The SNP and Labour, for better or worse

There are couples we all know who appear not to be able to live together nor live apart. They bicker and feud all marriage or partnership long, neither finding much to like or praise about the other. Often, the banter is good-natured, if a little wearing for its audience, and some really do like an audience. They tend not to put on such a performance when it’s just the two of them and rub along just dandy with small kindnesses and shared habits, born of living closely together. Secret rituals which puzzle the onlooker.

Others though, have you wincing at the barbs and the taunts and wondering why they don’t just split up. Having voiced this to a few such couples I’ve encountered in my time, the reaction is almost one of disbelief. The thought has never occurred to them. Or if it has, there are ready excuses as to why they stay.

Occasionally, you get to witness sublime moments of affection, instances which make you truly stop and wonder and admire. But then they go and spoil it. Back to business as usual, the default setting of a pattern of ingrained behaviour, a cycle which neither are willing nor wont to break.

A bit like the SNP and Labour over the bedroom tax. Here is an issue upon which both parties are agreed in opposing, for largely similar reasons. Listen to any MSP from either party and you’d be hard pushed to determine which is which. Holyrood’s welfare reform committee is united in demanding its downfall.

At first, Labour called on the SNP government to do more with the powers we have in Scotland to mitigate against its pernicious effects. The SNP was unmoved. Both parties have said they will abolish it, Labour if it wins the 2015 UK General election, the SNP if Scotland votes yes in September and assumes powers over welfare and benefits.

Both parties have made efforts at local government level to find routes around it, though some local administrations appear not to have got their party memos and have justified not doing anything with the powers they have to address it. Often it’s been as petty as if the Labour/SNP opposition group moves for a stand to be taken, the Labour/SNP led administration refuses to support it.

Find £50 million from the Scottish budget, Labour cried. You could if you really wanted to, they blustered. Tell us what you’d cut instead, the SNP demanded. We would if we could, the party of government countered.

And then, yesterday, a breakthrough. The Depute First Minister has indeed found the necessary readies to offset its impact but needs Westminster to allow the Scottish Government to breach its arbitrary rules on housing discretionary grant.

Labour’s response? Effusive acclamation? Dinna be daft. Apparently, that’s not what the Scottish Government should be doing. Apparently it should be adopting and advocating a scheme developed in East Lothian which appears to achieve the same effect as Jackie Baillie’s bill without the need for legislation.

The SNP’s response? Rejoicing that a further solution has been found? Naw. Our way or no way it would appear.

It would cost both parties zilch to welcome each other’s efforts to find solutions. Even if they had to grit their teeth, surely they could share this platform and demonstrate their determination to find common cause. That occasionally we can be better together when we find ways of going it alone.

But so used have they become to the snipe of day to day politics, they cannot even countenance a ceasefire. By habit and repute, they are set on a course of constant arty bargy, desperate to find the next stair heid in which to stage a rammy.

And we the voters, the onlookers are left scratching our heads in bewilderment. Is it too late to hope that they could all stop for a moment and reflect on why they came into politics in the first place?


6 thoughts on “The SNP and Labour, for better or worse

    Is Cameron getting his due deserts whilst still in office unlike the smiling assassin Blair .41 Bishops are writing to him regarding his stance on Austerity Measures causing Poverty whilst Cameron Defends them by pontificating about them giving People Hope .
    Cameron and Blair show they both have the same lack of morality concerning their ‘quatuor ‘ with Brooks and Murdoch .
    It was published in the Media and shown on the News Brooks attending Downing Street each morning at 10 am for her Briefing from Blair .Private Meetings with Blair Associates were more frequently held than Cabinet Meetings ,so where were those still in the Labour Party today when this practice was going on .
    Since Libya now has a Government and not Gaddafi’s sole rule Cameron promised Blair he would repress incriminating evidence that Blair and Straw gave up Gaddafi non supporters here for Business Deals .Cameron in return was to have Blair’s backing within Political Circles to be the next PM .
    As we know Cameron is no Friend of the UK by his Draconian Reforms Welfare ,Employment ,NHS ,Post Office all of which Blair instigated .The Media are Briefed by Downing Street on different issues so what gets reported is the same Spin we read .Media not controlled Politics not Dirty .

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  4. One of the more irksome traits of commentators on the referendum campaign and Scottish politics in general is the deplorably lazy resort to the “one’s as bad as the other” line. Whether it is the two sides in the independence debate or the party political divide between the SNP and British Labour, we’re told that they are both the same. Nothing to pick and choose between them.

    This is intellectual indolence at its worst. It is a feeble excuse for failure to analyse the actions and motivations of the protagonists in order to differentiate between them. It is so much easier simply to equate the two so that a factor identified as being associated with one is then simplistically applied to the other in some woefully misguided effort to appear “objective” and “even-handed”.

    The SNP are recognised as being motivated by a genuine desire to ameliorate the impact of the bedroom tax. So it is unthinkingly assumed that British Labour in Scotland are similarly motivated. There is no acknowledgement of the fact that, in everything it says and does, British Labour in Scotland is driven by the imperative of attacking the SNP and undermining the Scottish Government – both for the purposes of the anti-independence campaign and for reasons of petty resentment and jealousy.

    The sniping and carping associated with that petty resentment and jealousy is acknowledged. But, rather than go to the trouble of examining what makes the two sides different, the culprit writer takes the easy route and tars the SNP with the same brush – despite the rather obvious fact that the SNP has no reason for feelings of resentment and jealousy against British Labour.

    The product of such a ludicrously simplistic approach is, as one would expect, facile nonsense.

  5. nailed it in one cant add anything more than what was posted i want to add if only , if only this wall could be breeched just what we could do because there are more points that unite us than divide us and labour real labour not the one that’s controlled from London could make a welcome partner because they are not all like mis lamont most of the labour support have brains and common sense , if only

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