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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Labour play high stakes game with voters

I think it is common wisdom that the Tory victory in 2015 was built on scare tactics propagated by David Cameron's team that Labour might form a coalition government with the SNP, and facilitate the break-up of the UK. Voters were relentlessly sold the message that the only way to stop such a disastrous pairing and save the union was to vote Conservative.

It is also one of the reasons why the Conservatives started off this election campaign talking about Jeremy Corbyn's 'coalition of chaos', a tactic that led to the Liberal Democrats ruling out any coalition after the election.

I was astonished therefore to read in the Independent that Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he will "open discussions" with the SNP over a second independence referendum if he Labour wins the general election.

He quickly added that he would not do a deal with the SNP to gain power at Westminster but that hardly seems to be the point. The Conservatives have claimed that Labour and the SNP are already working on a possible post-election arrangement. Surely, Corbyn is just playing into their hands?

To add to the mystery, this is not a pledge that Corbyn needed to make. After all, Scottish Labour’s manifesto says the party will “never” support independence, and Labour’s manifesto for the general election is opposed to a second referendum, described as “unwanted and unnecessary.”

Not only has Corbyn handed the Tories a propaganda advantage but he has done so by defying, and possibly splitting his own party on a policy issue which is rapidly losing its traction.
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