Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Don't anybody move, or...

As of yesterday, Ed Miliband has decisively ruled out something which was never likely to happen anyway, namely SNP participation in a formal coalition.  It’s easy to be decisive when the decision has already been taken by someone else.
But it was his apparent reasoning which struck me.  I had naively thought that when he finally got around to stating the obvious it would be to blunt the Tory attack and placate the tabloid frenzy about those dastardly Scots actually daring not only to vote for another party, but to play a role in the UK as well.  But no, it seems not.  In Milibandland, this is actually a cunning ploy to persuade the Scots to vote Labour after all, on the basis that he’ll allow the Tories to run the country if they don’t.
It reminded me, rather, of this scene from the film “Blazing Saddles” where the hero holds a gun to his own head and tells the townspeople who are about to lynch him “Don’t anybody move, or the black guy gets it”.  It works well in a comedy film; the townspeople all lay down their weapons and the sheriff pushes himself back into his office.  But then, it’s fiction, and comedy; and whilst Miliband knows that his line about the largest party getting to form the government is pure fiction, I don’t think he was intentionally being comedic.
But if “Vote for me in Scotland, or I’ll let the other guy run the country” isn’t an attempt at comedy, not to say farce, then what is it?  It sounds like a form of blackmail where the blackmailer is threatening to be his own main victim.  But it’s probably just the result of a thought process which is trapped in Westminster and a million miles removed from the real world. 
There’s a certain lack of understanding at the top of the Labour Party about how much has changed in Scotland since 18th September.  At one level, I can’t blame them for that; the scale of the change has obviously surprised even the SNP.  But while the SNP have adapted to it and are riding the wave, Labour seem to be still in denial, clinging to the core belief that normality will return soon, if only they can find the right combination of threat and menace.
It’s an approach which seems likelier to accelerate their fate than to avoid it.

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