Conservative Central Offfice have just unveiled their latest wheeze, talking up the SNP in order to hammer down the Labour vote in across the UK.
The poster works two ways, trying to feed fear in English voters that the SNP will somehow "interfere" with the governance of the UK and selling the idea to Scotland that the SNP will support a Labour government, which is the last thing nationalists really want to do.
It's an interesting message, revealing the Tories calculate they effectively burnt up Labour to vanquish Scottish nationalism. They think it is now safe to play with fire by encouraging SNP votes in Scotland while talking up the propsects of reducing Scots MPs to second-class Westminster status under Evel (English votes for...). All in all a short-cut formula to a second referendum
The Tories couldn't be more wrong if they think it is game over for nationalism but the cyncicism David Cameron demonstsrated for the Union on the morning after the referendum was won is now clear for all to see.
Cameron is quite happy for the SNP to win big in Scotland because this means Miliband is less likely to have a majority. He appears willing to risk the very Union he fought hard to keep for the short-term gain over Labour. Is he really that desperate? Yes, is the answer.
What the Tories want is exactly the outcome the SNP wants, a Conservative majority, although for different reasons. Here's a column from the Daily Record from last week that looks at the SNP strategy for May:
DEAL or no deal? Last weekendEd Milibanddoggedly avoided saying if he would go into coalition with theSNP.
He just wasn’t going there, leaving Sunday’s interview open to interpretation.
Miliband didn’t rule out an SNP deal for the simple reason that if he did (which he’d love to) then, a-ha, he must be preparing for coalition with the Lib Dems.
Regardless of whatever else he’d say, the idea of aLabourmajority would fade from voters’ minds in an endless numbers game.
Labour strategists, at this point, talk a good game for a majority, though doubts rumble across their brows like winter storms.
They recall the horror of 1992, an election Labour looked like winning. Who can forget Kinnock’s “we’re awright” Sheffield rally cry?
Things were not all right. In the last furlong, support ebbed away. Labour began talking coalitions and voters felt the prospect of a majority was gone. They talked themselves out of government, so no loose tongues this year.
The polling could slip away from Miliband, though mini-Stalingrads being fought across marginals confound the idea of a universal swing.
Then, the question is not would Miliband make an SNP deal, it is could he?
No – and not just because he’d have Jim Murphy to answer to.
SNP bosses insist they would support Labour but giving succour to a mortal enemy is the last thing they want to do.
Hence, Nicola Sturgeon’s red line on scrapping Trident. No new British PM could allow themselves to be defenestrated on the world stage by a minority party. She knows this.
Alex Salmond’s crazy fiscal autonomy demand is no less agreeable. Who would sign up to terms that leave Scotland worse off?
Polls show that a third of Scots would prefer a Labour government with an SNP coalition – but that is not what the SNP leadership wants.
A Tory majority, preferably lashed together with UKIP, is what they want.
An EU referendum, creating an opening for another vote on independence, is what they dream of.
A weak Labour government, flapping for a majority, would be a second-best choice.
No, a Tory government is the ideal outcome for the SNP’s Westminster vanguard.
Obviously, voting for either party would help achieve it.
polls in Scotland leave beaming smiles the faces of SNP politicians. But not
even they can quite work out what is going on, far less predict the
final effect on the general election.
own Daily Record polling shows that 47 per cent of people thought the
SNP “did not tell the truth” on the economy during the referendum
campaign. The evidence of plummeting oil prices and a consequent £7
billion gap in independence finances bear this out.
Nicola Sturgeon emerges as the most trusted political leader by streets
and the SNP appear to be on track to demolish Labour across Scotland in
a few months.
To inject analysis into this topsy turvey world enter the not the voting experts, but the publishers of bridal magazines.
They explain that most young brides start buying their magazines a year before the big day.
the business model relies on a huge percentage of readers continuing to
buy the magazines up to a year after exchanging their bridal vows.
married readers continue to buy into the product to maintain a link to
an event in which they invested so much emotional energy.
generous people dismiss this as the bridezilla effect, but as an
explanation of the SNP surge it serves as well as any other analogy.
The comparison breaks down in Scotland’s case, of course, because the groom said No at the alter in September.
The jilted bride, still with this huge emotional investment in the big day,is angry.
are in the mood to give us a kicking, it just depends how angry they
are,” said one phlegmatic Scottish Labour MP, back in Westminster from a
discouraging weekend on the doorsteps.
The job of defusing that anger falls on Jim Murphy and the footslogging determination of Labour activists.
Murphy, so far so good. He has established himself as a credible figure
with the Scottish media, but that is only one circle of influence.
Out in the real world people haven’t really heard his reforming message and, 104 days to go, time is his enemy. He has made a priority of oil, jobs and the economy, issues that connect with the voters.
SNP, having bet on black gold and lost, cannot go on the economy. It is
back to core vote issues like Trident and being Scotland’s defenders.
Which approach will woo this jilted bride, none can yet tell.
Is the old telephone number for Scotland Yard and just about the right handle for the Westminster Editor of the Scottish Daily Record. I mostly patrol Westminster but this is my personal blog, taking in everything from my native Isle of Lewis to the Isle of Dogs in London. You can read my journalism at www.dailyrecord.co.uk and you can contact me directly on torcuil@gmail dot com