Thursday, April 01, 2010

In Which I Disagree With Nick Clegg (and Jeff)

It probably isn't good for a PPC to disagree with their leader this close to an election, but as Jeff brought it up I thought I'd better put the record straight.

As Jeff pointed out Nick Clegg said on his trip to Scotland today:

"The truth is the SNP is as irrelevant in London as the Conservatives are in Edinburgh."

Now I know Nick studied Archaeology and Anthropology at University so unlike myself or Jeff may not be as conversant in the numerate arts. But Jeff uses the mathematical argument to point out that at 16 seats to the Tories, the Lib Dems must be a bigger irrelevance at Holyrood. There are however a couple of ways to look at the above statement.

As Jeff saw it purely in terms of numbers I'll take the mathematical argument first. The SNP with 7 currently have 1.1% of MPs even with Alex's target of 20 MPs they would have 3.08% of MPs. That is opposed to the Conservative parties 13.2% and Lib Dems 12.4% of MSPs. So if Jeff is arguing from a mathematical stand point he is unto a loser as Nick is wrong and the SNP are actually more irrelevant in London than the Tories are in Edinburgh.

The second thing that needs to be looked at is political influence rather than just sheer numbers. Again here Nick is actually wrong the Conservatives have been propping up numerous SNP policies in Edinburgh while the SNP have not been doing the same in Westminster. So once again the Tories are having more influence than the SNP, sorry Nick you've got that wrong again.

Jeff then argues that the Conservatives must have more influence than the Lib Dems have in Edinburgh. Maybe at present but over the last 11 years while the Tories have eaten the odd crumb off the SNP table, because neither are willing to formalise their arrangement, the Lib Dems did over eight years of coalition manage to make a more liberal, fairer Scotland than the rest of the UK. As the old adage goes it isn't so much size that matters put knowing what to do with it.

Looking at what the SNP are looking for along with their Plaid colleagues in the event of a hung Parliament they are looking for a fairness that ends at Hadrian's Wall and Offa's dyke. As I blogged yesterday they wanted assurances that all the areas of devolved responsibility are either protected or invested in. For a UK wide election that is not a fair way to deal people, the electorate and I suspect that whoever forms the Government will bring in some reform that will allow Sinn Féin to take their seats without swearing to the Queen if they will support them rather than kow tow to the fiscally blinded and irresponsible nationalists. We need to be as fair as we can be whilst building our way out of the mess that Labour have got us into.

Nick Clegg actually bigged up the SNP by saying they were as influential in London as the Conservatives in Edinburgh.

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