Friday, 5 June 2015


Enter the camp of the enemy, and read about it in The Telegraph. That is where you will learn their tactics.

Yesterday's report that George Osborne will cut £177m from the budget for Scotland this year illustrates how the Tories will work. They are going to spend the next four years harrying the (relatively) tiny group of 56 in Westminster. They are going to use their majority to force the SNP into a series of political corners.

The sound-bite writers have given them the phrase to use, and we can expect Osbameron to use it again and again: "put up or shut up".

Righteous indignation - "Scotland voted against austerity!", "Scotland didn't vote Tory!", "No more cuts" - is no use in realpolitik. This is not a moral or ethical issue, in Westminster. It is politics as chess, using the Westminster machinery (including, eventually and inevitably, the unelected House of Lords) to beat the Scots again, and again, and again until they acknowledge their impotence.

Operation Fear will be like a stroll in the Botanic Gardens compared to this. The Tories will play it out with no consideration for its impact in Easterhouse or Possil Park. Who cares if some poor woman loses her welfare long as we, the Tories, can crush the opposition.

The SNP will have to be very clever, and very agile, to avoid the political traps at Westminster.

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