SNP overplaying hand at Westminster

The SNP is on the rise, easily the UK’s third largest party by membership and holding the momentum of what, by any standards, was a successful referendum campaign even in defeat.

Its morale and confidence are so high, that it has scared the main GB parties into playing games around potential deals with the SNP. Perhaps they (particularly the Conservatives) feel this suits them particularly, but the practical fact is the SNP has an extraordinarily weak hand in any post-election negotiations.

Firstly, and understandably for electoral reasons (but probably foolishly in practice), the SNP has ruled out any deal whatsoever with the Conservatives. Practically, this leaves it with no choice but to back Labour – already a weak hand.

Secondly, this actually leaves the practical choice for the SNP of backing a stable Labour government (depending on the numbers), or creating instability. The latter may be tempting for a party which may feel it would gain from this, but in fact the inevitable result would be an early UK election.

Such an early UK election would not suit the SNP at all. It would in fact fully endorse Scottish Labour’s contention that the only way to ensure (as much as possible) the Conservatives stay out is to vote Labour, almost certainly costing the SNP seats; and, of course, if the Conservatives won an election forced by unreasonable SNP demands, they would be blamed for it, potentially wrecking their entire strategy for decades.

In other words, the SNP, even with all 59 Scottish seats, cannot afford to endorse a Conservative-led government and cannot afford to force an early election. It has no cards to play at all.


3 thoughts on “SNP overplaying hand at Westminster

  1. Andy Eagle says:

    Some commentators see either out come as advantages for the SNP. Supporting Labour in exchange for more devolution as a stepping stone to Indy or another Conservative government providing an incentive to the apparently Unconservative Scots to go for Indy.

    I’m not sure that ruling out a deal with the conservatives was a good idea. A lot of Tories believe the meme that England is subsidising Scotland. Perhaps natural allies when it comes to full fiscal autonomy. On the other hand, a deal on trident would be impossible with the Tories. That is the likely reason a deal with the Tories was ruled out. The rest is window dressing.

  2. Deirdre Devlin says:

    I see Paula is running in South Belfast!

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Paul Williams says:

    Neither the Conservatives or Labour can afford to be seen to be held to ransom on a deal that gives Scotland a much better deal than the rest of the UK, at the expense of the rest of the UK without making themselves un electable. The conservatives have never relied on Scottish seats to win elections. The Labour party have would struggle to justify such a deal to voters in the rest of UK and could inflict more damage on themselves in rest ok UK.
    The SNP knows this but as with all these things the negotiations commence with wildy unrealistic publicly made demands that are way beyond their expectations so that they have something to concede when they get round the table.

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