Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Scottish Elections 4 - Calum’s Views

This is Post 4 of a series of 4. For other posts see here.

I should preface my comments by describing my voting record. Only once have I vote Conservative – my first ever vote almost 40 years ago. Since then I have drifted slowly leftwards towards SDP, Liberal Democrats to Scottish Socialists although my vote for the Scottish Socialists was more a protest vote against all the other parties. My favoured candidate for the UK Labour leadership is John McDonnell.

How will I vote this time? Undecided between the SNP, Greens and whichever socialist party is standing but I will not be voting Labour.

The election has been energised by the high poll figures for the SNP and the support of high profile business leaders will help their credibility but, for me, the driving force in the election is the desire to punish Labour. Despite these elections being for the Scottish Parliament, Labour will be punished primarily for the failings of the UK Labour government. The more Blair becomes involved the more pleased the SNP will be. This would signal fear with Labour ranks which can be exploited and the anti-Blair effect would strengthen – both good signs for the SNP.

Because they face losing power, Labour is likely to wage a desperate campaign whereas the SNP, I think, will attempt to appear statesman-like as though they are above the dirty tricks which they are not.

Already we have seen allegations against Angus McNeill, SNP MP, Western Isles the timing of which is unlikely to be coincidental.

Already we have seen a virtual bidding war of promises to be fulfilled in the event of Labour or SNP being the largest parties.

I expect to see much more of this.

The outcome? There is still a chance that Labour could be the largest party but I guess the SNP will be the largest party but then the key point of interest is whether or not they can form some kind of coalition. If they cannot, then Labour and the Liberal Democrats may.

Interesting times!

The polls suggest that support for independence is less than support for the SNP and, therefore, I doubt that an SNP win will lead to independence in the short term. If the SNP were to hold referendum the fear card would be played and played by the other 3 major parties and fear might win.

More likely is that tensions – as illustrated by the majority of comments about David Cameron’s article - will increase regardless of who forms the government but more rapidly with an SNP win. In all probability, the SNP would attempt to ramp up the tensions between Edinburgh and London and those tensions, both in Scotland and England, might make a split inevitable in the longer term.

My position on independence? I have never been in favour. Fear has always won out so far but I know I am closer now than I have ever been. Bringing government – total government – closer may be worth the risk.

Am I Scottish ? Yes, always. Am I British? Yes, sometimes.

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