Here’s one way of getting ahead. Although, technically, that guy’s getting everything but a head, right?

A more conventional way of getting ahead, at least as far as politics is concerned, is by getting more votes than other folk. That’s a rubbish link, I know, but this is just a blogpost and not something intended to rival the best of Scottish journalism – like, say, Viz might.

So, anyway, I noticed this short and simple FT analysis of the current state of play in Scotland. Essentially, the journalist Kiran Stacey is saying that Labour has the SNP exactly where it wants it. That might seem confusing or even a bit nuts at first glance, but Stacey is quite right. He’s talking about Labour, you see, not ‘Scottish Labour’. Scottish Labour says Nicola Sturgeon’s cast iron guarantee not to prop up the Tories is a terrible mistake because it takes away her bargaining power, but of course Scottish Labour wants folk to vote Scottish Labour and not SNP. UK Labour, though, knows Sturgeon’s message plays very well to all anti-Tory folk and helps destroy the only British party which could help prop up a minority Tory government – the Lib Dems (leaving sectarian NI politics the Tories’ only hope….).

Of course Jim Murphy is correct when he says that if you want Labour to be the largest party then the best way to effect this is to vote Labour in Scotland. But no-one thinks Labour or the Tories will have an outright majority, so most folk are basing their voting thoughts not upon who will be the largest party but upon the combination of parties they’d like to see running the UK after the election. From that latter, surely more realistic, perspective then it’s a matter of simple arithmetic that the key variable is how many anti-Tory (and Lib Dem) seats come out of the election – not how many Labour ends up with. Simply put, the certainty with which Sturgeon has committed the SNP to the anti-Tory camp means that it doesn’t matter per se which party is the largest. What matters is which party can form a winning coalition (or set of working arrangements).

Kiran Stacey is correct that (UK) Labour has the SNP where it wants it. And the SNP is exactly where it wants to be.