Votes for the SNP bind them closer into the Union

Votes for the SNP in the general election would bind the SNP closer into the Union especially if Labour  form the government. This was becoming even clearer from the analysis of the gap between Labour’s and the SNP’s austerity plans by Paul Johnson of the Institute of Fiscal Studies. ( Times £)

What is clear is that there is a really quite substantial difference between Labour and the Conservatives. We can put it in the order of £24 billion of spending a year by the end of the parliament.”

He said George Osborne’s cuts would be between £25 billion and 30 billion while those proposed by Ed Balls would be about £5 billion. The difference is because the shadow chancellor is prepared to borrow more.

Mr Johnson went on to say that the SNP’s plans, announced by Ms Sturgeon earlier this year, would amount to an increase in spending of about £7 billion by the end of the parliament.

The facts increase pressure for a Labour -SNP deal and  undermine  Labour’s  claim that a vote for the SNP is automatically a vote for the Tories, provided Labour  can hit around 280 seats with at least 270 of them in England. Quite a tall order I agree.  My case is for a large but not too large cohort of SNP MPs after 8 May voting regularly on all financial affairs which could conceivably affect Scotland, with two fingers held up to Conservative MPs militant for English votes on English laws. If it works it reduces the oxygen for separation.  And there’s a stronger argument: the SNP cannot afford to go it alone with devo max or full fiscal autonomy  As a recent analysis shows:

Scottish public spending is over 10% higher per head than UK average, while the taxation income especially now that oil revenues are collapsing, is well short of what is needed to support it, and indeed below UK average levels. Cuts in public spending or increases in taxation of £8 billion a year or more would be needed, implying at least a 12% reduction of spending on top of cuts already in spending plans; alternatively, tax income would need to rise by about 15%. Public expenditure reductions of this scale would have to be spread across public services and across welfare spending, and could only be expected to increase as Scottish demography drives demand for pension spending.

Cuts on this scale would be electoral suicide.

An extra £7 billion or so would nearly see them through under existing fiscal powers. Take note and don’t stretch reality too far, Sinn Fein!

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  • T.E.Lawrence

    “Take note and don’t stretch reality too far, Sinn Fein” After the latest debacle I wouldn’t let SF Bean Counters do a six year olds maths test ! Bunch of incompetent wasters ! If they where employed in the Private Sector the whole lot of them would be sacked immediately !

  • Robin Keogh

    Simply looking at Oil Revenues and not taking into account the possibilities that open up for Scotland as an independent country in terms of attracting foreign direct investment and having full power over all taxation in competition with England is a little bit deviius to be honest. Moreover, does your argument imply that when oild prices rise again, it will be a good time for Scotland to make the break then, and should prices fall again does it mean that they then re-enter the UK. The case for Independence goes well beyond oild revenues and public spending. The rise in support for the SNP reflects not just a belief in the economic policies offerred by independence it also reflects a growing sentimentality attached to the idea of it.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Scotland never wanted any form of “real independence,” wanting to keep the UK currency and the Queen would also remain head of state – it’s hard to see beyond general anti Englishness within most of the SNP.

  • handelaar

    Where to begin?

    With the lazy assertion that public spending in Scotland is higher alongside not merely the obligatory “Better-Together” failure to mention that tax revenue is higher still, but a completely-false assertion that the *opposite* is true?

    With the sudden disappearance of Wales from the “270 Labour seats in England” claim?

    With the *nonsensical* claim that oil prices have a major impact on Scotland’s revenue? (Does the author think perhaps that Nicola Sturgeon is the custodian of all the world’s petrol stations selling Brent-derived fuel?)

    Frankly once we’ve got this far the “analysis” might as well not be there. Building a case over one utterly-incorrect assertion would make that case unworthy of attention. This one’s built on three.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Oh don’t be silly. If you think Alex would step into a Labour/SNP coalition to bind Scotland closer into the Union through purpose or circumstance you severely underestimate him.

  • James Kelly

    This article appears to be nothing more than a “heads I win, tails you lose” wish fulfillment fantasy from a unionist writer.

  • GUBU

    Sometimes you have to read to the end of an article to come to the conclusion that the author is wrong. That can take time.

    In this case, you do us all a great favour by effectively undermining your case in the very first sentence, with the ridiculous assertion that the SNP will somehow be ‘bound’ to the union after the next election.

  • Joshua Macpherson

    We don’t generally dislike English people (excluding natzis from UKiP). We dislike the queen as a imperialistic symbol living off public money. We dislike Westminster establishment because they’re rich private school boys. We dislike inequality. Finally we dislike being treated as an English colony!

  • Joshua Macpherson

    Westminster get ready, Scots are coming! 😉

  • Joe_Hoggs

    As an independent nation, Scotland wanted to keep the queen as head of state.

  • Joshua Macpherson

    I think that Yes campaign didn’t want to go too far with cutting the history ties. Believe me, people voting yes don’t like the the queen too much. How the queen is different from you and me? What did she do to give her honours? Do you think it’s fair that she spends millions of pounds of our money just because she was born in a better family than you and me?

  • Scots Anorak

    “The facts increase pressure for a Labour-SNP deal and undermine Labour’s claim that a vote for the SNP is automatically a vote for the Tories, provided Labour can hit around 280 seats with at least 270 of them in England.”

    Perhaps the key fact with regard to Labour’s claim is that there are actually not that many Scots constituencies where one more vote for the SNP and one less for Labour might let the Conservatives or anyone else in. The Scots Tories were reduced to a rump long ago, while the Liberal-Democrats are likely to lose all, or nearly all, their mainland Scots seats (with their votes for the most part going to the SNP or Labour). In most of the country, it is very much a two-horse race.

    If Labour were to rule out any deal with the SNP (difficult as it is to rule out ad hoc support), it would be seen as a re-run of the referendum campaign tactic of “ruling out” a currency union. It is unlikely that the same trick would work twice, especially if the arithmetic is such that the only alternative to working with the SNP is a Grand Coalition with the Conservatives (who have just chewed up and spat out the Liberal-Democrats) or another election, which might of course be won by the Tories. If either of those two scenarios came about, Labour would be finished in Scotland for a generation — and perhaps finished in England north of Watford.

    Any Labour person who entertains the idea of ruling out a deal with the SNP is guilty of the same error of thinking that has brought the party to its current low level of support — taking for granted and ultimately alienating the heartlands and relentlessly going for the support of right-wing swing voters in the south who gadfly back in the other direction at the drop of a hat.

  • Scots Anorak

    Though notably moderate compared with his comments on the Irish language.

  • Pasty2012

    It would now seem that the Tory’s and Cameron have decided that not all Westminster MP’s have the same entitlements or their vote worth the same as the English MP’s. Any UKIP Member who takes a seat as a Westminster MP can negotiate to give their backing and form a Government but the same will not be allowed to any SNP member who is elected as an MP to Westminster. Will Cameron and the Tory’s come out and say they will NOT go into government with UKIP or the DUP from NI who demand that their museums include lectures telling visitors that the World was formed 6500 years ago – just go to the Giants Causeway on the North Antrim Coast. A Party who also demand that parks and services close on Sundays and that band plays which don’t reflect their religious beliefs.
    So will Cameron come out and state clearly that these people will NOT be part of any Government he would form ?