SNP aims to destroy Scottish Labour and win independence
By Scott McDonald
The SNP’s long-held view is that their best way to independence was, not just the defeat, but the destruction of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Donald Dewar, former Labour Party leader and the first First Minister of Scotland, pointed out that “the SNP had made it brutally clear that its top political priority was the destruction of the Labour Party.” (quoted in Maria Fyfe, A Problem like Maria, page 161, Luath Press, 2014).
The SNP now believe that they are closer to achieving this than at any time in their history.
However, the SNP have a problem. The strong anti-Tory sentiment in Scotland has meant that many people, who vote SNP in Scottish elections, vote Labour at UK elections to keep out the Tories. The Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 and this has been the trend for several elections.
Tactically, the SNP, in trying to deal with this problem in the forthcoming UK General Election, have adopted a position that their Westminster MPs would support a Labour government.
Thus they try to make the case that voting SNP in traditionally Labour seats in Scotland would not be detrimental to Labour forming the next UK government. When challenged with the issue that the party with the most seats following the election will get to form the government and that could mean the Tory party, their response has been that they would vote against the first budget of that government.
What this doesn’t deal with is that a minority Tory government, supported by other right-wing parties including UKIP, DUP, could survive any vote of ‘no confidence’ if supported by the LibDems.
The Liberal Democrats, given their past actions and what they see as a democratic principle, will support the largest party and that means, if the Tories are the largest party, the Liberal Democrats will join them in coalition as was the case following the last election.
It is crucial to be the largest party. The SNP taking Labour seats will jeopardise this and could well result in another Tory government.
When the Daily Telegraph reported a leaked memo from the Scotland Office stating that Nicola Sturgeon would prefer a Tory government it was vehemently denied by the SNP.
However, as The Socialist Correspondent stated in a previous issue, “A Tory/UKIP government at Westminster would be regarded by the SNP as another boost for their prospects of winning independence for Scotland.” (Where now for politics in Britain: Scotland votes NO but it’s still not over, page 8, Issue 21, Winter 2014).
The best result for the SNP and its quest for independence would be for them to take enough seats from Labour in Scotland to usher in the Tories.
That would create a good platform for them to be re-elected as the next Scottish government in 2016 and to use the overwhelming anti-Tory position in Scotland to take forward their campaign for independence either by declaration or another referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon in an article in the Daily Telegraph wrote, “I repeat my challenge to Ed Miliband – if together our parties have the parliamentary numbers required after 7 May, and regardless of which is the biggest party, will he and Labour join with us in locking David Cameron out of Downing St.”
The SNP tactics are clear: to persuade voters that voting for the SNP is in fact a vote to elect a Labour government and that people should not worry about voting SNP.
If this tactic succeeds and the SNP take a lot of seats from Labour then we could have a Tory government at Westminster and be further down the road to an independent Scotland.