Monday, 23 August 2010

A Labour-SNP coalition in 2011?

I’m not sure if this is just a case of The Scotsman or the Labour Party bring mischievous. The paper claims that.

A source close to Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray told The Scotsman a tentative approach has been made to one of his aides over whether he would be willing to strike a deal in a "post-Alex Salmond era".

I always take the term “a source” or a “senior party figure” with a pinch of salt, as I believe that this is usually cover for a correspondents extrapolation of an interview, or even merely speculation.

Anyway the SNP have pointed to recent opinion poles which show they are closing the gap on Labour, and that next years Holyrood elections have it all to play for.

However the article does point out to a potential dilemma in Scotland, because it is highly unlikely that either Party will have an overall majority, and this leads to some interesting scenarios

  • The largest Party could as SNP have done quite successfully rule alone on a vote by vote situation where only a vote of no confidence could bring them down.
  • They could form a coalition with the Greens, Independents or socialist parties but this would be depending on the numbers.
  • They could form a coalition with the Lib-Dems, but could Labour (or the SNP) enter coalition with a Party which at the same time is in hock to the Tories in Westminster I doubt it.
  • I think we can leave out a coalition between either Party and the Tories.
So that leaves:
  • A coalition between Labour and the SNP. However this would depend on Labour being the largest Party because there is no way at the moment that Labour would be junior partners taking orders from Alex Salmond or any leader of another party.
 Because of the arithmetic of the Holyrood elections however I suspect there may be some informal discussion between Parties on the possible outcome of the next election to the Scottish parliament, and I think the SNP should make it clear that if Labour are not prepared to be junior partners in a coalition (or equal partners ) with a SNP leader then they would not be junior partners to Labour.

Labour often behaves like a boy who threatens to take the ball away if he’s not allowed to have a glamorous role in a game of football. They need reminding its not their ball but the people of Scotlands

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