Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scottish Labour versus the SNP. What? Oh yes, and the Conservatives

Alex Massie:
In the first place, both the SNP and Labour consider themselves "Scotland's Party". They are opposed, certainly, to the Conservatives but they're also opposed to Westminster, regardless of which party is in power in London. Their task is to "defend" Scotland come what may even if that means insisting that sensible public-sector reforms in England are not necessary in Scotland.

But of course it doesn't end there. Labour see the SNP as upstart usurpers, threatening their cherished position as the "natural" party of government. The SNP membership, meanwhile, correctly view Labour as a Unionist party. With support for independence no higher now than it was when Salmond first strode into Bute House it may seem as though the constitutional question has sidled into irrelevance but it's certainly not irrelevant to the true believers on either side
It's a good article which also touches on the astonishing (to this outsider anyway) level of enmity between the SNP and Scottish Labour, which I think is unmatched (even in good ole N.Ireland) in UK politics.


JPJ2 said...

I am sorry but it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that the "Scottish" Labour party would oppose a Labour Party Westminster government.

For goodness sake the leader of the Holyrood MSPs reports to Ed Milliband

O'Neill said...

Miliband has also stepped back (publicly at least) from seeming to control the Scottish party in the same fashion as Brown and its cohorts did.

Would Scottish Labour which is much more red than the party south of the border keep its mouth in the (highly unlikely) event that a PM Miliband would mercilessly wield the axe on the public sector and spending in Scotland?

The Aberdonian said...

The emnity between the parties is deep and sometimes shocking. I think the loathing used to be more Labour towards the SNP maybe twenty years ago but it is now probably equal.

The extent is that leading SNP figures accuse Labour (soto voce) of corruption in office. Salmond said at his last party conference that Labour in power had been more interested in helping their cronies than the people they had pledged to help (at all levels of government). Alex Neil in the past has used the words "Mafia", "Mafioso" and "tentacles of the (Mafia) Octopus".

I think it is unfair to brand the whole Scottish Labour Party as corrupt. But in its Western Central belt stronghold shall we say there has been sharp practices. Former Herald editor (and now SNP supporter) Harry Reid said in 1999 (when he was not a Nat), he recieved a phone call from Labour HQ threatening to cut the paper's public sector advertising for printing an editorial that was neutral about the SNP.

On a personal level there are friendships strangely. Salmond is a friend of Michael Martin and after his resignation as MP and Speaker ordered his party not to campaign on Martin's record surrounding those events in the subsequent by-election as he felt his mate had been shafted.