Launching her party’s campaign today in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said that while the SNP have ruled out the idea of entering into any formal coalition, they would entertain the possibility of a ‘progressive alliance’ with Labour, in the event of a minority government or hung Parliament.
“If there’s a hung parliament … SNP MPs will seek to form a progressive alliance to lock the Tories out of government,” Sturgeon said.
Any alliance however, would be contingent on a long list of conditions to do with anti-austerity economics, environmental issues, and the most difficult one to ameliorate: a second independence referendum.
“The SNP is not going to be giving support to parties that do not recognise the central principle of the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future,” she said.
She said that in the two decades since the devolution of powers to a Scottish government. However, she claimed that “many of the gains of the last 20 years and the promise of a better future” were being threatened by what she sees as “hardline Brexit ultras” within the Conservative Party.
SNP creating a stir
“Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU has been ignored.” she said.
Sturgeon thinks that the Conservative government had, to date, ignored the wishes and needs of the Scottish electorate, and expects this trend to continue going forwards.
“The Conservative Party has ridden roughshod over the Scottish Parliament. For the first time ever the UK government has chosen to legislate on devolved matters without the consent of Holyrood.
“With so-called ‘moderate’ Conservatives in full retreat and the hard-line Brexit ultras on the march, that is surely only a taste of what is to come.”
She continued by lambasting a slide towards the ‘hardline’ extreme of Conservative politics, and said a vote for the SNP would be a vote to “escape Brexit” and to “take Scotland’s future out of the hands of Boris Johnson and a broken Westminster system”.
Because of the SNP’s “cast-iron” mandate for another referendum, Sturgeon said Westminster has “no right to block the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland”. Aside from, of course, the authority to call and deny referenda as part of the system of devolved power.
Further, Sturgeon added that the SNP would launch a bill at Westminster aimed at protecting the UK-wide NHS from privatisation and post-Brexit trade deals. During trade deal talks, the NHS Protection Bill would block any UK government scheme to use the NHS as a “bargaining chip” or fodder during trade talks.
Responses to today’s launch
Reciting his well-rehearsed party politics line, Michael Gove offered the following insight,
“That would mean there would be two referendums next year – one on Europe, and one on Scotland’s independence. It’s the last thing this country needs.”
“We need to get Brexit done and get on with the people’s priorities, but the SNP and Labour instead want more misery as two referendums consume all the air in our political system.”
We can only assume Mr Gove sees referenda as a greater cause of ‘misery’ than unaffordable healthcare, but we can be thankful he has a great idea of what this country needs.
Weighing in with his own party’s position and responding to the possibility of a second referendum, Kier Starmer said Labour wouldn’t be doing deals with any party.
“The Labour party is in this election for real change and we’re in it to win it, and therefore we’re not in the business of talking about deals with other parties.”
So, the expected show of strength for now. We’ll see if they revise their position further down the line.
What we can say is that the pound isn’t enjoying the uncertainty rekindled by the general election and the uninspiring offerings of both major parties. UK indices’ woes were compounded this week by disappointing updates from Lloyds Banking Group (LON: LLOY) and Deutsche Bank (ETR: DBK) and Donald Trump antagonising trade talk progress.