Election 2015: It’s a win-win situation for the SNP’s 'Scotweiler'

Whoever wins this general election, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon will be a force to be reckoned with.

Not since the Jacobite rising of 1745 has there been "such hysteria in England about the Scots", says Ewen MacAskill in The Guardian. David Cameron is not that far behind The Sun's depiction of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as the "Scotweiler" with his insistence that the SNP "does not want our country to succeed".

Ed Miliband has ruled out any deal with the SNP, even, apparently, if it means the Conservatives holding onto power. The fact is, the SNP wins regardless of who becomes prime minister. If the Tories emerge as the biggest party and put together a coalition, SNP MPs will "engage in guerrilla tactics" against unpopular Tory policies.

If the SNP enters into some informal arrangement with Miliband, it will be in a position to "wring out concessions". Its strategy will be "one of attrition"; more and more powers will be devolved to the Scottish parliament until another referendum on independence becomes a "foregone conclusion".

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Actually, Cameron's claim that it would hold a minority Labour government hostage is "a great big lie", says Robin Lustig in The Guardian. The SNP is "perfectly happy" for all of us to buy the Tory line that a minority Miliband government would be forced to "abandon its fiscal responsibility programme, scrapTrident and rain goodies galore" on Scottish voters. It allows them to say to Scottish Labour voters: switch your vote to us to "give those pesky southerners a bloody nose" and you'll still get a Labour government without any of that "wishy-washy Blairite stuff".

The truth is, that on each and every occasion that the SNP threatens to bring down a minority Labour government, it will be within the Tories' power to prevent them. For example, if a minority Labour government proposes a budget that includes public spending cuts that the SNP doesn't like and it threatens to vote against it unless Miliband backs down, what do the Tories do? Vote against a budget with cuts they would have introduced themselves? Or vote for them, with Labour, neutralising the SNP? "If you were feeling mischievous, you could call it a de facto grand coalition in all but name."

You have to hand it to Sturgeon, says Tim Bale in the Financial Times. With "supreme sleight of hand and breathtaking chutzpah", she has entered into an "unspoken alliance" with the Tories that "massively overstates" the SNP's probable influence over a Labour minority, all "in the hope that, by helping... Cameron to secure a second term, an SNP victory in 2016 and a second independence referendum will become more likely."

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 


On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.