The Corleone Maneouver
By Peter Arnott
There’s a great scene in Godfather 2 when Al Pacino is sitting behind a desk being insulted by a senator who he needs to “grandfather” a gaming licence for a new Casino. The senator asks him for his offer. And Michael, satanic, smug…offers nothing. He knows he has the real power.
Well, that’s just what Labour MPs did yesterday in unattributed gangster-esque briefings to the Westminster Lobby Press yesterday. To quote this morning’s Herald:
A source said that the message had been “unambiguous”.
He said: “We can’t, of course, physically prevent the SNP voting with us. But we are not going to give them anything for it. What are they going to do? Back the Tories?”
John McTernan actually tweeted this idea yesterday, Alex Massie floated it a blog in the Spectator., quoting the language of Dirty Harry.
And the Godfather Party are smugly slapping each other on the back this morning. They’re passing out cigars. We just wait for them to murder a whore (that’s in the movie) or (in Parliament) take some Devo Max bribe from the Tories…The SNP are trapped. What are they gonna do? Heh Heh Heh.
Do? They’re going to smile. They just won.
The Corleone Maneouver is not a masterstroke. It’s a concession. Labour have just said that it’s fine with them if Scotland votes for the SNP. A Labour vote is unnecessary because the SNP would never bring down a Labour minority government. They have just given up winning an election in Scotland ever again. And made themselves look like surly, sneering thugs in the process.
“Fuck you” they have just said to the Scottish electorate. “Who gives a shit how you vote? It will make no difference to us!”
After a brief moment of paying attention, they’ve just stuck their fingers back in their ears.
Hard to know where to start. (Especially as I wrote a blog here a couple of days ago urging sweet reason and civil conversation)
Of course the SNP won’t do a deal with the Tories. They’d have to be insane to even contemplate it, even if the Tories offered them Devo Max with bells and pennants on. Labour have once again totally misread their opponents and the Scottish electorate. They really think that the SNP are so mono maniacally obsessed with the changing the constitution here and now that in the name of the present they have just handed the SNP the future. In perpetuity On a plate. They’re not the Corleones. They’re the Clampetts.
Let’s play this out. The correct response from the SNP is to smile and say nothing. Of COURSE Scotland’s vote in the Commons will be with Labour (if a minority Labour government is elected). Of COURSE they won’t bring down that Labour government. But they will push and push Labour to the left…then regretfully shake their heads and say “well, it will have to do” on a Balls Budget…and they’ll abstain when Labour cut welfare..and sigh when the Tories and Labour push through Trident replacement together.
Ah, well if we were only independent, they will say…in gleeful sorrow.
The SNP will smile, say very little, and wait to win. History is only going one way. They can afford to be patient. They’d be idiots not to.
The only way the McTernan/Corleone Maneouver works is if time stands still, if the long historical process the referendum was only part of…has stopped.
Does it look like it’s stopped to you?
Deep down, even on this morning when, I suspect, McTernan’s idiotically jaundiced and patronising view of human nature in general and the SNP in particular has made them do something quite as dumb as to concede defeat and insult everyone in Scotland at the same time, Jim and John both know it.
In another borrowing from American culture, in the words of President Bartlett, what’s next?