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Monday, March 23, 2015

Has Alex Salmond sunk Ed Miliband in England?

It is already being billed as Alex Salmond's Sheffield rally moment, a reference to Neil Kinnock's fatal triumphalism during the 1992 General Election, but it is likely that the fallout from the former SNP Leader's speech at the weekend will damage his potential allies more than his own party.

The Times reports that the Scottish nationalists intend to fully exploit their power over a future Labour government by demanding billions in extra spending and the diversion of resources north of the border as well as another referendum on independence:

The former first minister, who is running for a Westminster seat and is set to play a key role in any power- sharing talks, suggested that even a very loose agreement to back Labour on a vote-by-vote basis would hand the SNP the chance to amend Mr Miliband’s spending plans. It means the Labour leader will come under pressure to explain how he would stop the SNP from ambushing the budget when he gives a speech in Clydebank today.

Already, the Tories have unveiled a cartoon showing Mr Salmond playing a pipe, while Mr Miliband dances. The accompanying video claims that a “deal with the SNP now seems to be Ed Miliband’s only route to power”, and that its popular former leader would be able to “call the tune”.

This is going to damage Labour in England, and possibly Wales as well. Having survived one constitutional crisis, voters outside Scotland will not want Labour to precipitate another through a confidence and supply deal with the SNP. The Tories are going to exploit this for all it is worth.

Which is one of the reasons the Tories are going to win with a small overally majority in May.
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