard for the Labour Party to up its offer. Especially as similar concessions will be needed to gain Lib Dem support for a coalition.

    I still find the recent SNP polling difficult to absorb and believe. I’m not suggesting that the polling is wrong I’m just struggling to internalise what looks like a significant change in the Scottish political landscape. On the other hand 95,000 SNP members can’t be wrong.

    As to Trident, the SNP conference voted to shift away from unilateralism and leaving NATO. I think as a prelude to billing independence as as small a change as possible. They suffered two MSP’s resigning the party whip as a result. I think they would trade Trident for Devo Max. They want Devo Max and having Trident would give them something to complain about after Devo Max.

    Finally, I think the sorts of constitutional changes required to secure SNP support imply much greater devolution for the rest of the UK and England in particular than is currently in the popular discourse. The SNP have a final trump card to play if the 2015 General Election is a huge unresolved mess – they can trigger a second independence referendum under the banner of “We Told You So.”

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