Today’s poll showing the Scottish Conservatives surging with 33% of the vote against the declining SNP’s 44% shows that they, and not Labour or the LibDems, are the vibrant opposition and alternative to the SNP.
Blogger Effie Deans has just written a fine piece showing how for the SNP every election is about independence, and how the council elections signify a staging post on the path to Indyref2, however much the SNP might protest to the contrary. She also makes a powerful argument against tactical voting and in favour of a Conservative vote as the only way to defeat the SNP.
Long term I think the best chance of getting rid of the SNP as the party that governs Scotland is to vote for the Conservatives. I believe the Conservatives are the strongest Pro UK party in Scotland and the most committed to maintaining the UK. It would be better in the end if there were only one Pro UK party in Scotland. We could all then unite behind it. That party has to be the Conservatives. They have the best leader, both in Scotland and in the UK. They have shown strength in opposing the SNP and not giving into SNP demands. They deserve our thanks rather than our opposition. It is for this reason above all that I do not favour artificially maintaining the Lib Dem or Labour vote in Scotland by means of tactical voting in a First Past the Post General Election. It prevents us from reaching the goal of a Pro UK party eventually supplanting the SNP.
If the same party ruled Scotland as the UK there would no longer be the argument that Scotland votes one way while the other parts of the UK vote another. The SNP are above all else the Tory hating party and use that hate to gain support. Pro UK people must show that this hate belongs in the 1980s and with a dead prime minister who hasn’t ruled for decades. If Scottish politics could once more be about a choice between centre left and centre right, as it was some decades ago, then we would have defeated the SNP.
Long term I want Scotland to get back to normal party politics. My goal is that independence becomes a dead issue. But to do this we have to criticise each other. This is necessary in order to avoid being entirely negative only about the SNP. We should criticise what we disagree with across the board and be positive about the party we most support. Personally, I don’t believe that Labour can be resurrected in Scotland perhaps not in the UK either. Kezia Dugdale can’t quite seem to quite make up her mind whether she really supports the UK and I’ve heard other Labour people claim that they would prefer independence to a “hard Brexit”. Labour are too concerned with winning back their voters who defected to the SNP. Their default position is to make concessions to Scottish nationalism. It is this mindset going back 30 or 40 years that has left us vulnerable to the SNP.
The Lib Dems have become the Remain Party. Sorry folks this is a bit like being the Communist Party in East Germany after the Wall came down. In the end the little band waving red flags, longing for rule from the USSR, looked a little pathetic. Better by far to move on. It might in the short term bring some votes from disappointed Remain voters, but long term it is a blind alley. Campaigning to rejoin the EU, which would mean accepting Schengen, the Euro and national humiliation (Oh, please let us back, we can’t manage on our own), is untenable. I also think that campaigning for a second EU referendum crucially undermines our position in Scotland. But then I have come across far too many Lib Dems who appear to prefer the EU to the UK and far too many who would like to weaken the UK’s bonds still further and call it federalism.