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Jeremy Corbyn
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grufty jim
grufty jim
1978 posts

Edited Sep 08, 2015, 17:34
Re: Jeremy Corbyn
Sep 08, 2015, 17:31
Just to respond to the first half of your post...

Locodogz wrote:
Hmmm at the risk of straying into Dodge type territory I'd counter your 'show me evidence that it did' with a 'show me evidence that it didn't'?!?

The only evidence that I can offer I fear is the huge effort that the Tories (and Tory press) put behind the 'vote Labour, get the SNP card' - almost to the exclusion of any other argument. Grasping, manipulative but not (entirely) stupid - I'd suggest that they wouldn't have done this if they didn't think it would play to their advantage?

I'm going to do my best to answer this in good faith. But let me just start by suggesting that... it's not really a fair question. A person isn't supposed to have to prove a negative in a rational discussion.

A claim was made - namely that the SNP had a significant impact on the election result south of the border (it's somewhat self-evident that they had an impact north of it - I don't think that's in question!) They "created divisions that allowed the Tories in", according to the original claim.

But a claim like that isn't just personal political opinion (of which this forum is filled, and that's totally legitimate), it's also an historical assertion. It's saying "this (controversial) thing... happened". And when you make a statement like that - on a forum where such things are discussed and challenged - it's not unreasonable to imagine that it's up to you to provide some evidence.

If I respond with "I haven't seen any evidence for that. Indeed most of the analysis suggests it's just not true", then it doesn't suddenly become incumbent upon me to prove the evidence does not exist. As I say; it's not up to someone to prove a negative.


All that said, let me explain exactly why I think the SNP did not have a significant influence on the English vote. And also why I believe there's a compelling argument that even if Labour took every SNP seat, the UK would still have a tory government.

And look, I'm not saying we should instantly reject as mad or stupid or biased the claim that the SNP had an effect. As we know, the tories did use the Scottish Nationalists as a stick to beat Labour (though we'll have to agree to differ if you say it was "almost to the exclusion" of everything else). So it's reasonable to ask - after the election - whether that strategy was successful. Did the SNP, in fact, influence the outcome in England? Did they "allow the tories in?"

Firstly to political analysis. The witterings of columnists do not a "proof" make, but every single thinkpiece I read after the election came to (roughly) the same conclusions about why Labour lost. I didn't read a single one at the time to suggest that the SNP played a major part in the voting intentions of English people.

To refresh my memory I did a quick search on the phrase "factors in outcome of 2015 UK election" and skimmed the first 10 news results. 8 of them literally don't mention the SNP (except when specifically discussing Scottish results of course); one suggests the SNP probably had a negative effect on the Labour campaign and claims Miliband himself blames them for his defeat, and one mentions the SNP specifically to dismiss them as a factor.

Even the article that lays some of the blame at the SNP's door is really just saying that Labour failed to counter the tory PR... which once again is far less about the SNP than it is about Labour's inability to communicate effectively with the electorate (hint: the main reason for that was because they had nothing worth saying, and it's that fact that makes Miliband want to cast around for someone else to blame - but that's a discussion for another day).

Anyway, I'm not going to link to every article that doesn't blame the SNP, but they range from The Guardian (even The Letters page!) to The Telegraph to the New Statesman and beyond.

You will - of course - find outliers... columnists who will blame the SNP. But if you read the analysis - right, left and centre - it tends to uncannily reach a near-consensus. And it's not that the SNP had a measurable effect.

Because if we move from political to psephological analysis - there are clear reasons for the larger than expected tory majority. This is a decent article. But there are literally dozens of bloggers out there who have crunched the numbers and presented the data.

The collapse of the LibDems - and the fact that the tories appear to have taken the vast majority of their seats - is probably the single biggest factor that pre-election polls failed to fully account for. That factor alone likely accounts for a tory lead over Labour almost equal to the number of SNP MPs! On top of that, the UKIP vote hit Labour hardest in marginals, while it hit the tories hardest in safe seats. You would need a seat-by-seat analysis to fully explain that one; but I'd be willing to bet the farm on the SNP not being a crucial variable there.

Obviously Labour lost a large number of Scottish seats; and if the tory majority had been within that range, this discussion might be different. But the tory majority in England alone is more than twice the total number of Scottish seats.

As you say yourself - "the only evidence (you) can offer" for the SNP being a measurable factor in this English near-landslide is a tory PR campaign. Might I suggest that the links and analysis I've provided trump that? And that just because the tories shout loud enough about something, it doesn't automatically mean it's a real issue that will affect the real world?

If you're still convinced that the SNP are significantly responsible for the tory government, based on zero evidence and a tory PR campaign... then we'll just agree to differ.
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