“Bring down Labour if you dare, Murphy warns SNP”
“Conservatives slam Salmond’s ‘sinister’ threat to install Miliband in Downing Street”
All this nonsense from Labour and the Tories. Try this gedankenexperiment (thought experiment)
First consider the Tories. Does anyone believe that if the SNP had left the door open for an SNP/Con deal, Cameron wouldn’t at this very moment, be all over Salmond and Sturgeon like a cheap suit? Anyone? Well of course not. it’s ridiculous. Of course he would be.
Alright – so Labour, as the second largest party, in concert with the SNP has just won a vote of no confidence against a nascent minority Tory government.
Miliband ponders his options –
1. Refuse to accept the chance to form a government and become PM, on the principle that Labour are not the largest party (their unremitting matra has been that the largest party always forms the government).
Now, what are the odds that Miliband will opt for that? That’s right – zero. All your political career you’ve worked to get to this moment, stabbed your own brother in the back, walked all over friends and enemies alike, to pass up the chance because of some manufactured trope you thought might fool low information voters? ‘Course not!
So all the talk from Labour about the principle that largest party always forming government is in a word – bull.
2. Refuse to make any deal with the SNP on the grounds that they want to “break-up Britain”. Dare the SNP to vote down a minority Labour government (this is the “go on punk, make my day” strategy, the one they’re tentatively touting right now).
No, the only way Miliband can fulfil what he believes to be is his manifest destiny to become British Prime Minister in a stable administration is to enter into an agreement with the SNP – in a formal coalition (unlikely), or in a confidence and supply pact (less unlikely) or on an ad hoc bill by bill, case by case basis, (currently least unlikely).
There are no set of circumstances under which Miliband and the party he leads are going to say no to a chance at getting their grubby hands on the levers of power, nor of keeping the Tories equally grubby hands off the levers of power.
If the SNP hold the balance of power, whether labour are the largest party or the second largest party, there WILL be a deal.
That’s the realpolitik.