02 Jun 2017
June 2, 2017
In a moment of good news for political honesty, The UK Labour Party has confirmed (The Times, paywall) that if it is the largest party after the general election but lacks an overall majority then it will seek an agreement with the Scottish National Party (SNP) to govern the UK.
Since the SNP has already proposed this, then there’s finally no doubt that a result along these lines will lead to a Corbyn prime ministership and, he has confirmed today, a second Scottish referendum on the SNP’s timetable.
Most readers will know that such an agreement would almost certainly be what is usually referred to as a ‘supply and confidence’ arrangement. This means that SNP votes would be ‘lent’ to the government in key votes where defeat for the government would mean a new election. In return, the SNP would likely choose not to be part of the UK government, but instead to confirm a referendum timetable and to exercise considerable influence over the UK government’s direction of travel.
There remains a question about what would happen if Yougov turned out to be correct and the Tories won most seats but came out short of an overall majority. For now, with England the main battleground, while the Greens are up for this the Lib Dems are refusing to say they’d be part of an arrangement. Tim Farron, however, was elected leader on the basis of his ‘left’ credentials so it seems very likely he’d assent to an anti-Tory effort in parliament.
It also remains to be seen how Scottish Labour will respond to Corbyn’s honesty. Since their plan so far has, unwisely, been to seek ‘loaned’ Tory votes in order to benefit from the unionist vote and keep their single MP in place in Edinburgh South, this has had the effect of tacitly encouraging Labour unionists to ‘lend’ their votes to Tories in other marginals. The net effect of this is to make a Conservative win more likely since there are several seats the Tories may win in this way. This plan, helped along by the Daily Mail, has been guaranteed to increase the enmity between the Scottish Labour Party and the UK Labour Party.
With the Corbynites in the Scottish Labour Party powerless at the moment, it seems likely that the present Scottish Labour Party leadership will deny that UK Labour has uttered the words the media is reporting extensively. People, of course, are not daft and will be able to make their own minds up.
Ironically, we can expect the Daily Mail to drop the ‘help Labour in Edinburgh South’ plan and to switch to fulsome support for the Tory candidate there, stressing the real possibility of a Corbyn prime ministership. This blog’s guess is that the Mailman within Labour’s operation will depart shortly thereafter with notes and selfies in his pocket.
In the meantime, though, readers should beware the continued predictions by Yougov that the Tories will not manage an overall majority.
As mentioned in this blog before, Stefan Shakespeare, former Jeffrey Archer researcher and co-founder of Yougov, has got rich using ‘outlier’ election and referenda polls to hype Yougov’s name in the media in order to improve brand recognition amongst potential private sector clients (where all the money is made by pollsters in secret). The huge margin for error, along with other polls using different methodology and not released as yet, seem likely to be used by Shakespeare in the event that the present ‘shock’ prediction turns out to be bollocks.