Tuesday 26 April 2016

Why the 2016 Scottish elections are so boring

The plan was to post a running commentary of this year's Scottish General Election, but since this is the most boring election I have ever witnessed, I decided not to bother. Given that the first time I ever voted was in October 1974, I have a lot of elections to look back on, but I have never experienced anything as predictable as the current one.

That the SNP will be returned to office is accepted by all and sundry, with the only question being the size of their majority. As the Scottish parliament was set up with the aim of ensuring that no single party would ever be able to dominate the chamber, that fact alone should tell the reader just how popular the governing party is. Out of 129 seats, we can expect the SNP to take around 70 on the 5th May 2016, something which is a tribute to their own abilities, as well as being a condemnation of the opposition parties.

The simple truth is that the SNP has produced a very good government for Scotland, which means that an awful lot of people who voted No in the independence referendum will  vote for the SNP next month because they are quite happy with all the goodies that are provided by that government.

The Tories have already given up the ghost, with their manifesto telling us just how much they will oppose the SNP government. Think about that for a moment, as even the Liberals back in the day used to tell us what they would do if they became a government, but the Tories cannot even work up enough enthusiasm to do that. Instead, they cling pathetically to their last remaining strongholds in the Borders, and pray that the Grim Reaper does not scoop up the last of their voters before the election is over.

As for Labour, at least they are putting forward a programme for government, but the problem is that hardly anyone believes a word that they say. The party's voters are jumping ship to the SNP on a daily basis, with the result that Labour and the Tories are in a race to see which party suffers the most next month. Will the Tory vote die off quicker than Labour's abandons that party? We will know in less than a fortnight.

To make matters even dafter, a bout of quite entertaining infighting has already broken out in Labour's ranks even before the polls open, as various factions try to take control of the mangled corpse of that once proud party.

So what is there to report? The activists are all being very active, but there are hardly any window posters to be seen because the population at large knows that the SNP will be returned handsomely to government next month.

Which is as it should be.

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