Alex Bell reflects on the implications of a Lab/SNP pact
The idea that Alex Salmond would sit round the UK Cabinet table in the event of a coalition may suit the Tories, but there’s no certainty it would happen.
In the remote event that Labour do ask the SNP into coalition, surely Angus Robertson and Stewart Hosie would have prior claim on the seat at Number 10?
It has served the Tories well to use the image and reputation of Salmond in whipping up fears of ‘Jocks At Large’ in Downing Street. They began with an image of the ex-leader on a poster, Ed Miliband in his pocket. Alex is a recognisable figure who comes with baggage. His cockiness doesn’t appeal to the English soul, and it was used by the Tories to whip up fear about a Labour/ SNP coalition.
Since then Nicola’s star turn at the two UK debates has over-shadowed the former First Minister. Where once the movement dumped all its hope on one man, they happily discovered that others could be just as good. Indeed Nicola has clearly transcended Salmond’s legacy by winning over women and labour voters who could not thole Alex.
She has never said that, in the event of a coalition, it would be Salmond who sat at the polished wooden table in the back room of No.10. In fact, she may have looked at those Tory posters and wondered if her former boss was an obstacle to any coalition. You don’t start being constructive in Westminster by appointing a figure who polarises opinions.
More to the point, Angus Robertson will have left Nicola in no doubt that if it comes to bums on seats in Downing Street, then his bahookies are first in line. The challenge to that claim will come from Stewart Hosie, who can’t be sitting in the Commons as Deputy Leader of a party in government, but without power.
Maybe both would be in cabinet, but its hard to see all three making the grade. There would be junior ministerial positions of course, though quite why a Nat ran for office in order to stack paper clips in Whitehall and cut ribbons in the provinces is beyond comprehension.
The whole concept of a Labour/SNP coalition seems implausible. It’s very hard to see what Labour would gain while easy to see what they would lose. Of course Nicola should push for it – What a prize! What a hoot! – but should it not happen, tears would be premature.
Meanwhile, lets enjoy watching the Tories out themselves as English nationalists – it’s Ruth I feel sorry for.