BY Christian Wright
Updated 17 April 2015
Last night’s UK opposition leaders debate, hosted by the BBC, presented us with a moonwalking Miliband who with great solemnity and gravitas declared the would be no coalition with the SNP.
Now it won’t escape readers attention that coalition was never on the table last night having been rejected by the SNP and by Labour some while ago. It was theatre and all about the optics for our Ed.
On April10th we heard from Ed that in addition to no coalition, there would be no confidence and supply deal either. Yet strangely, that critical codicil was never articulated/reiterated in the debate.
Last night’s “Non” was not a rejection by Miliband it was an invitation. Confidence and supply appears to be back on the menu.
Let’s look back and then look forward to consider the imperatives if the SNP holds the balance of power on 8 May.
This earlier update appeared in this blog 10 April.
Well, presumably with an eye on the English marginals, Labour has now firmly ruled out any deal with the SNP. No siree Bob. Uh-uh. Absolutely not. Under no circumstances.
“ED Miliband and Ed Balls arrive in Scotland today to capitalise on Labour’s growing poll momentum by intensifying their economic attack on the SNP and underlining a post-election deal of any kind with Nicola Sturgeon’s Nationalists has now been ruled out.“
Two parliaments, two prime ministers, one house. That’s where this bit of machismo leads.
The response of the SNP should be to say, uh, OK we’ll not bring your government down. We will support you in the initial confidence vote so that you can form a minority government. We will support you in the event of a no confidence vote should one be tabled at any time.
We will support you in matters of defence and foreign affairs (unless you propose something daft, like renewing Trident). We will support you in those votes where Scotland’s vital interests are at stake.
Other than that, in the case of English-only legislation, being mindful of the inequity perceived by other members of this House and the English electorate at large, we will continue our time-honoured practice of abstaining from voting.
The effect of this strategy would be:
1. To have in UK matters, Ed Miliband calling the shots, installed as British Prime Minister in the UK Parliament, propped up by the SNP,
2. In EVEL matters, where the Tories have a majority, David Cameron, de facto Prime Minister of England in an English parliament.
Two parliaments, two prime ministers, one house. And we all know that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
My inner Yoda tells me Miliband by the short and curlies Sturgeon has.