CommonSpace takes a look at what’s happening on the General Election campaign trail today
WITH just over two and a half weeks to go to the General Election, new Ashcroft polling finds that Labour leader Jim Murphy is on course to lose his seat, as is Douglas Alexander, Labour campaign strategist.
It’s a tough old life being a Labour MP in Scotland; one even described the SNP surge as a “tsunami”. The SNP wave hit our TV channels again today as the party launches its manifesto – poor Jim.
Offerings to the North of England
The SNP manifesto is set to be launched in Edinburgh at 11am, and will break with the party’s previous position of not taking a position on English only issues, by putting forward a raft of proposals to help the North of England, and “rebalance” the UK. Why stick to a tired old policy of not taking positions on English-only issues when now you’ve got all this power to do something about English-only issues?
“While a strong London is good for the UK, also having a strong Cardiff, Newcastle and Leeds is even better,” the manifesto will say.
There won’t be a sniff of independence in the manifesto, with the party attempting to avoid the argument that Scottish nationalists are fixated with independence. David Cameron will attack the SNP anyway, as he’ll say the SNP don’t really care about people in the rest of the UK, and would be happy to run down hospitals south of the border.
Some might argue that Cameron doesn’t care about most people in the rest of the UK, and has been happy to run down hospitals south of the border, but we couldn’t possibly comment.
Expect hell fire and brimstone from Scottish Labour over, you guessed it, “full fiscal autonomy”. The SNP’s devolution policy will be heavily scrutinised, and the party are likely to propose some sort of transition from the Barnett formula to raising all taxes and spending in Scotland, in an effort to address the “financial black hole” that Labour so like to bang on about.
The black hole also appears to be growing – now Labour are quoting PS40.5bn, whereas before it was PS7.6bn. Soon enough the black hole will have just sucked all of Scotland in, leaving only Murphy left with an Irn Bru cart and a microphone saying “see, didn’t I warn you about the SNP and full fiscal autonomy!”
Ed Miliband at STUC conference
Labour leader Ed Miliband will address the first day of the annual Scottish Trades Union Congress conference in Ayr at 4pm. He’ll warn that voting SNP could usher in a Tory government.
Well what else did you expect him to say? A raft of new policies to end Margaret Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws? New collective bargaining rights to make it easier for trade unions to organise in the private sector? Don’t be silly.
He’s two weeks out from a General Election where he’s fighting for marginal seats against people who mumble the words “union barons” in their sleep. Be happy that Ed is there at all, after all he has never once supported a trade union strike in his whole time as leader, and he most certainly won’t support any strikes if he becomes Prime Minister. But remember: Labour are the party of the trade unions. Repeat it over and over until you believe it.
Picture courtesy of Paul Stevenson