James Forsyth

Budget Holyrood

Budget Holyrood
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Alex has an intriguing post on the failure of the SNP to get its budget through at Holyrood. Here’s his view on what will happen next:

“Will there be an election? I hae ma doots as we say up here, not least because I doubt any of the parties can truly afford a fresh campaign right now. But having tried an failed Salmond and Swinney are now in a markedly weaker position. If the opposition parties have any sense they will increase their demands, knowing that the Nats are playing a weak hand. It's always tough when your bluff is called.

For all that the Nats blame the Greens for their (admittedly surprising) behaviour, it's hard to see the electorate being terribly impressed by the idea of fresh elections. I suspect the punters would blame the SNP, not obstructionist opposition parties for the hassle of a fresh poll. The SNP are the ones who are supposed to be getting things done, not the Greens. For that reason, I doubt Salmond's threat will come to anything.

One more prediction: now that the Lib Dems have dropped their proposal for a 2p cut in income tax, no-one should be surprised if Britain's most shameless political party swaps sides and cuts a deal with the Nationalists. If that happens then the Greens will, one assumes, receive precisely nothing.”

If there is an election north of the border, it will have a significant impact nationally. A worse result for Labour than last time, which the polls suggest it will be, will increase the fear in Labour ranks that they are heading for a wipe-out. But if they turn in a better performance, which they might just be able to do if in this time of economic crisis voters treat the Scottish Parliament election like a general election, then it could give Brown a wee boost.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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