Survation and Salvation for Holyrood 2016

bella-positivityTwo new political scenarios emerge simultaneously and remain largely ignored. In the first, according to Survation the SNP is on course for a landslide in next year’s Holyrood 2016 elections with the party now more popular than it was in May’s General Election. The poll shows the Conservatives up (yes, up) to 14%, and the Lib Dems at 7%. If this poll was born out it would see the SNP on 71 Holyrood seats, with Labour holding on to just 24 of its current 37 seats, and the Scottish Green party taking 12 seats from an 11% regional vote. This would be a seismic victory for the Greens – their best ever, and largely at the expense of Scottish Labour – whose bad times don’t seem to have not bottomed out yet. The poll suggests as many as one in eight of those who voted Labour in May now say they might vote for the SNP in 2016.

In the second scenario, according to the New Statesman, Jeremy Corbyn could be on course to win leadership of the Labour Party. They write: “If vote share and constituency nominations mirrored each other, Burnham would be ahead of the pack with 39 per cent, Corbyn would be second with 33 per cent, Cooper third with 25 per cent, and Kendall fourth with four per cent. However, it appears that Labour’s preferential voting system – used both for the final contest and to nominate by local parties – is masking Corbyn’s strength in the first round. One survey has Corbyn ahead by more than 15 points. Another puts him in what one campaign staffer called “a commanding position…he is on course to win”.”

If both these were to come to pass you would have an emboldened Scottish Green Party in its strongest position ever, with a host of brand-new radical, articulate MSPs, and a depleted wounded Scottish Labour Party with an unlikely and uncertain relationship with its new UK leader. I have no idea what Corbyn’s views are on the constitutional question, but it would be both a blessing and a curse for Scottish Labour who have tacked to the right for several years now. Could they be rejuvenated by being able to breathe easier, drop their support for Trident and repudiate all that Jim Murphy & John McTernan stuff and Johann’s dire ‘no such thing as something for nothing’ material?

It’s an interesting projection. How would the Scottish parliament look with a left of centre Labour and a hugely emboldened Scottish Green Party? It would mean a decisive left of centre Scotland, which would offer challenges to the SNP’s own right-wing, and would likely mean a more coherent, credible and critical opposition than wee Wullie Rennie and friends managed in the last parliament.

As the big picture issues of EVEL, the Grexit, the future of the EU institutions play out, lots of questions remain. Can we stop the election of Scotland’s first UKIP MSP? Could Kezia live with a Jeremy leadership? Could the SNP cope with a real critique of its environment policies? And where would the Scottish Left project’s new party find room here? With a grassroots movement lining up against INEOS, against nuclear and Trident there’s the potential for some big challenges to consensus politics which could prove a welcome challenge to the continuity Yes movement. Unlikely alliances aren’t just for Westminster. A massive cross-party alliance against Trident, fracking and for, say, new housing could push Holyrood to bolder actions in the coming years.

CJ3LfmdVEAAexw5But one key question would be the position of the Scottish Greens on independence. If they take a clear positive view as independence as a route map to a greener, more socially just and nuclear-free Scotland, then we would be looking at Holyrood with a majority for independence, and that could be as significant as the celebrated 56 MPs at Westminster.


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  1. sandy ritchie says:

    No idea where Corbyn stands on separation, but if he wins Labour leadership, it brings Labour back to its true values. Then we could see a proper opposition to the Tories austerity, attack on the Unions ( where so far SNP remain stoom) as well as the other issues mentioned above.Maybe we could get Mhairi to join Labour….ho ho

    1. Derick fae Yell says:

      Eh – the SNP have just strongly criticised the Tories trade union proposals as Dickensian. Keep up

      1. C Rober says:

        There is condemning by the SNP and then there is action , Labour promised to empower unions for 17 years , to reindustrialise , SNP just do the same but saying they cant make a difference to drive the home rule nail home.

        If you think they are any different then you might like to speak to some Amazon staff on fair treatment of workers , a company that the SNP dont like to see bad news about as they courted them into Gourock.

    2. Donald McLeod says:

      Sandy, you live in a fantasy world.

      Corbyn (whom I admire), is unlikely to win, MSM, state broadcaster and vast majority of his labour colleagues are against him.

      If he were to win, many things would happen, firstly there would be in fighting in labour we have not seen to date and the party would split, the blairites would leave. At same time he would be getting a kicking in the press and TV. Third the tories would soar in polls south of the border.

      In some respects regards Scotland this is a crying shame as Corbyn has his heart in the right place and the SNP could work with him to curtail the tories austerity. That said every cloud, etc, there is no point labour having an unpopular leader in England and expecting Scots that the good old days have returned.

      No matter whom they vote for north or south of the border for their leadership, they are in the wilderness for a minimum of ten years and a constant churn of leaders.

      labour in Scotland are toxic, this toxicity has resulted in a brain drain to the SNP and there is no way back this side of independence. The party you once knew is gone and it is now on the wrong side of the political spectrum and the main political topic, i.e. independence. It may take a further nine months gestation and the May 2016 result for this to become apparent to you,……. but it will.

      Should you refuse to recognise reality and you are of the Iraq war denier ilk, you will be on the bridge alone come May 2016 and we will conclude that you were not worthy of joining the labour brain drain.

      We look forward to watching your journey over the coming months, good luck, choose wisely!

  2. Brian Powell says:

    Having a more left wing Labour Party in Scotland wouldn’t mean much. What good challenging the SNP when it is the Tories at Westminster who are in charge of policies.
    It would mean just scrabbling around to make the best of what the Tories dish out. Which is what we hear from so many Labour commentators and activists. Make the best of what is!
    If Labour in Scotland only started to work positively for Scotland because there was a stronger Labour party in England, for me that would be the most despicable betrayal of the people of Scotland. They should have been doing it all along.
    At that point I would simply want them to rot in Hell.

  3. John Mooney says:

    “Scottish”Labour ! A busted flush of old dinosaurs and young apparatchiks without any independent idea’s of their own awaiting what the runes say from the distant South before proposing any policies relevant to Scotland,yet they still wonder why they lost their core vote in their self appointed “Heartlands”Hell bloody mend them!

  4. Juteman says:

    Serious question.
    Is Bella a ‘Green Party’ blog?

    1. Evie says:

      Serious question, did this blog post REALLY question the Green stance on Independence? The Greens don’t and never have wanted Indy lite, it has ALWAYS been their position to back FULL independence and always argued for a separate currency, no monarchy as head of state etc. That’s why their was a campaign for a Green Yes which strangely was not just an environmental position. What a strange ending!

      1. I dont challenge the Greens commitment to independence, I ask and urge them to affirm it and articulate it over the next year. I think whether they do this or not will be the difference between people giving them their second vote or not. Like all parties the Greens have different wings and factions, some more conservative than others. Now is the time for the radical pro-indy element to give voice…

      2. Neil says:

        Bella – do you know that Robin Harper campaigned for Better Together? Isn’t he the Green party convener? All this lumping the whole of the Greens into a pro-indy camp is just plain wrong. It is not how the Greens work.

        1. SQ says:

          @Neil Robin Harper hasn’t been co-convenor for five years or so… Do keep up!

          Besides, we don’t have a “party line” on anything really, we don’t force members to think a certain way. People are free to be pro-Union, but the party itself is pro-independence.

      3. dennis mclaughlin says:

        The Scottish Green’s are the ‘chameleon’ Party….over the last year I have seen a distinct change in their support for INDY.

        My choice on 2016’s ballot will be SNP 1st and 2nd.

    2. KL says:

      Please start thinking. Bella is an alternative pro independent news platform looking at serious possible political options. If you want solely an SNP chat there are many sites available open and closed. SNP does not and never has had a monopoly on thoughts regarding independence or issues critical to Scottish life, culture and politics.

      Grace and Peace

    3. Triffid says:

      I think that Bella has always been on the radical left side of the Yes campaign so it is natural that it supports the more radical Yes party.

      1. Juteman says:

        Nice try.
        This is a Holyrood election, not a Yes campaign.

        1. Evie says:

          I was commenting on the final paragraph. As for writing about SGP, what’s your issue then?

          1. Hi Evie – my point is that there are elements within the Greens who aren’t pro-independence and I’d lie to see them articulate their position more clearly and be more coherent. For example I don’t think its coherent for them to say that agreeing to this position is optional. I think that’s a bit daft. For me the connections between social justice, environmental justice and the constitutional question are clearer than ever. I write this as a campaigning ecologist for the past twenty five years…

  5. Kimberley Cadden says:

    A few thoughts on this:

    I don’t think at this point that a Corbyn win will help Scottish Labour; they are full of ‘weathercocks’ so I am sure they will take Corbyn’s lead (for the most part) but we must remember Murphy already tried tacking to the left and the Scottish public just didn’t buy it. And it wasn’t just as a result of Murphy himself but also due to the fact that the party changes policy at a rate incompatible with any kind of core integrity, and as a result I think regaining any trust is going to be a long and difficult job for Scottish Labour. Then with the likely splitting of the UK party if Corbyn wins south of the border I don’t think eliciting confidence will be easy, perhaps least of all when it comes to the Scottish electorate – especially when we already have a much better alternative in the SNP (it seems in most people’s estimations anyway).

    With that said I think if Corbyn wins it will be great for the UK as a whole as it will force a leftist narrative into the MSM in a way it hasn’t been ever in my memory – and this is what we need more than anything else at this stage imo so even if it splits UK labour and Corbyn leads and fails to win the next GE etc, I still think his very presence as leader will be great for the UK left and the shape of debate overall.

    As for the Scottish left: I like the idea in theory of the SNP having more opposition from the left, in that more leftist parties/polticians with different ideas on how to best achieve social and economic justice engaging at the Scottish parliament raises the overall quality of debate and lends itself to the best kind of policy making (I should add here that I don’t agree that there is a right wing in the SNP and I would be interested to hear what Mike means by this). But what I will say is that whilst the Greens aren’t in favour of more powers for the Scottish Parliament whilst we remain part of the UK I am not sure at this stage that they won’t do more harm than good in larger numbers; when it comes to Labour they will maybe make lefty noises but I doubt much more; and I doubt the Left Project can be in contention in any seat for 2016.

    So at this stage my main positive take from these developments is that the shape of mainstream debate might be forced to change with the left given a much stronger voice and platform when it comes to social democratic arguments and solutions for society – but I only see this happening if Corbyn wins – so I very much hope he does.

    1. muttley79 says:

      There is a right in the SNP. Fergus Ewing, Mike Russell, possibly Alex Salmond, maybe Angus Robertson (although Fergus Ewing is probably the most right wing!). The right of the SNP is not the same as the right of the Lib Dems, Labour, or the Tories as a party. It is probably nearer the centre ground in current politics. It is there though. Scottish Labour used to have a right, Donald Dewar, John Smith, George Robertson, and Gordon Brown (from the 1980s onwards) were prominent from that position. All parties are coalitions of groupings.

      1. Kimberley Cadden says:

        I don’t think you can say people in the SNP are right wing without backing up what you mean. Every_single_time I have challenged people on this area it comes down to the fact that they fail to understand that the SNP are modern social democrats and practice the ideology of a mixed economy – i.e. capitalism AND socialism. People see pro-business and/or pro-free market policies and shout ‘right wing’ ‘neoliberal’ etc without understanding not just the ideology underpinning their purpose – i.e. that it is about facilitating an egalitarian socio-political model and thus not anything remotely right wing or neoliberal (so it’s ultimately about creating a more equal society, with progressive taxation and higher state spending, not the opposite) – but they also fail to understand that there are alternatives to full throttle socialism when it comes to achieving a fair and prosperous society. In other words if people always equate ‘right wing’ with any semblance of capitalism they are adopting an utterly reductive stance to the point where their understanding of anything that isn’t just socialism will be extremely skewed. I do not count Mike as someone who would fit into any of these descriptions hence why I am interested in why he thinks the SNP has a ‘right wing’.

        I will also give an example of my overall point – recently the SNP voted in the EU parliament against TTIP. The SNP have made clear that they are pro trade agreements that make trade between countries a great deal easier. However this cannot come at any social cost. The SNP thus have argued against inclusion of any version of ISDS, or indeed public services and agriculture. However due to influence of corporate lobbyists the most recent vote was for or against a version that would come compromise our public services, as well as public health and indeed the public purse – hence why the SNP have voted against it in this form and will continue to do so unless these factors are dealt with. This is a social democratic approach in action – socialists would likely say no to TTIP altogether – the SNP tried to argue for the parts that would benefit the economy (which in turns benefits the public purse and public spending, which in turn helps the poorest and most vulnerable, as well as most others) but this is not worth it if it comes at a social cost – hence the SNP vote against. This middle way mixed economy view is what people like me think is best for achieving the most equal, prosperous society possible, and I think it would be a progressive, fair minded person who acknowledges this, even if their own political preferences lie elsewhere….terms like ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’ are problematic in that they often point to a very black and white picture that just doesn’t represent the reality….

        1. muttley79 says:

          I said politicians on the right of the SNP are not right wing as such. I said they would mostly fit on the centre ground of current politics. Mhairi Blaick, Tommy Sheppard etc are on the left wing of the SNP. I am not really sure what you are taking issue with here. There is a clearly a right wing in the SNP. From saying this:

          I don’t agree that there is a right wing in the SNP and I would be interested to hear what Mike means by this).

          you go on to talk about neo-liberalism and right wing politics in general, which is a much wider subject. I was replying to your statement that I have quoted above.

        2. Hi Kimberley, all parties are made up of individuals. All parties have wings, factions and sub-parts. That’s ok. It’s true of the SNP too. The SNP has a right wing element to it, despite being predominantly social democrat, progressive and to the left of Labour. This is, for example, those who conceive of an indy Scotland as a low tax petro-chemical focused ‘powerhouse’ a ‘Celtic Tiger’ etc etc. This narrative woud be seriously challenged by a Holyrood packed with new left and Scottish Green MSPs who would bring a far more critical edge to the party than the soporific Liberals and Aunty Ruth Davidson et als

    2. Jams O'Donnell says:

      Best of all possible options – vote SNP for UK elections, vote Green for Scottish elections, as long as they confirm that they still want Independence (and a new referendum as soon as is feasible).

      1. Juteman says:

        Vote SNP twice if you want another referendum.

  6. Bill Fraser says:

    Yes this is great ,but we cannot rest on our laurels.We have to keep up the good work and pass it on to the not so sure.

  7. leginge says:

    get real- the Labour party is a machine dominated at the top by the wealthy middle class – it will betray it’s left wing working class supporters time and again even with jeremy corbyn as leader – nuthin will change. In our lifetime it just so happens that there has arisen (by design or accident who knows) a slightly left wing social democratic party in the shape of the SNP – it’s the best we can hope for in a rightwing neoliberal world (viz the EU) – until independence and then mibby……..

  8. Triffid says:

    I would say that the Green Party is totally behind independence. There is a minority against but it is very small. The Greens support independence because independence would allow Green stuff to happen, we aren’t nationalists but pragmatic yessers that doesn’t mean we don’t back independence it just means we don’t go for Alex Salmond’s Scottish lions with all the roaring and stuff.

    1. Juteman says:

      The Greens were not formed to campaign for Scottish independence, only the SNP were.

      1. SQ says:

        “The SNP are the only party dedicated enough to put National in their name so they must be the only party dedicated to getting independence”

        Yeah right, grow up. The Greens do and so, surprisingly, do the SSP, Solidarity, the Left Project… Just because one party was formed around the principle doesn’t mean they’re the only one that supports it.

      2. That’s true, but not really the point. Would you rather ten Labour MSPs or ten pro-indy Green MSPs?

        1. Juteman says:

          Ten Green MSP’s obviously. As long as they are taking votes from Labour, and not the SNP.
          Asking SNP voters to ‘lend’ their list vote to the Greens, as some ‘Greens’ have been doing, is dishonest in my opinion.

        2. Neil says:

          How do you know that all Green candidates are pro-indy? Going by their vote on the policy, a few of them are probably pro-union.

      3. Muscleguy says:

        I take you are not a RIC person because if you had campaigned with RIC during the referendum and gone to meetings since the Green commitment would be clear to you. We had a lot of Green members in RIC, the Green party was a formal member of RIC, we helped deliver Green Yes leaflets and just recently Maggie Chapman the Green’s Co-Chair came to a Dundee RIC meeting and was warmly received and treated as ‘one of us’ and was listened to. I don’t doubt there are some Green Noes but I’ve never met one and remember not all SNP voters voted Yes either.

        1. Juteman says:

          Which would you prefer? A SNP majority able to call a referendum, or a minority government dependent on the goodwill of the Greens?
          Think of the headlines in the media if Nicola Sturgeon ‘lost’ the election.

          1. Juteman says:

            The RIC is more in line with my politics than any other group or party.
            However i realise that until we gain independence, voting for anything other than the SNP, is playing into the hands of the British State.

  9. Les wilson says:

    Well, the one point you miss in this wish list, or so it seems. Is that Labour is a Unionist party, there is no doubt of that. No matter how they camouflage it, their agenda will always be set from London.

    I will NEVER trust what comes out of labour mouths again.
    They have shown what they are. Suddenly becoming more pro Scottish, is a joke.

  10. john young says:

    We should be putting all party politics to the side and unite for an independent Scotland,as stated before a country of our size/population have no need for a half dozen political squabbling about who has the right to govern,we should elect the best most honest proven people to run the country,I am more for Common Weal devolve as much decision making as possible to the people make it a true democracy.

  11. C Rober says:

    If Labour , not SLab but its masters , wanted to come back in in numbers in the Uk , then all they need to do is go full monty pro independence…. and then deliver it.

    It worked with devo.


    By doing this , enabling Scotland to prosper not under the SNP but through SLAB , then it will also show the electorate in England that they too can have locally what Scotland has , and that Labour in England should be more like an old Labour in Scotland and deliver the same South of Carlisle.

    This is important , as they currently operate , and are despised for in the recent past under Brown and BLiar they do not engage the old guard , the worker ….that MR Bean chap only made things worse , and more ways than one.

    Just how the SNP are rising in power is by being more Labour , in theory and promise if not supply , then Labour and Slab need to become , or return to being , well simply more socialist than through its history.

    As I mention often my eyes are not blinkered to the SNP , I am , or was , a true Red Clydeside Labourite that wanted independence , still does. I haven’t cheered for the tsunami that was May , i have mourned instead , a few of them that got their p45 were the last of the real Labour line , whom will now be replaced by more career minded , postcode purchased politicians.

    After a session of Blairite Labour in no10 I realised they rode on the coat tails of Hardie , Reid and even Dewar to get into no10 , and by the time that the Anti Scottish Labour Mafia attack by the media peaked , even Brown , somewhat more of a liberal than BLair , was dejected (if not assassinated) through the LibDems , SKY and the BBC , even through his own party to try to cling on to power.

    Brown for all his faults could not do media , he could do numbers , he could do policy , History would be kind to him where it not for the financial crisis and the Anti Scots fires being stoked.He in my opinion will be the last Labour leader that bore any semblance to the party of before , if merely just a veneer , even if he was more of a liberal then a working class socialist.

    Therfore its even more ironic that his downfall in the end came from a party that was so liberal , but not really when you consider that the LibDems sold not just their own soul , but that of the electorate , to get the 2nd seat in Westminster , rather than to join forces which they historically did with Labour.

    The new guy , being touted as the future by the unions.

    He will fail to be elected by the members that are left , no pun intended , the leftist Scots voter has now jumped ship.Its up to the SNP to keep them within the fold , the voter wont be as patient with the SNP failing policy while in power at Hollyrood , and then simply blaming Westminster and the Tories for 17 years like Labour. Then they will return to Labour , when its Labour.

    The Greens

    As for the Green party , they see independence as a way to fuel , again pun intended , their primary mandate on climate change.

    They need to direct their energy , wow three intended puns , towards appealing to the people that eco power is not a choice , but pre planning as the only choice , one that benefits over the long term , reducing fuel poverty – before we cannot afford to both invest in renewables and buy fuel at the same time.

    While the SNP are happy to have them today as bedfellows , should they rise in numbers ,then no doubt the Green policies will be absorbed into the SNP as core directives to reduce their power.

    1. ClaireW says:

      I think it’s ill informed to state that the Greens primary concern is climate change. Their policies on social justice and the creation of a fairer society are on a par with the SSP and way beyond those outlined by the current administration. The Greens fully back the robin hood tax, want a living wage for all of £10 per hour and want eventually to see our society move away from the benefits trap, low pay and capitalist slave labour culture by introducing a citizens income. They also back the renationalisation of public transport and want to eradicate fuel poverty, the fact that they want to do all these things while protecting the environment is surely a good thing.

      1. C Rober says:

        yep all for them , but your average voter sees them as the wans putting their leccy up , or planting windmills near their hooses.

        Leccy prices dont have to go up , but the only way to do it is through renewables investment now

        Rather than allow the big 4 utils to have massive profits – we should be legislating them to provide a generational stepping plan to be without fossil fuels and limiting their profit model to 10 percent – with the rest reinvested in modern tech like plasma furnaces for coal etc for peak daily demand – until a viable storage medium for renewables is in place.

        The voters argument on windmills is absolute tosh , but with a hint of truth. We still dont have a viable way to harness renewables , like some form of household batteries , which are both cost effective and or non toxic to the enviroment , both in mining the chemicals and in their disposal.

        Pre industrial revolution the bloody world was covered in windmills , if it wasnt – they simply would never have had bread on the table other than from a water mill instead.I really dont see the complaint by voters unless it truly is intolerably audible , the financial argumnet on the increase of bills has been shown to be a lie many times over.

        Salt water damming I have mentioned in other topics before is the way forward , as renewable storage.

        Losing but .0001 percent of Scotlands total land mass , it has the least long term environmental impact and in soem case actually redress some like inshore fisheries. Combined with airsource heating , insulation cladding , cavity wall insulation , new house build legislation , then we could have a complete redress of fuel poverty before the mini iceage that is supposedly coming in 15 years time.

        We have to plan now for that if it is really going to happen , 15 years to the beginning and a minimum 15 years duration. This will affect the whole of the North of Europe , making the med countries more like the North of today weather wise , we will see rolling blackouts on a scale never before seen , held to ransom by gas importer countries , where heating could very well by the reason for the next European war if not world war.

        I agree though , a strong green party would be a good party , they are the left side of politics , not a bad thing , but when they get strength the SNP will just clone their policies as their own then boast about a terrible delivery of them being better than Labour/Tories ever did.

        1. ClaireW says:

          I’d never even heard of salt water damming, going to head off and investigate! I’m a green but would be happy to see SNP (or whoever is in charge) adopt our environmental and energy policies, even if they take all the credit, the most important thing is that somebody does something soon, as you said without action now the energy outlook is very bleak indeed.

  12. john young says:

    Brown along with a whole raft of them was/is a liar of the worst possible type,his name along with Robertsons and other “high rankers” have been linked to an alleged paedo ring.

    1. C Rober says:

      Hello MR Godwin , welcome to the debate.

  13. Frank says:

    The situation in Greece requires urgent rethinking from the left on the EU. The yes campaign campaigned to leave Britain on the basis of the ‘democratic deficit’. I agree. But the same applies to the EU. With rail services opened up for commercial tendering, TITP, or the case of CAL MAC, EU membership (never mind the membership of the Eurozone) is making it increasingly difficult to pursue social democratic policies within a neo-liberal EU. It strikes me as inconsistent that the SNP didn’t even want to have a referendum on EU membership, with Ivan McKee arguing such a position only a couple of weeks ago.

    Alexis Tsipras and Syriza have educated millions of people these past months on Europe’s democratic deficit. The question is how do we respond? I am still thinking though my own position, mindful of the fact that leaving the EU is also associated with UP and anti-immigration, but increasingly I am of the view that a Scotland based on social justice and democracy is incompatible with EU membership.

    1. Juteman says:

      When we gain independence, a referendum is possible if a party has that in its manifesto. Who’s to say the SNP would be the major party in an independent Scotland?

    2. Lawrence Anderson Burley says:

      This is a good point and very “actuel” as the French say. Something has gone terribly wrong with the EU and it is not in Scotland’s interest to enter a German protectorate, oblivious to the greater solidarity needs of the while European community. The vicious German bullying of Greece (I don’t deny the many Greek errors and wasteful spending, and wholesale looting by their elites) was an eye-opener for me. I have been a EU-phile for as long as I can remember being politically awake, but I really am having second thoughts.

      For those who maybe don’t know him, I recommend a piece by Alex Andreou: “Where is my European Union?”. Do read, it is worth the time:

  14. Donald Mitchell says:

    Beware of shy Tories, we’ve seen how unreliable opinion polls can be.
    The SNP’s lurch to the left, at least in terms of rhetoric, has left it’s right flank exposed.
    Whether we like it or not, welfare cuts are popular with many voters and Osborne’s budget went down surprisingly well with a lot of people who don’t consider themselves Conservatives, Ruth Davidson should not be underestimated either.
    I’d like to see more of Mike Russell and Fergus Ewing in the election campaign to reassure moderate voter’s that the SNP is their party too, we should also be very wary of lending party list votes to other parties, even the Greens.

    1. Frank says:

      Your use of language is interesting here; what makes you think that voters who support cuts are ‘moderate’?

      But language aside, you hint at a potential challenge the SNP faces, albeit a longer term problem; the SNP has ‘cross class’ support; but how do you keep together an alliance of the middle classes, whose sense of entitlement has diminished since the crash, particularly professional public sector workers, alongside traditional Labour voters who feel alienated by Labour for obvious reasons, and the poor, many of whom found a faith in politics due to the yes campaign and the power of a national social movement? It’s a real challenge. Talking left, whilst walking right down the centre will only take you so far and trying to appeal to everyone, runs the risk of wind cocks rather than signposts. The SNP have picked up votes from traditional one nation Tories, who disliked Thatcher and her ilk, but also, especially since the referendum, the votes of those on the far left (myself included). There is a real contradiction and given the likelihood that independence is not on the political radar at the moment, those contradictions may potentially unravel.

      But the SNP’s hegemony looks solid for the time being; Scottish Labour are in a complete mess whose leadership candidates are two corporate robots unable to lay a glove on Sturgeon. The question for next year is who is going to be the official opposition?

      1. Donald Mitchell says:

        I think its perfectly moderate to oppose subsidising low pay, which is what Labour’s tax credits do.

  15. Anton says:

    @ Donald Mitchell: You mention a “lurch to the left” by the SNP “at least in terms of rhetoric”. What specifically do you have in mind? I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just interested in why you say that.

    1. Donald Mitchell says:

      Apologies for my slow reply.

      The reason i’m concerned about SNP rhetoric, especially at Westminster is that they won in 2007 and 2011 by campaigning and the governing as pragmatic centrists and established a reputation for competency and moderation in office.

      Part of the reason that the referendum was lost, in my opinion was that the Yes movement abandoned this approach and presented independence as a much more radical change than it really was and to a certain extent spooked moderate Home Rule supporters into voting No.
      While policy has not shifted significantly to the left so far, the tenor and tone adopted by SNP MPs seems needlessly shrill and confrontational, i also think deciding to vote on English fox hunting was a fundamental error that risks undermining the Scottish Parliament.

      The danger is that moderates will think the SNP doesn’t represent them any more and will look for an alternative. Charles Kennedy had mooted the idea of a new centre/left Home Rule party before his untimely death, if it was to come to fruition it could be a threat to the SNP.

      1. Frank says:

        Interesting analysis but one which is problematic and contested. Scotland’s radicals tell a different story. According to their narrative, the yes campaign was hovering around 20 something % at one point and was failing to establish exactly what the SNP wanted to do with independence. The narrative was, vote independence, nothing will change – you can keep the Queen, the currency, etc. The turning point, according to this view, was the emergence of a social movement and yes groups springing up everywhere without the permission of the ‘official Yes Scotland’ – RIC, Women for Independence, etc. The social movement which emerged, although vague on detail did inspire hope that social change was possible; this is perhaps the reason why yes won in traditional Labour heartlands like Glasgow and Dundee. I am sympathetic to this view. I fear that had the SNP stuck to the ‘pragmatic centrist’ approach, the yes campaign would have been a complete disaster both for independence and the SNP. I doubt if over one hundred thousand people would have joined because the SNP was pragmatically centrist, or ‘competent’ in government. In fact, given the Scottish Parliaments lack of any significant powers, I am not exactly sure what you mean by ‘competency and moderation in office’?

  16. Phil Robertson says:

    Polls seem to indicate that one problem that any “left leaning ” government would have is that, if tax is to change, more expect a cut in tax than an increase.

  17. Neil says:

    I don’t see why the size of the SNP majority in Holyrood would make any practical difference. I suppose it will be interesting to see what their public spending policy is, seeing as they will have to put income tax level in their manifesto, as well as council tax.

  18. douglas clark says:

    One thing I quite like about the SNP is that it tries to be evidence based. That, it seems to me, is a new way of doing politics.

    Not that it always works, but doing your best on climate change, child welfare, etc, based on the best information you have to hand is not something we see from many other political parties.

    1. Darien says:

      “doing your best on climate change, child welfare, etc”

      That’s all good and well, but what of the clear ‘evidence’ that our economy is still in deep trouble? Most ‘progressives’ want more public spending, but they seem to have little idea of the thousands of SME businesses and their employees who create wealth which the public sector ultimately depends on. Nice to applaud unions but the latter today mainly represent public sector workers, many of whom already have feather-bedded t&c’s relative to private sector workers. Few politicians seem to understand how business works, and they are not slow to constrain SME’s in a million different ways – biting the hand that feeds them – while endlessly caving in to public sector union/worker demands (e.g. calmac, scotrail etc) and high salaries for quango bosses, all paid for by the real economy, what’s left of it. Where is the strategy to really increase Scotland’s business activity, trade, exports and create a more vibrant private sector to help support a very large and growing public sector? Still too many politicians from public and 3rd sector backgrounds, mostly clueless about business and trade.

  19. dennis mclaughlin says:

    Sorry Sandy!,Mhairi is NOT for sale or hire..

    The SNP has very strong links with Trade Unions in Scotland.

    Corbyn’s election just may throw ‘Scottish Labour’ a lifebelt IF they have the guts to swallow some of the bile flowing from them since ’07.
    Nicola offered an olive branch to Milliband, but his abject fright of the right wing English press put an end to that avenue.
    Labour in England will have to find their collective spines and man up to their ‘Opposition’ status at Westminster.

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