Supreme irony (Mark Smith)

It is a supreme irony of this election campaign that the most unionist party has been the SNP.

Other parties have been keen to play up the idea of Scots as an apocalypse-ushering threat to the nation, but the SNP have consistently said that they are willing to look for some kind of consensus if no majority is returned on Thursday. Far from being the English-hating separatists portrayed by the Tories and the media, the SNP are in fact a moderate centre-left party who are willing to work in the interests of the United Kingdom and get rid of Cameron, Osborne and their chums. Independence isn’t part of their program in the present campaign.

There’s some logic in the idea that the only way to get rid of the Tories is to vote Labour. The argument goes that voting SNP will reduce the chances of Miliband forming a majority, meaning the Tories have a chance of getting back in. But not being the Tories isn’t much of a reason to vote for somebody, and the dour pragmatism of voting Labour for no other reason (except maybe some sentimental attachment to what the party once was) is a pretty depressing option.

Nicola Sturgeon has consistently made the point that if there are more anti-Tory MPs in the House of Commons than there are Tory MPs, then it will be possible to form a new, more progressive, government.

If Ed Miliband refuses to do that, then a second term for the Conservatives will be down to him.

But, as everybody knows but nobody wants to admit, things will be different after the votes are in. Promises or vows will no doubt start to shift as the iron logic of electoral arithmetic takes over. After all, if the polls are accurate and Scotland does return a large number of SNP MPs, then they will have every right expect some say in how the country is run. Won’t they?

They might expect to have some say, but the idea of that happening produces waves of rage and hatred that are hard to understand. We’ve heard plenty in the campaign about Sturgeon being the most dangerous woman in Britain, the Scottish tail wagging the English dog, and so on, and that kind of language makes you wonder what politicians actually want Scots to do.

During the referendum there was lots of talk about working together, pooling and sharing, Scotland being an equal partner in a family of nations, but the prospect of Scots actually fulfilling that role doesn’t seem very palatable to the people who said those things.

UK politicians don’t want Scots to run their own country, and they don’t want Scots to have a say in running theirs. What exactly do they want Scottish people to do?

Are Scots only part of the UK family if they choose representatives acceptable to the parties who have ruled the country for decades?

Voting should, I think (naively, some folk will say), come down to choosing the party with the best ideas. The SNP are the only party who are offering an alternative to the austerity that has done so much damage in the last few years and that, I’d say, is an idea worth voting for.

Jim Murphy might talk about opposing austerity, but nobody really believes him. In Scotland the SNP have made sure that people can access medicine and higher education even if they are poor, and they continue to campaign for getting rid of nuclear weapons we don’t need.

In Westminster they won’t be able to achieve all the things they want, but if the election results in a relatively sizeable, left-leaning anti-austerity contingent in the UK parliament, that can only be a good thing. Labour should drop their separatist position and admit they’d be better together with the SNP.

Mark Smith


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • May 6th, 2015 14:11


    That’s about the best letter I’ve seen on here from the SNP to date, however, as I’ve said before, you have a difficult task, trying to whitewash the SNP, nationally, while studiously avoiding any mention of their track record in Shetland.

    If only what you say were true.

    As for your invitation to Labour to get into bed with the SNP:

    ” Labour should drop their separatist position and admit they’d be better together with the SNP?”

    This is like seduction by a preying mantis, no sooner are you getting busy ‘under the covers’ than she begins to eat you!

    • Robin Stevenson

      • May 6th, 2015 15:35

      LOL…John, that sounds more like an excerpt from 50 shades of grey.

      “This is like seduction by a preying mantis, no sooner are you getting busy ‘under the covers’ than she begins to eat you!” 🙂

  • Robin Stevenson

    • May 6th, 2015 14:28

    Well said Sir, I couldn’t agree more.

    An interesting article in this mornings National from the award winning economist Professor Steve Keen said, the most positive thing he could say about the Labour and Tory view of austerity politics was “It’s naive and childish”, while praising both the SNP and the Greens for having it right, Conservative Labour and Lib/Dems approaches were “based on kindergarten understanding of economics”, meanwhile, business for Scotland and Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman called the case for cuts “A lie”.

    • John Tulloch

      • May 6th, 2015 15:18

      From ‘The National’, did you say… not the Financial Times?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 6th, 2015 15:48

        Yes John “The National”,…Happy to help 🙂

      • James Watt

        • May 6th, 2015 17:25

        No not the FT John, the comments originally come from an interview Steve Keen did with Every Investor, Steve is the head of the school of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University, London. He is also one of the few economists to forecast the financial crash but he was the only one to accurately predicted when it would happen.

        The video in the link is actually quite an interesting watch and his theories seem make sense, but I’m no expert, maybe you should watch it then tell us what you think.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 7th, 2015 9:47

        Steve Keen, who looks as if he’s on his way to a G8 protest in Davos has a point about governments running a surplus. However, we aren’t running a surplus.

        Last year we ran a record deficit, leading to record national debt which is still growing, and which the SNP criticised while, simultaneously, demanding an end to austerity.”

        Governments, as Greece, Argentina and others have discovered over the years, need to be able to service their debts the same as the rest of us. I understand the UK now spends more on servicing debt interest than we do on defence.

        As usual, the SNP and the Green Party want to “have their cake and eat it, too.”

      • Johan Adamson

        • May 7th, 2015 10:08

        There is no doubt John that austerity has slowed growth in lots of areas. Speculate to accumulate in a small measures.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 7th, 2015 12:04

        “Speculate to accumulate”, Johan? No thanks, not if politicians are picking the winners!

        The greatest speculation ever embarked on in human history, based if I may say, on a ‘presumptive diagnosis’, is that of replacing conventional energy with renewable energy on the basis that it will spawn a ‘green economy’ and stop the climate from changing.

        This particular ‘winner’ was backed by politicians and it has lead, as predicted, to exorbitant energy prices and contributed to soaring fuel poverty and thus soaring use of food banks. And environmental destruction on an epic scale.

        And after all the hundreds of billions spent around the world, it has failed,min any case, to even dent, noticeably, ever-rising global carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel prices have fallen precipitously, not risen.

        All predicted many times.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 7th, 2015 13:17

        You’re right John, the SNP and the Greens do want to “have their cake and eat it too”, which is the reason for borrowing an extra £1.4 Billion to invest in “Creating” new wealth to bring the deficit down while not having to make further cuts to the poor, that way no-one suffers while the debt is still being paid off.

        Of course we could go down an even more extreme road by our austerity parties, like, nobody eats, drinks or take wages for the next five years? that way the deficit and the national debt will be paid in jig time.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 9th, 2015 17:11

        £1.4 billion invested by the SNP and the Greens “to create wealth”?

        Don’t make me laugh! Too late, I am laughing!

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 9th, 2015 21:28

        All I’m doing John, is reiterating what EVERY expert economist [worldwide] has said about SNPs borrowing of £1.4 Billion, it “Makes complete sense”,

        Sadly, like Ed, Nigel and Nick, they all thought it was funny too,….erm where are they now again???

      • John Tulloch

        • May 9th, 2015 21:44

        How about “Dave” and “George”, did they think it was funny too – look where they are, probably, toasting the SNP for helping them to get there.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 10th, 2015 9:17

        You want to invest £1.4 billion to create wealth, Robin? Here’s how:

        Invest it in fixed road links to replace the Clyde ferries and inter-island ferries throughout Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides and Argyll.

        That would dramatically reduce the distance and travel to and between places like, say, Glasgow and Western Argyll, Lerwick to Unst, etc., recouping most of it from savings on ferries and breathing life into those rapidly depopulating places.

        If you need more money, put your idiotic purchase of the relics of Pelamis wave energy company up for sale – if you can dind a buyer, that is.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 10th, 2015 18:28

        Sadly, like, “Just call me Dave and Ozzy”, you’re missing the point John, £1.4 Billion further borrowing is “Solely” for investment, not for bailing out banks, building roads, or buying new ferries etc. It is for stimulating growth and job creation.

  • Joanna Gray

    • May 6th, 2015 19:48

    Well said Mark, couldn’t agree more.

  • clare green

    • May 9th, 2015 12:55

    Steve a truly wonderful letter! You’ve said exactly what I feel and more.

  • iantinkler

    • May 9th, 2015 22:06

    In Westminster they won’t be able to achieve all the things they want, but if the election results in a relatively sizable, left-leaning anti-austerity contingent in the UK parliament, that can only be a good thing. Labour should drop their separatist position and admit they’d be better together with the SNP. I think I am on a different planet sometimes. That is just how Labour got so stuffed, “left-leaning anti-austerity” who the hell pays for that? Incidentally the election resulted in a right wing leaning p party. Whoop Whoop! Lol

    • Robin Stevenson

      • May 10th, 2015 10:40

      Not often I agree with you Ian, but there are the odd occasions.

      You said, “I think I am on a different planet sometimes”,…Spot on.

  • Ali Inkster

    • May 10th, 2015 1:37

    I have just been listening to nicola Sturgeons demands on the news, Now she says the people of Scotland have voted for the SSnp and this means that Scotland now has a voice. Well as far as I can see 55% voted to remain part of the UK. Those that voted to leave in September went out and voted for the SSnp giving them 56 MPs and that is all that they were given 56 MPs to make up a minority voice in westminster. No powers to deliver for Scotland so what they will do is create merry hell till the rUK has no other choice but to cast off a divisive Scotland. We in Shetland can only hope that we are separated from Scotland when this happens. Carmichael and Scott have only one mission now and that is to make sure Orkney and Shetland come out of the mess in a position to ensure our future.

    • John Tulloch

      • May 10th, 2015 9:32

      Hear, hear!

    • Robin Stevenson

      • May 10th, 2015 11:13

      Which part of “This was NOT a referendum on independence” are you struggling to grasp Ali?

      56 SNP MPs are heading to Westminster to try to ensure that the “Smith Commission” is, not only implemented, but goes beyond what was proposed.
      You do not speak for the 8,590 [38%] of those in Shetland and Orkney that had the vision to look beyond their shores, realising that they’d be far better represented by choosing a party that wasn’t frightened to speak up on their behalf.
      Instead, S&O have been left with the ONLY Lib/Dem in Scotland and one of eight in the entire UK, Lib/Dems have not only become voiceless, but impudent. Carmichael blew his “big chance” and now you’re stuck with him.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 10th, 2015 14:00

        The isles weren’t “voiceless” when your new icon Grimond ploughed a lone furrow, Robin – he arranged the passing of the ZCC Act,,1974.

        The SNP will have no clout with the Tories – Alex and Nicola won’t be “writing Osborne’s budget” whereas I expect Alistair has many useful contacts at the Scottish Office and in government circles as a whole who can make things happen.

  • iantinkler

    • May 10th, 2015 12:23

    Ali, I agree, if ever their was a time to put as much distance between Shetland / Orkney and Scotland, now is that time. If Scotland is given Full Fiscal Autonomy and no Barnett formula money, Scotland would sink like a stone. I would rather not be part of that. From the latest squawks from Sturgeon she knows that also. It would be fun though to see the SNP cock it up big time without being able to blame Westminster. A bit sad on the people though!

    • Robin Stevenson

      • May 10th, 2015 14:17

      Those, like Ian, who are under the misunderstanding of what FFS [full fiscal autonomy] actually means to Scotland, I’d urge you to please read this link :

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 10th, 2015 17:03

        If that is what it means why has sturgeon knocked FFA back and only wants extra powers added on to what is promised with the Smith Commission? It wouldn’t have anything to do with £7.5 billion deficit and losing the Barnett Formula would it?
        Business for Scotland is a propaganda machine for separatists where figures are massaged to suit what ever message they are giving out at any one time. Nearly as reliable as Wikilies.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 10th, 2015 18:40

        Well that seems fair Gordon? While I’m subjected to the Toryrag, Daily Fail, and 97% of our bias news, suddenly business for Scotland isn’t a credible link?..pfft

        Perhaps you’ll blame me for having somehow managed to dub over Steve Keens voice then?

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 10th, 2015 20:32

        Steve Keen? never heard of him does he work for Wikilies?
        Business for Scotland, Wings over Scotland, Wikileaks and Steve Keen are they anything to do with a talking lion and a place called Narnia.
        So who do we Scots follow then Robin, Nicola who now after a 360 degree turn rejects FFA, or Steve Keen and Business Scotland. They cannot both be right.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 10th, 2015 21:20

        Just to recap Robin; John put you right about Steve Keen and what he said in an earlier post so why bring him up again especially when he was very eloquently put to bed.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 10th, 2015 21:42

        Erm…Who said Nicola rejected FFA Gordon? Please read my link to Ian above.

        Steve Keen is the award winning and respected Head of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University in London. He is also a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Development.

  • iantinkler

    • May 10th, 2015 14:08

    56 SNP MPs are heading to Westminster to try to ensure that the “Smith Commission” is, not only implemented, but goes beyond what was proposed. Well, Wrobin, why does Nicola, not want Full Fiscal Autonomy and no Barnett formula money, after all that is what the SNP have always wanted, is it not?. I will not hold my breath waiting for your reply to why Nicola is not wanting that any more. With regard to the 56 SNP MPs heading to Westminster, whatever they get will be wholly dependent on what Cameron gives them, I just hope it would be Full Fiscal Autonomy and no Barnett formula money. In the mean time Shetland should go for Crown Dependency to project ourselves from Scotland’s impending bankruptcy and socialist utopia! (equal misery for all).

    • Robin Stevenson

      • May 10th, 2015 15:45

      Ian, please read the link above this post, Nicola and the SNP absolutely want FFS, however there are certain matters that have to be discussed and agreed upon first, for example, how much UK imposed debt will Westminster expect Scotland to shoulder? will we still be expected to pay a share for trident [even although we don’t want it] other defence issues, embassies, the HOL and many other things that have to be sorted. With regards to Barnett, it is being phased out anyway, – I thought you knew this? – however it has to be done in a balanced way while we put into place whatever new levers of power we receive.

  • iantinkler

    • May 11th, 2015 8:27

    Robin, this was perhaps the kiss of death for Labour in England, nice one Nicola. “Nicola Sturgeon has told ITV News that the Conservatives “don’t deserve to be the Government.
    The SNP leader reiterated that her party would not take part in any “working arrangement” with David Cameron’s party in the event of a hung parliament, and said her MPs would take action to stop a Tory government “even getting off the ground”.
    Sturgeon’s comments follow remarks she made during yesterday’s SNP spring party conference where she made a direct appeal to Labour to “join forces with us” in a bid to keep the Conservatives out of government after the General Election.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.