Thursday, May 7, 2015
The polls on the eve of the general election point to a Miliband government, but one requiring vote by vote deals with the SNP to survive. If I were a Labour supporter I would be very concerned indeed.
Both main parties are neck and neck in the polls. The Tories need a reasonable margin over Labour just to match their seat numbers. There's a chance the polls are underestimating Tory support and underestimating Labour's. But they would have to be wildly wrong to allow the Tories to achieve a haul of parliamentary seats that would outnumber Labour + the SNP's total. And that is what the Tories have to do. Nicola Sturgeon has promised to "lock the Tories out of government", even if the rest of the countries votes Tory and gives them more seats than Labour.
Unless there's an upsurge in Conservative votes that the polls aren't predicting (like there was in 1992 when the electorate belatedly realised Kinnock was going to get in and turned out en masse to vote against him) Miliband will be PM on Friday but will have to rely on the SNP to get his legislation through, even if he comes second in the election to Cameron. If Cameron can't partner up with other parties to achieve a majority (as the polls suggest he won't be able to), Miliband will, regardless of how much such an arrangement lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the British people. Concessions to the Scottish separatists will be necessary if a Miliband government is to survive from vote to vote and from week to week. But he would rather that than not govern at all, whatever he says to try and placate nervous English voters before the vote.
Miliband, who has already lurched his party to the left, will be forced to move further leftwards by the far left in his own parliamentary party and by the SNP, both of which, due to the lack of a in-built majority, will be pivotal to the survival of his premiership.
Labour's first Queen's Speech will probably sail through. The SNP will be happy to back it, as it puts the Labour fly firmly in the SNP's web ready to be influenced to achieve their own separatists and leftist agenda. In order to provide an legislative agenda for the first year that will gain adequate support from the Labour left and SNP, the speech will be chocker full of Miliband's most populist left wing policies - bankers bashing, rich rinsing, business bashing policies a plenty, similar to Miliband's ideological French soul-mate François Hollande. The effects on the British economy will be similar; high unemployment, an exodus of wealth creators, higher inflation, higher interest rates, higher taxes, industrial relations unrest as unions get more and more confident, powerful and demanding under "their" government and, eventually, a reckoning with reality.
That reckoning will come after a year or so, with the backdrop of a faltering economy about to crash to the ground as economic gravity inevitably reasserts itself. Of course, all this will come to a head quicker if the pending Euro crisis re-emerges if Greece crashes out of the Euro due to its own populist left wing leader's reality-defying ideological policies. But, assuming external crises don't occur to bring all this forward, by 12 to 18 months, Miliband's premiership will already be tarnished in England by several concessions he will have to have made to survive key votes in parliament. Now Miliband will be forced to moderate his ideological fervour and he will be at his most vulnerable. He will experience revolts from his own MPs as he is forced to move away from a left policy agenda to address the real issues the country is experiencing. The SNP will be even more important to Miliband's survival at this point.
The Labour government will limp from crisis vote to crisis vote. Miliband will experience humiliation at the hands of Alex Salmond, the SNP's leader in the Commons as well as his own left wing, and ridicule throughout the land. We can look back to the John Major years, when, after a string of lost mid-term by-elections, Major lost his Commons majority. He had to battle the Tory right from week to week, who took every opportunity to undermine him to promote their own utopian ideas and often massive egos, and he had to rely on DUP support to govern with a majority in parliament. Major's reputation was trashed in the eyes of voters as he was made to look weak, as was the Conservative party's generally. It has never fully recovered (evidenced by their failure to win a majority since then).
The DUP, being Unionists and with no strong left/right ideology (economically at least), weren't particularly demanding. The SNP will be a totally different proposition for Miliband. He'll struggle to contain them, even if he turns out not to be the weak leader people think he is.
The aftermath of this scenario is long term damage to Labour's reputation, possibly leading to a generation of being locked out of power. It's almost as if the election is lose/lose for Labour.
I'd find that funny if it wasn't so serious for the future of the country.