Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Unionist Pact

The following letter was published, with slightly different editing, in today's Scotsman.

In July the Yes campaign won 45% of votes cast, a figure which represents no more than 38% of those eligible to vote. The newly inflated SNP membership of 85,000 still represents only 2% of the electorate.

These figures make it highly unlikely that the SNP will gather more than 50% of the vote in more than a handful of constituencies in the upcoming general election. Nevertheless, recent opinion polls suggest that the first-past-the-post system may grant them more than 30 seats at Westminster. In that case, a minority of Scottish voters may end up dictating the future policies of the British government - a government that the majority of Scots want, but which the SNP only wishes to destroy.

It therefore seems logical that for the 2015 general election the Unionist parties should form a pact to stand down in constituencies where they might divide the vote and allow the SNP to win by default. If voters were given a choice between the Unionist and separatist candidates, it is highly unlikely that the SNP would win more than a handful of seats.

The initial reaction of Tories might be to spurn an electoral pact that would benefit Labour and the Liberal Democrats at their expense. However, since they are officially the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, wiser heads should realise that a short-term loss of seats is much preferable to the long-term loss of their country.