Friday, September 19, 2014

Postscript 19 September 2014.

A good result. A clear win for No without humiliating the Yes cause who will have the satisfaction of changing British politics in their favour for ever, surely a very satisfactory consolation prize.

It was a foregone win-win for Alex Salmond, and it may well be a good thing for England that he, or his successor as SNP leader, will now drive the negotiations to implement the unionist promises that will be seen by some as having been decisive. That these may now lead to the Tories delivering on their 2010 manifesto promise, albeit four years late, is a step in the right direction and they must not be allowed to wriggle out it.

The real change, however, will come with the general election in a mere eight months time. There is the prospect of a Labour win overall, courtesy of Scottish Labour MPs, with a Tory majority in England and possibly England and Wales. If ‘English votes for English laws’ were to be in effect Labour could be hobbled, able to rule the UK but not England. One can even envisage Scottish Labour MPs propping up the government in a vote of confidence, to the fury of English Tories. It would be stalemate, a situation even worse than the emasculation of the present government by the Liberal Democrats.

But past performance is no guide to the future as the fund managers are obliged to remind us. How many SNP candidates (they will presumably again contest every seat) would be elected? In 2010 their vote exceeded the Labour vote in eight seats, though two of those went to the LibDems, and they were within fewer than1800 votes (just two in one case) of the LibDems in a further seven. None of those, apart from Dundee East, was in the Yes vote majority areas of the referendum, raising the juicy prospect of perhaps twenty to twenty-five SNP members at Westminster. After his reception in Scotland during the campaign Ed Miliband can hardly relish the prospect of defending such seats.

Next fixture to look forward to: Scotland v. England (friendly) at Celtic Park in November.

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