The SNP’s target should be Starmer’s right wing policies and many lies

We’re only just over a week into the Westminster general election campaign and it is already unfolding in a drearily predictable way with the SNP being marginalised, Labour spouting hollow promises of ‘change’ that it has no intention of realising and the Tories losing what little plot they once possessed. The Scottish Tories are being the cynical morally bankrupt opportunists that we’ve come to know and loathe, basing their campaign for a Westminster general election on trying to get an SNP MSP evicted from the Scottish Parliament. This is of course not unrelated to the fact that the Tories have only one policy for Scotland, “we’ll do whatever we are told by a Conservative government in Westminster.”

Despite, or more precisely because of, this the Tories have campaigned on the sole issues of trying to get Michael Matheson to resign from Holyrood and hating on the SNP. Precisely how voting for a Conservative MP to represent a Scottish constituency at Westminster is going to get Michael Matheson to resign the Tories have not explained. That’s because they know the issue of Michael Matheson is utterly irrelevant to a Westminster government and they are insulting the intelligence of the voters by pretending otherwise.

Their willing accomplices in this deceit is the anti-independence media in Scotland, which reports on the Scottish Tory anti-Matheson campaign without ever calling it out for the cynical opportunism and performative SNP bad that it really is.

The truth is that the Tories are a busted flush, their UK campaign has been even more dire and dismal than that of Douglas Ross and his girning band of we’re not nationalists we’re British. Ross intends to marshal the diehard opponents of Scottish independence to rescue the Conservatives in Scotland from the well deserved electoral decimation which assuredly awaits them in the rest of the UK. With the connivance of the anti-independence media in Scotland and tactical voting from the staunch brigade, Ross may very well succeed in saving some seats for Scottish Tory MPs which would otherwise have been lost, and deservedly so.

The SNP is struggling to get its voice heard in this election campaign and is faced with two British nationalist parties which shamelessly conflate Holyrood and Westminster issues and are aided and abetted by the Scottish media in doing so. Already the SNP has been excluded from the first televised leaders’ debate due to be broadcast on ITV on 4 June. The debate will be a head to head between Starmer and Sunak with no other parties present. The debate will also be broadcast on STV, even though in Scotland this election is not primarily a contest between Labour and the Conservatives.

This is a presidential style debate but the UK does not have a presidential system. The UK is – in theory at least – a parliamentary democracy. However when it suits them the leaders of the Labour and Conservative parties like to pretend that Britain does have a presidential system even as they vigorously resist any attempt to reform the House of Commons and place the checks, balances, and restrictions on the power of the head of government that a real presidential system entails.

As such this debate is another step in the debasement of politics under the Westminster system and a signal that for all his talk of ‘change’ Keir Starmer represents nothing of the sort. The announcement of the debate comes after report in The Guardian newspaper last week which said Labour had “demanded” that the other parties be excluded from TV debates. There’s respect for democracy for you. Respecting democracy is a change that would be very welcome in the UK, but it’s not a change that Keir Starmer is interested in delivering.

Labour is very keen to frame this election as a straight fight between Sunak and Starmer as they see this as being to their electoral benefit. It allows Starmer to concentrate on winning over former Tory voters in Leave supporting seats in England while avoiding attacks from the left from the SNP on topics like the two child benefit cap or renationalisation, as well as having the additional benefit of ensuring that there is no risk of criticism over Starmer’s stance on Gaza.

It also has the ‘benefit’ of ignoring half of Scotland, don’t expect either Sunak or Starmer to lose any sleep over that.

The SNP can still turn this election around, the way to do that is to focus on the lies and mendacity of the Labour party, not by trying to use this election in order to turn Scotland into a Tory free zone in terms of Westminster representation. The Tories are not going to win this election, the real threat to Scotland and the powers of Holyrood comes from Starmer’s Anglo-British nationalist Labour party.

Labour’s promise of change is hollow. It is the latest and greatest of Starmer’s many lies. The SNP can still turn this election in their favour by attacking Labour from the left and by highlighting that left wing and socially progressive policies are only possible with independence, Labour’s pivot to the right proves that Westminster has been captured by Conservative policies.

Labour has no plans to change the undemocratic and unfair Westminster Parliament. The very last thing Starmer wants is for MPs to have real power to hold him to account. A Starmer government will not undo Brexit or the worst excesses of the past fourteen years of Conservative rule. Starmer will open the NHS in England up to private healthcare companies, which risks knock on effects on the NHS in Scotland.

Starmer’s flagship energy policy, unveiled in Glasgow on Friday, was quickly revealed as yet another of his many lies. The publicly owned Great British Energy he has vowed to set up is not in fact an energy company. It will not produce or sell energy. It is an ‘investment vehicle’ which will channel public money to the private sector.

Earlier this week, Anas Sarwar was promising us that GB Energy would be a publicly owned company that would generate and sell renewable energy – like the publicly owned energy companies that are common throughout Europe – and would create 70,000 jobs in Scotland. But Starmer has now torpedoed these plans with yet another right wing U turn, once again confirming the irrelevance of the Labour branch office in Scotland to Labour decision-making in London.

Labour is a party which is a natural home for disaffected Conservative MPs, yet another Tory jumped ship to Labour on Thursday even as veteran left wingers like Diane Abbott were marginalised and excluded. All that Labour really promises is the more competent delivery of Tory nastiness and it is the Labour party and Starmer’s many lies and right wing pivots which should be the prime target for the SNP. Starmer lies about everything. Lying is not ‘change’.


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