By Mike Small
“You may write me down in history,
With your bitter twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I rise”
– Maya Angelou
Relentless poll evidence shows that hopes of anyone going back in any box now seem very remote indeed.
As the polls suggest the SNP could win as many as 55 of Scotland’s 59 seats, up from six at present, across the land you can hear the sound of the penny dropping as if cast down a long dark well.
“…a good proportion of English Tories would accept a notional bargain in which Scottish independence was the price of levering the rump UK out of the EU. That leaves Scottish unionists, especially right-of-centre unionists, as the forlorn last-believers in a faith long since abandoned by everyone else — including those they mistakenly reckoned as their co-religionists. “
As James Kelly pointed out yesterday – our own pundits are struggling to keep up with the new and unwelcome landscape. Yesterday he wrote of Kenny Farquharson’s overly-optimistic wishful-thinking, to keep the Mad Nats from the gate that somehow ‘good old British fair play will not permit Labour to take office if they are the second-largest party, and if Labour are the largest party, they will choose to do a deal with the Liberal Democrats and the DUP rather than the SNP.’
This optimism is today overtaken by Ed Balls changing tack and clearly leaving the door open to a Labour-SNP pact (‘Ed Balls put a post-election deal with the SNP back on the table ‘).
It’s a scenario explored by the Guardian’s Alberto Nardelli in their poll of polls coverage who states: “Labour and the SNP combined are projected to win 322 seats.”
Not everyone’s overjoyed at the prospect.
A Times editorial weeps (‘Dangers of the SNP’) that “The rise of the Scottish nationalists poses a mortal threat” and that:
“David Cameron declared after the Scottish independence referendum in September that the question had been settled for a generation and perhaps for a lifetime. How wrong could he have been? Though Scotland voted to remain part of the union, the margin of victory for the No campaigners was comfortable rather than crushing. It has galvanised the nationalist cause. “
The prospect of a Lab-SNP coalition is deeply unsettling for the people of the Times, who revert to type and dig-up some good old Better Together lines arguing:
” A renewed push for independence would plunge Scotland into years of uncertainty on even so basic a question as what currency to use. Business would migrate south of the border. Depositors would take their money out of Scottish banks, which would need to restrict the supply of credit. ”
That may sound familiar – and the language of ‘danger’ may seem slightly hysterical, but it’s true.
If Scotland returns a huge swathe of SNP MPs the barely concealed loathing will, we suspect, burst forth with abandon. Which is odd. Because this is the political arena these people have just spent a lot of energy pleading us to be part of.
The only solution to prevent this outbreak of democracy is either a two-tier level of MPs (which is what William Hague has attempted) – or to force alliances that could attempt to shape British politics in very different directions.
Britain is a political entity busted open which could fire-off in many radically different directions.
Depending on how UKIP do and whether DUP hold their nine MPs from Northern Ireland – we could see a desperate cobbling together of a Tory / UKIP / DUP coalition.
Such an idea isn’t fanciful.
If the Anglo-British right see the prospect of the Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon holding sway they will react with virulent decisiveness. Having created (an entirely false) vision of Miliband as a dangerous radical – and clearly still terrified by the very idea of those awful Scots – establishment England will circle the wagons. We could yet see Peter Robinson and Nigel Farage around that Cabinet table.
So the numbers game matters and the stakes are high. As The Times puts it: “The numbers are sobering.”
Many of us might have shared the feeling of ennui that the General Election was a disappointing sequel to the indyref blockbuster, but it turns out to be much more interesting than we thought.
What we are seeing is real fear emerging as Plan Murphy looks to have been a big fat flop. It’s not just the constitution they are scared of losing, it’s the institutional, undeniable and unending privilege of power and wealth. It’s UK Gold.
As George Monbiot wrote back in December:
“Scotland is rudely interrupting the constructed silences that stifle political thought in the UK. This is why the oligarchs who own the media hate everything that is happening there: their interests are being exposed in a way that is currently impossible south of the border. For centuries, Britain has been a welfare state for patrimonial capital. It’s time we broke it open, and broke the culture of deference that keeps us in our place”.