danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
[personal profile] danieldwilliam
The election in Scotland is shaping up to be a peculiar one. It seems more like an election to decide on the opposition. The widespread assumption is that the SNP will win, will win a second absolute majority, and are likely to increase their vote share and majority over the 2011 result.

The Green Party seems to be campaigning specifically on their abilty to provide an effective, positive and more interesting opposition than any one else. Neither the Labour Party or the Conservative Party are making a strong bid for govenment but rather presenting themselves as an opposition party that would like to be considered for government after spending the years 2016 to 2021 beating up the SNP. The Liberal Democrats still have such a long way to go to recover from the set back linked to their part in the UK government of 2010-15 that I think their electoral pitch is pretty much "You'll miss us if we go."

So most of the parties are making noises about effective opposition but only one party is talking about being in government - and that's the government. I'm not sure I've ever seen an election where most of the focus was on who was going to be the opposition. The twhole #bothvotes controvesy just goes to show that we're really talking about who ought to be the opposition and how effective that opposition ought to be.

I expect things will look different in 2021. By then the gloss will have come off the SNP, or rather the teflon. There is a strange mindset in Scotland at the moment that the SNP are not really responsible for their policy or administrative failings but that these are caused by They Westminster and that the SNP are really a left of centre party that would like to govern as a left of centre party were it not for They Westminister. Policy consequences and administrative cock-ups seem not to be sticking to the SNP. There is a more fanciful mindset amongst fervant nationalists, the sort of person who thinks that Yes didn't lose #Indyref, that there are in fact no failings and that any negative news about the government in Scotland is being made up by some cabal of Unionists in London. After 14 years of government, 10 as a majority government, with increased powers for Holyrood and the memories of the excitement of the 2014 referendum faded I doubt the SNP can maintain the delicate position that everything good that they do is due entirely to them, everything bad that happens is to the result fo Westminister and that any thing they fail to do is because of the constitutional constraints.

Or the SNP will largely avoid this, by luck or judgement, and the 2021 election will be about which of the four opposition parties the people of Scotland feel they could do without.

In either case, having been the effective opposition may well turn out to be important.
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