11/25/2006

Is Gordon Brown talking "up" the SNP ?


Gordon Brown is today making a speech to Labour activist in Scotland warning that success for the SNP will lead to the break up of the UK. He warns that this would be bad for Scotland.

What Gordon does not say is that this would be good news financially for England.

Despite what the Scots think about North Sea Oil (of which part would be in English territorial waters anyway), the main contributor to wealth in the UK is the City of London, which generates tens of billions in invisible earnings and allows the UK government to spend more per head in Scotland than it does in England and Wales. From a purely selfish point of view, if the Scots want to leave the UK, then I wouldn't stop them.

However, I wonder if the SNP are as much of a threat as Gordon Brown feels. His speech today may make them more credible, but if they are such a threat, how come they did so poorly in the Dunfermline by-election a few months ago ? Is Gordon Brown talking them up in order to scare scottish voters back to Labour whilst trying to marginalise the Lib Dems and Tories whose opinion poll ratings in Scotland have risen ?

I know a number of Scots, one or two of whom would like the idea of an independent Scotland. however, they don't like the SNP. And that is the SNP's problem. Their main policy is a policy lots of Scots may want (independence), but when they look at the party, particularly those voters who are not left wing, they cannot vote for them.

Brown talking them up might be foolish or it mught be quite clever. Next year's Scottish parliamentary elections will show is.

3 comments:

tom robinson said...

As a Lib Dem you should really be able to answer the question about Dunfermline yourself. The Liberals ran a brilliant and effective campaign and convinced the electorate that they were the party to defeat Labour. The vote was essentially an anti-Labour vote. It was also for Westminster where everyone knows the SNP, even with 100% of the Scottish vote can never be in power.
When it comes to Holyrood elections (such as the easy victory for the SNP in the Moray By-election) everyone knows that the SNP are the main opposition to Labour and could form a government.

The SNP are a very serious threat in 2007. In my view this is because the revelations from the freedom of information act about the wild lies of the Labour government in the 1970s about the value of North Sea oil has damaged the credibility of those who still claim that Scotland would have a weak economy.
On a lighter note I must say I find Norfolk a delightful part of England. I now live in Solihull, and supported, as always when I am living in England, the victoriuos Lib Dem at the 2005 General election.

Calum said...

"What Gordon does not say is that this would be good news financially for England."

How so with the UK in fiscal deficit and oil revenues being used to breach the gap.

"However, I wonder if the SNP are as much of a threat as Gordon Brown feels."

Opinion polls and by-elections. Dunfermline hasn't been the only one and the SNP has won half of the local by-elections held since 2005.

"His speech today may make them more credible, but if they are such a threat, how come they did so poorly in the Dunfermline by-election a few months ago?"

They marginally increased their vote in a by-election squeeze to kick Labour. Poorly would be a vote decrease.

Dunfermline offered the Lib Dems a great opportunity to become the main anti-Labour party in Scotland but by staying in the coalition with Labour they've lost that momentum and the by-election will be a distant memory to most voters.

By staying in coalition with Labour they will further lose such an "opposition" position. 2003 saw a less than 1% increase on the constituency vote and a decline on the regional vote. Positioning as an opposition party in Westminster elections is clear enough but in an election campaign where party spokespersons will be seen as being responsible for governing with Labour won't be helpful.

Suppose it all depends on whether the Lib Dems remain with Labour or leave the coalition to bolster their opposition position to Labour in the months ahead.

"Is Gordon Brown talking them up in order to scare scottish voters back to Labour whilst trying to marginalise the Lib Dems and Tories whose opinion poll ratings in Scotland have risen?"

No they haven't. At best they're flat lining. They're below their 2003 level in others and the Lib Dems are well below from 2005.

Anonymous said...

An 'independent' Scotland in the EU would be a major threat to an 'independent' England in the EU over the course of time. This is because because Scotland has a small population and England doesn't England would have to raise substantially taxes on things that can't move. The United Kingdom forms one of the world's largest single markets with a single currency. Disrupt this at your peril.

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