Election 2015: Your complete guide to predictions about Scotland and the SNP
Depressing stuff for all manner of reasons, and not necessarily the obvious ones.Vince Cable says LibDem-SNP deal is inconceivable
Better to lock your enemy into an agreement, I'd have thought, other than antagonise probably half if not more of the Scottish electorate.Scotland's deficit is now at the heart of the general election fight
Or it might be. My reading of SNP policy beneath the anti-austerity headlines is much as Magnus Gardham writes here.Last week, Kenneth Baker called for a Tory-Labour coalition to stop the end of the United Kingdom
Firstly, that's really the kingdom of Great Britain (in its parliamentary aspect) Baker supposedly wants to save (though it has little institutional trace beyond legislation passed between 1707 and 1800, unlike Scotland, England-and-Wales, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and variations of the above) as one of the constituent elements of the United Kingdom, not the end of the United Kingdom itself which would presumably continue with smaller component parts. I suspect that a Tory-Labour coalition, facing an SNP with the largest possible share of Scottish seats envisaged by the first link in this post, might just confirm SNP voters' suspicion of the Anglocentricity of Labour and the Conservatives and confirm the sort of proprietorship of 'Tory shires' assumed as natural by John Major in this speech
last week. Proportional representation can't come soon enough to the United Kingdom parliament, and it might save the broad but in many crucial parts very thin bases of the Conservative and Labour parties and transform them into more effective advocates of their constituencies; but we seem further away from it than ever.SNP will not contest Berwick election seat
Apologies for any overenthusiastic advertising Johnston Press foist upon readers if they follow this link. Announced back in December, and pity in a way, as Christine Grahame's appearance ("Oh, we won't stop being British...") on BBC North East [England] and Cumbria's pre-referendum special illustrated how complicated the SNP and broader Yes campaign's approach to the political relationships of the people of these islands can or could be. I'm glad as a near-contemporary of mine from my school is inheriting the defence of the seat from the retiring MP and she has a hard fight which an SNP candidate in Berwick upon Tweed (a constituency which covers a larger slice of Northumberland than its name suggests) would make harder.
 Interesting point. In the period 1603-1707, Scottish and English commentators alike wrote of the king or queen of Great Britain (having stopped James VI and I declaring himself Caesar and British Emperor) and there were periods in the seventeenth century, particularly when monarchical power was at whatever zeniths it could reach, that the kingdom of Great Britain seemed a real political entity with an emerging class of Scoto-English courtier administrators. The Union came about in part because after the revolutions of 1688-90 the Scottish parliament and elite found it had little leverage on royal foreign policy, in contrast to the parliament of England, and the political nation (more regularly organised and in some senses broader than the English) was susceptible to foolhardy exercises like the Darien venture, which came across to the more cosmopolitan part of the elites as a doomed exercise in saying 'Let's have a war with Spain and embarrass the king and his English friends' but which could easily be interpreted in Scotland as an example of England repressing Scottish imperial aspirations.
 Some of what I've termed the cosmopolitan elite thought this was a very good idea, of course, especially if they were called Hamilton. Or so it sometimes appears; but Scottish political alliances were complicated, shifted often, and were not to be taken for granted, especially by remote Londoners. A lesson for the present.ETA A characteristically cleverly boorish Salmond column reacting just as I'd expect him to the Kenneth Baker proposal
- but even with votes his party enjoys the SNP is not Scotland, just as Margaret Thatcher forgot (if she ever knew) that the Conservative Party did not equal England which was not the same as Britain or the United Kingdom. However, the move present in some SNP utterances in recent months to adopt a pan-British agenda, as leaders of an insurgency against 'Westminster', is present in the column and shows that this party has learned some of the lessons Conservative and Labour seem never to have known, and which the Liberal Democrats appear to be forgetting.