Sunday, November 25, 2007

SNP & Conservatives team up in unholy alliance at Holyrood

It's no secret the Conservatives are propping up the minority SNP Scottish Government on a variety of legislation, even seeking deals to go slow or kill off areas of interest which would do harm to Tory members interests, professional & otherwise ...

Scotland voted SNP but got the Conservatives ...

Scotland on Sunday reports :

Labour frozen out as SNP buries hatchet with Conservatives to end 20-year taboo


THE SNP is to pave the way for a historic coalition pact with the Conservatives by scrapping a 20-year old ban barring it from working with the party.

In a move which will be seen as a totemic shift in Scottish politics, the Nationalists will agree this week to allow their elected members to enter government with the party of Margaret Thatcher.

The move is designed primarily to allow SNP councillors to go into coalition with the Tories in several of Scotland's 32 local authorities - potentially freezing out Labour in several councils. But senior party figures last night said it would also apply in practice to negotiations at Holyrood, paving the way for a possible SNP-Tory alliance.

The warming of relations between the SNP and the Conservatives will be further sealed in two weeks' time when First Minister Alex Salmond and Tory leader David Cameron meet for the first time to discuss how they may share power if Cameron wins the next general election.

SNP sources admit they have already effectively entered an informal coalition pact with the Tories at Holyrood, under which they expect the Conservatives to support their budget in return for a series of concessions on tax cuts, police numbers and drugs policy.

The SNP voted in the ban on co-operation during the Thatcher government, declaring that they could never enter any deals with the party of that visited the poll tax on Scotland. It has remained ever since, preventing any form of official pact between the parties.

The change to official SNP policy will be voted on at the party's National Council meeting next week, after being proposed by the party's Association of National Councillors.

SNP councillor Dave Berry said: "This will bring the party's policies into line with the reality of the 21st century. The party's councillors have talked and we want to put it to the party that they be allowed to form coalitions as they see fit."

Senior party figures last night said it would, in effect, also allow the SNP to enter into a formal deal with the Tories at Holyrood if they chose.

An SNP MSP described the Tory brand as having now been "detoxified".

In the short term, the move could lead to several changes in government in councils where the SNP has frozen itself out of power because of its refusal to work with the Tories. They include Dundee, South Ayrshire, West Lothian, Falkirk and Perth and Kinross which could all be run by Tory-SNP administrations once the ban is removed.

The SNP leader on Falkirk Council, David Alexander, said: "This ban was brought in when Margaret Thatcher and John Major were causing havoc to Scotland. But things have changed. Now you could argue that Labour are further to the right than the Tories. We should acknowledge that."

A spokesman for the SNP said: "This policy was devised when council elections were under first-past-the-post, so this motion draws attention to the reality of the new system of single transferable vote. The SNP has the most councillors in Scotland and it is natural to want to form as many administrations across the length and breadth of Scotland as well."

As to whether the change would herald a new SNP-Tory alliance, he added: "We are happy with the SNP minority government. It has been successful and we have no plans to that change."

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "It is for the SNP to decide on these issues. At the Scottish Parliament level, we were the party that argued for a minority government and issue-by-issue politics. The position is unchanged regardless of any move by the SNP.

"The voting records show that we have voted exactly the same number of times with Labour as with the SNP.

"The only permanent marriage in the Scottish Parliament is that between Labour and the Liberal Democrats."

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