I’ve tried not to criticise Labour during this election – but I’m getting very worried.
Egged on by Cameron, his outbursts against “nationalists” have made post-election cooperation most unlikely – whilst, significantly, the door remains open for Labour to cooperate with Tories and LibDems.
Consider this: if the stumbling block for cooperation with “nationalists” is that they wish to break up the Union”, how does this square with Ed’s willingness to work with the SDLP – which is committed to a unified Ireland?
Moreover, given that in Wales there was a successful formal coalition with Plaid Cymru just a few years ago, why is this so unthinkable in the UK? – and will the Labour Party in Wales be prevented from leading such a coalition in future?
Given these historic precedents for Wales and Ireland, there’s no logic or consistency to this newly proclaimed antipathy to nationalists as such. It would perhaps have been understandable if he had directed his fire solely at the SNP as, for sure, the SNP does pose a challenge to Labour in Scotland. But Ed needs to understand why the SNP is replacing Labour in Scotland and reflect on his mistakes that led to this situation.
After the Independence Referendum, the Labour Party elected a new leader in Scotland. The choice was between a left-wing opponent of Trident Renewal planning to outflank the SNP from the left, and Jim Murphy, an ultra-right supporter of Trident. London Labour backed Jim Murphy. This is why former Labour voters are deserting in droves for the SNP. It’s not because the SNP has become radically left-wing: it’s because Labour and Tory are indistinguishable.
Let’s look at this from another angle. Is freezing out the SNP likely to help or hinder their ultimate aim of independence? During the Independence campaign, the Labour/Tory establishment claimed to want Scotland to play a major role in UK politics. Now they have changed their tune.
Whatever the precise result, it is certain that turnout in Scotland at this election will be substantially higher than the RUK and that the MPs from Scotland will have a strong mandate to participate in UK politics. Now we are told, by both Labour and Tory spokesmen (as they edge towards a coalition maybe?), that all these MPs from Scotland may not play any part in UK governance.
The inevitable outcome of this Labour/Tory consensus will be growing calls for independence for Scotland – an ideal outcome for the Tories.
I am really worried about Ed. Why can’t he see all this?