The next UK election is shaping up to be one of the more interesting and intriguing contests of the past decades, with no-one really having a clue about the certainty of the outcome. Six months out and no clear leader has emerged, with all the UK parties struggling to get any traction in one of the most turbulent times in UK politics.
Neither Labour, nor the Conservatives currently poll much above 30%, whilst the Liberals now battle to remain above the Greens on single digits. Only UKIP look like they’re on the rise with a concerning 15%-plus; favouring their xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda in the polls. Then there is the SNP. Such is our support that we are now registering in UK opinion polls for the first time and everyone is talking about what our levels of support could mean in the post-election sums at Westminster.
In Scotland, we are registering levels of support of 45%-plus and if translated into seats, it means that we could be sending up to 50 MPs down to Westminster. I don’t suppose there are many people who believe that we will continue to sustain such stratospheric opinion poll ratings, but we are now being taken seriously as a potential player in any electoral arrangement next year.
And what will we do? Well, we will have absolutely no electoral arrangement with the Tories. The Tories are the antithesis of what Scotland requires and as a nation we remain defiantly set against their austerity-based agenda. A vote for the SNP is, therefore, a vote to keep the Tories out of power.
What about Labour then? Well, UK Labour are a curious party. Badly led with no real sense of what they want to achieve. They are variously pitching to their core vote, whilst at the same time attempting to get in on the new UK centre-right agenda of welfare cuts, immigration and Euro-scepticism. One minute they’re raging against bankers and ‘the rich’ then the next voting for a welfare cap and trying to outdo Farage on immigration. It is a strategy without any real sense of purpose and without any discernible momentum.
An Ed Miliband-led Labour Government would be, at best, a semi co-ordinated shambles; becoming the largest party on a paltry low 30s percentage share of the vote – with the resultant questions of legitimacy and mandate. It could, however, be an opportunity for Scotland. If they were forced to rely on our support, we could lever in all sorts of concessions for Scotland, force them to consider their attachment to austerity and issues such as Trident renewal, whilst making progress in securing the powers our nation requires.
Labour will always suggest that a vote for the SNP at the General Election is wasted or will even help get a Tory Government into power. Without any Scottish agenda of their own it is, in fact, all they can and will say. It won’t work this time, though, as experience shows this for the nonsense that it is. In the last General Election, Scotland foolishly swallowed this line, went to bed with Brown and woke up with Cameron’s Tories, with an almost useless cuckolded Labour opposition in its wake. This time round, Scotland will vote for its national interest.
Never before have we had such an opportunity at a General Election. With a load of SNP MPs with real influence at the UK level just imagine what we can secure for Scotland.