Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A bit of fun

On Thursday, 12th May, the modern Scottish Parliament will convene for the fifth time. The first order of business will be for MSPs to take their oaths. The second, to elect the President and her/his deputies. 

The third is to elect the First Minister. 

Now, the election is six weeks away, and there is plenty of time for a black swan moment to stop the plunge of Scottish Labour (a change of "leader", for instance, which is now inevitable after Kezia Dugdale's humiliation over the withdrawal of her flagship policy this afternoon) in the polls. 

Notwithstanding the current polls, it hardly requires the introduction of alien space bats to imagine a scenario where the SNP, which has governed for eight years, loses five of its 65 seats but storms to an easy victory; Scottish Labour lose "only" eleven seats and the Liberals three of their five, and where these go directly to the Conservatives as the strongest Unionist party. The Greens, on a good day, might well increase their present number of seats to double figures.

Imagine this was the result:

SNP 58
Conservatives 30
Scottish Labour 27
Greens 10
Liberals 2

and the Greens provided the Presiding Officer, as well as choosing to stand Patrick Harvie in the election for First Minister, demonstrating their independence from the Nationalists. 

The brighter readers amongst you - and perhaps even some Unionists - will have noticed that that gives the following votes available in the First Minister contest:

Combined Unionists: 59
SNP: 58
Greens: 10

There would be no majority, and the Greens would be eliminated, but the moral pressure on them not to vote against the "winners" of the election would be huge. 

I wonder, if those numbers were possible, would Scottish Labour stand its own candidate for the first time since Jack McConnell lost nine years ago, which would have the effect of keeping Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House, or would they stand, in Kezia Dugdale's own phrase, shoulder to shoulder with the Conservatives?

Perhaps the fact that nobody could guess the answer with any confidence is the very reason why Scottish Labour will be nowhere near 27 seats. 

No comments:

Post a Comment