Friday, 2 May 2008

Local Govt Elections

The local election results in England and Wales are certainly making interesting reading at the moment.

Strong gains for the Conservatives and heavy losses for Labour. The Lib Dems are putting a delighted face on the fact that they are currently second, but I'd suggest that they have not pushed Labour into third place, it would seem Labour have simply fallen into third place rather than being 'pushed' there by Mr Clegg.

So what could this mean for Scotland? Well, up here, the First Minister is increasing in popularity, but a recent poll showed a slight increase in support for the Scottish Conservatives in a Westminster election, but a fall in support for us at Scottish Parliament level. To be honest, I'm not really surprised at this, however the English and Welsh results may (and I stress the word may) indicate favourable prospects for a Westminster election nationally, and ironically, this seems to be the favoured result for some of the SNP.

Some sections of the SNP are hoping for a hung parliament where their (extremely optimistic in my view) 20 SNP MP's can hold the balance of power. Personally, I think this is extremely unlikely on two counts. The first is that the pundits always refer to the possibility of a hung parliament to increase the tension, but in reality they are quite rare. The second is that I doubt that the SNP will have 20+ MP's after the next election.

However, there are others in the SNP that would favour a Conservative Govt for fundamentally flawed reasons. They feel that a Conservative Govt would instinctively be bad for Scotland which would in turn increase nationalist support. This suggestion to my mind is naive and gives no credence to how the Tories have changed and modernised nationally. If I thought David Cameron's Conservatives would be bad for Scotland, I wouldn't suppport him, but I honestly believe that he would be good for Scotland and good for the UK.


BenefitScroungingScum said...

I think that instinct that conservative govt would be a bad thing is very powerful in the north.
I often wonder if Cameron just picked the wrong party, I suspect many who are reluctant to vote conservative just don't feel that his views reflect the rest of the party.
Having said that, despite my disgust and dislike of Brown, when it comes to general election time the issue will be one of local MP's. In my constituency that means either voting for a token female candidate who is a total bimbo, or returning the sitting Labour MP who has worked hard for the area.
It feels very much like a rock and hard place with no real choice as to who to vote for.

Jim said...

Hi BG,

Interesting point about whether the rest of the party share Cameron's views. A similar point was made by the Prime Minister this morning.

A good local MP is worth his or her weight in gold I think.


Math Campbell said...

As an SNP supporter, I thought I'd make a comment if it's ok with you...

The Conservatives would (in my humble opinion) be a disaster for Scotland. No doubt you feel likewise about the SNP; that's political differences for you. I respect your point of view but most emphatically do not share it.

What I think the situation is though is not how bad the Tories would or would not be for Scotland.

It's how downright unpopular they'd be. Scotland hasn't really gone Tory since before Maggie. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool Cameronite would have to acknowledge the Mrs. Thatcher made few friends in Scotland during her 18 years. And the problem is the Scots showed this by not voting for her or her party.
At one point there was a Tory Govt. in London making very unpopular decisions in Scotland, when Scotland had no Tory MP's at all.
Even some of her Cabinet were a bit iffy about the statement this made about democracy.

Devolution was seen as the answer to both this, and the pressing issue about shutting up them damned Nationalists. it would apparently be the death-knoll of the SNP.

Yeah. It's not nice to gloat in public, so I won't.
But, getting back to point, the Tories will be the next UK Government. As I commented elsewhere, Labour could replace Gordon Brown and Co. with Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Moses and the 2009 Playboy Calendar Girls, and they'd still be out on their arse come 2010. You know this. We know this. Deep down, somewhere past the donation scams and peerage-sales, Labour know it too.

The point is what effect a Tory government in Westminster will have on Scotland.
Will it cause a referendum on independence to be delivered as YES, for people fearing a second Maggie?
I think it possibly just might. SO do the SNP leadership.
So do the Labour leadership, if Bendy Wendy's actions over trying to peed up the referendum is anything to go by.
If things go as they're looking now, Scotland will probably go independent after 2011. What happens then is anyone's guess....

Jim said...

Hi Math,

Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving a well thought out comment.

Obviously we will differ on our opinions about the consequences of a Conservative Govt and an SNP Govt for Scotland.

I would never deny Maggie made few friends in Scotland (I was initially sheltered from the country's economic issues as I was in the army) but subsequently I faced hard times.

That said, I wonder if the economic reforms of the eighties spared us from more hardship later on. Had the economy not changed as it did, I fear things would have been much worse as our union controlled industries fought (and lost) against competition from the far east etc.

Your point about whether Cameron just picked the wrong party appears to be shared by others including Gordon Brown, and indeed Bendy Girl above. Personally though I think Cameron will continue to modernise the party and make it more electable.

It certainly seems to be a more compassionate brand of conservatism, and one I identify more with since I was elected.

The question is though (and having had my blog quoted in the Glasgow Herald and in the Parliament debating chamber in the space of 10 days I need to be a bit circumspect) will the Scottish Conservatives be able to do more to modernise into a Scottish equivalent of Cameron's Conservatives.

To many in Scotland, the SNP is somehow a 'new' electoral phenomena. To someone like me however who has, and continues to, live in an SNP bastion they are old hat and whilst I can honestly see the appeal to people, on the basis of my own experience, I actually fear for the future of Scotland under the SNP.

What will the future hold? You are spot on when you say it's anyone's guess. I think we will all have to continue to vocalise what we think would be best for Scotland and the people will decide..........