Thursday 26 March 2015

The SNP are now the party that defends claimants

If you want to know why the SNP is riding high in the Scottish polls as Labour struggles to stay afloat, then look no further than the two parties' attitudes towards claimants. Last week Labour's Rachel Reeves announced: “We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work.” Now the SNP has announced that it supports claimants' groups who have demanded the suspension of benefit benefit sanctions, pending a review of the whole system.

It's not difficult to see what is going on. Reeves' comment was actually hedged with that many caveats that it was obvious to the astute reader that she wasn't really promising to put the poor back into workhouses. However, that is what the headlines suggested would happen which is why claimant groups were so outraged. Labour was obviously gambling that its claimant voting core would be able to read between the lines, or get a few nods and winks from the party activists on the doorsteps. Or it could be that Labour reckons that ordinary people have no option but to shrug their shoulders and troop off to the polling stations as usual to vote Labour. Certainly Reeves must have known what she was doing when she uttered those inflammatory lines which were clearly aimed at picking up a few nasty votes from the Daily Mailoid element.

This wheeze may work in England where working class people have no choice but to vote Labour, but it will not play in Scotland because the SNP is clearly now aiming at attract the votes of everyone who is either unemployed or under-employed.

Labour's response to all this can only be described running in circles and shouting silly things. The latest bit of silliness comes from Michael McCann MP, who claims,  "SNP activists have infiltrated local schools in a bid to brainwash pupils into supporting their political brand."

Actually, all the SNP is doing is encouraging its army of young activists to get to work with their friends during break time and try to encourage them to vote for the SNP, something which is pretty bog standard for any party that actually has a youth wing. Alas for Labour, it doesn't.

It is quite possible that one of the reasons why Labour does not appeal to the young is the fact that McCann was arrested during the referendum for trying to pick a fight with a 17 year old SNP activist, something which is hardly likely to endear Labour to the youth of Scotland.

So whilst the SNP puts forward policies that are aimed directly at the urban working class, all Labour can do by way of reply is to howl like some deranged dog when faced with a full moon.

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