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Who should I vote for?

If you dinnae ken who to vote for... this is Innes' take on what each party offers.


Dinnae ken who to vote for? 


This is what we know from the campaign messaging of each party so far. We’ll update the page as we get more information.


SNP



Besides being chicken cajun about the election date being right at the start of the school holidays, the SNP might be thankful for the chosen date by Rishi Sunak judging by the quality of Steve Clarke’s squad going into the euros. I can’t imagine a Scott McTominay brace to send Scotland into the quarters will do unionist parties any favours in spreading a widespread feeling of irrationally excessive patriotism. That’s if any of the fans make it back to Scotland, mind. 


Dunno about you, but there’s nae danger that the sensible head you usually hear on the podcast will be anything of the sort if Scotland gets through. Is it really plausible that someone like myself, taps aff in the German sun, most likely several Pilsners deep, will be in the right headspace?


Serious reflection and consideration won’t change that outcome either. I WILL be taps aff in Germany after a Scott McTominay masterclass. I WILL be several pilsners deep… thankfully we have media outlets like Untribal to spell it all out for us before we head over. 


‘Westminster has inflicted significant damage on the people of Scotland.’


On a more serious note, the SNP will also be in better spirits with a more steady hand at the wheel in John Swinney. As the SNP continue to look weaker in the polls than in the Sturgeon era, supporters will be happy with Swinney’s pledge to return to bread-and-butter policies that have made the party, and Scotland, look competent. 


They’ll take a gradualist approach to independence under Swinney. A clear message of: ‘if we can do all this well with the limited resources we have, imagine what we could do with the full powers of independence.’ 


Tackling child poverty, growing the economy, addressing the climate emergency and delivering better public services will be the key areas of Swinney’s manifesto. All below a simple message to secure an unequivocal mandate: ‘A vote for the SNP is a vote for Scottish independence’ 


The appointment of economy-savvy Kate Forbes as Deputy First Minister will also be a sigh of relief for supporters who feel discussion over the economic case for independence has been somewhat neglected since legislation surrounding gender recognition reforms. 


The SNP will be keen to point out that the UK no longer represents a strong and stable arrangement for Scotland going by the last 5 years, why Scotland’s natural resources are better kept distant from Westminster control and how the SNP is doing everything it can to negate UK-wide austerity. Especially with Labour flirting with private sector investment to make up for Government spending cuts.


The SNP’s consistent stance on foreign policy in the Middle East will also surely play a role in the convincing of voters. Stephen Flynn has done a tremendous job in standing in firm opposition against the Government’s sympathy towards Israel’s military operation in Gaza and this will resonate strongly with the overwhelming majority of Brits who feel outraged by the treatment of the Palestinian people. 


The SNP will point out that the same cannot be said of Keir Starmer, evidenced by his close ties to Israel and his refusal to call for a ceasefire until late February. This will make foreign policy a vital battleground for the SNP.


Conservative 



‘Stick to the plan.’


It’s hard to judge how confident Conservatives will be. Polls tell us they’re set to lose seats both north and south of the border, but they’ll be confident Rishi has run the numbers in this decision to call this election so soon. 


He does like a punt, after all... just ask Piers Morgan. 


Whilst the Scottish ‘branch,’ if you like, are not a separate entity, they do make strides to deviate from leadership in the South East. With a largely non-existent Scottish presence before the Brexit debate first began they quite simply had to… and found success in ruthless opposition to the SNP and a feeling of a British patriotism amongst some quarters of the country.


There has been a lot of scepticism in the handling of elections in this era of Conservatives. Boris Johnson’s ‘voter ID’ policy didn’t go down well and, hilariously, later came to bite him on the erkie when he went to vote at the council elections the other week.


This election date choice is no different; a lot of Scottish parents will be on holiday with the schools closing for summer and may forget to sign up for a postal vote. There are also 200,000 Scots expected in Munich for that opening match of the Euros... even if a quarter of them decide to stay when (optimist me) Scotland gets through the groups, that could prove to be a tangible dent in the SNP vote. 


We all heard what happened when God Save the King was played at Hampden last year… whether the Tartan Army’s distaste for England’s national football team really is just football rivalry or an indicator of politics is another discussion.


We also know England will do well outwith a miracle (hint to where my football loyalties lie)… which might play well to the ‘Penny Arcade’-inclined segment of Scottish society. 


The rage of Celtic’s title win might see a few Rangers fans dig out their England tops this summer. Extra bunting purchased. Maybe even a printout of the ‘Devil Wears Britannia,’ or whatever that satanic-looking portrait of Charles was called. 


More seriously, much like the SNP, the Conservative and Unionist Party’s manifesto will also be exactly what it says on the tin. Right-wing policies and, at least in Scotland, a declaration of unionism.  


Lowering taxes, increased defence spending and an attack on ‘woke’ are all certain to feature in the manifesto. How 1 & 2 will both work in a fully-costed manifesto is yet to be explained but the Conservatives are determined to deliver a ‘secure future.’ 


‘Secure’ in terms of:

-A stabilised economy after a tricky post-pandemic recovery 

-Less vulnerability to foreign conflicts in terms of our energy production and trying to get a grip on market prices for households by investing in new oil and gas fields 

-Increase defence spending in an increasingly dangerous state of international order



Labour 



Labour have had the cigars out for a while now. Polling shows they’re a shoo-in for Government and they might just overtake the SNP in Scotland. Projected seats show a chamber that is packed to the brim with Labour representatives. 


We’ll never know whether this comes largely from excitement for Labour’s manifesto or the sheer outrage of the current Government’s handling of countless issues, but one thing that does seem certain is the attractiveness of Starmer’s ‘steady Eddie’ aura, no theatrics, strength in stability pledge. 


‘A vote for Labour is a vote to stop the chaos.’


Starmer has gone up and down the country listening to the needs of businesses and appears to be coming off well. He’s got a competent right-hand woman in Reeves who understands the economy. He’s caught the hearts and minds of the South with his commitment to British/English patriotism, a tough understanding of the immigrant question and an old-school understanding of law and order. 


To many, Labour is looking the part. 


Approaching a summer election, ‘Get the flip flops out!’ will be a phrase to avoid for Starmer as we get a final decision on his manifesto pledges. Labour has done a lot of soul-searching over the last few years and it really shows with the party’s switch from left-thinking to right-thinking policies. 


It’s no secret Starmer has consistently sought to distance himself from his predecessor Corbyn, but it seems now he’s even keen to distance himself from… himself. His manifesto pledges have changed since becoming leader and he’s u-turned on a lot of policies he previously backed. ‘Politico’ magazine put all 27 (and counting) in one place just a couple months ago, including nationalising key industries like railways, energy and water, resisting privatisation of the NHS, free movement of people from the EU, workers' rights, reforming universal credit, abolishing tuition fees, childcare through primary school, tax on top earners, abolishing house of lords and many more.


This has been gold content for the SNP who brand their competition, justifiably so, as ‘red tories’ as Labour positions itself as a moderately conservative policy-maker… but is it enough to stop the wave of discontent with the thought of another SNP Government? Are independence supporters willing to lend their vote to Labour in the hope, for the time being, of more fluid and effective decision-making between Westminster and Holyrood? 


In other words, is it time for a change? You’ll see this slogan a lot by Labourites in the coming weeks.


You’ll also see a lot about economic stability, cutting NHS waiting times, a new British Energy company, cracking down on antisocial behaviour and teacher recruitment. 



Green


In Scotland, our ‘Green’ representation really is a distinct entity to the party competing for votes in England and Wales. They have separate conferences, they do not take from the same pot of money for campaign funding… they are two separate organisations. 


Having said that, the values held by both parties are similar. If not, identical. 


‘Our planet can’t afford more oil & gas extraction.’


For Green parties across the globe, the most pressing issue in politics is climate change. In Scotland, that means a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, ending new oil and gas licencing, decarbonising our energy system and making decisions with the achievement of net zero at the front of our minds. 


Ending peak rail fares, free bus passes for under-22s and work to ban disposable vapes are the most notable examples of this thinking in action by the Scottish Greens.


Climate justice and social justice are viewed as two sides of the same coin by the Greens. They see climate change as the main root cause of inequality and the more harmful symptoms of capitalist economies; global trends of the financially powerful decimating vulnerable communities in a relentless pursuit of profit make it inherent for Greens to stand up for marginalised groups in society. It’s why parties both north and south of the border show unwavering commitment to enhanced rights for trans people.


What makes the Scottish Greens distinct is their commitment to Scottish independence. Whilst their counterparts in England and Wales support Scotland’s right to a referendum, and should they have been in charge over the last 5 years Scotland definitely would’ve had one, you won’t see an SNP-style manifesto pledge in the leaflets distributed around towns and cities south of the border.


Perhaps this is where they find themselves navigating unpredictable waters in Scotland… they’ve said independence isn’t a ‘red line’ so to speak. In other words, if it came down to it, they’d happily work with parties like Labour to deliver climate action within our current political structure. At the end of the day, climate action is the number one priority. 


This is unsettling for a lot of independence supporters who often lend their list vote to the Greens in Scottish elections… however you wouldn’t have thought so in recent polling. Hardline commitment to the protection of trans people and the condemnation of the SNP’s appointment of Kate Forbes has since seen membership numbers rise and polling numbers up to 11%. 


This won’t make much difference to representation in Westminster with the ‘First Past the Post’ voting system, but the Greens will be feeling hopeful of a decent score reflected in the % of votes. 


The sister party in England and Wales will also be looking to pick up votes from the share of Labour voters that dislike the direction of travel with Starmer; those far less forgiving of his position on Gaza, trans rights and economic policy.



Liberal Democrats


Operating in what is, in reality, a two-party UK political system, it’s awfy difficult for the Lib Dems… but the downfall of the Conservatives will give campaigners plenty of hope of strong representation in the chamber next term.


‘It’s in so many parts of this country that the Liberal Democrats can beat Conservatives.’


They were quick to distance themselves from any talk of pacts or coalitions with the Conservatives after yesterday’s announcement. I’m sure those within the party ranks will be sick and tired of that affiliation. I’m yet to meet a Liberal that doesn’t have regret over that infamous Clegg-Cameron coalition.


While acknowledging the reality that the number 1 spot is all but impossible, Liberals are keen to remind voters that elected Lib Dems get things done for constituents. 


They don’t get caught up in ideological battles and flag-waving nationalism… they make sure the Government is held to task over local priorities like training more GPs and training more teachers. They want to see significant investment in mental health services. They want to protect the rights of the most vulnerable to ensure a truly free and fair society. 


They also dream of ambitious changes like changing the voting system. The excitement you see in them when this is brought up is like none other. It’s an idea shared by the SNP, Greens and other comparatively smaller parties to the big two, but one that Liberals especially feel a real sense of identity with having campaigned for it spanning decades. 


'Proportional Representation' as a voting system would mean there are no longer ‘safe seats’ in General Elections and would force politicians to listen more keenly to constituents. Liberals feel this increases the likelihood of better schools, health services and commitment to climate action.


Perhaps this, coupled with a commitment to reforming the House of Lords, will set the Liberals apart from Labour. The latter is yet to be seen in detail. 

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