MYTH NO. 1 A strong SNP presence at Westminster will hold the balance of power between Conservatives and Labour.
No. ‘Might’ not ‘will.’ Only might because the electoral arithmetic of the new parliament is likely to be complex. When the recent parliament broke up it contained MPs from twelve parties, plus three independents. In a possibly even more diverse Commons, what makes the SNP think their 6 or 20 or 40 MPs out of 650 will be the deciding factor in who forms the next government?
MYTH NO. 2 Votes for the SNP will help break the cycle of austerity.
What major UK party is going to buy into the SNP belief that more borrowing and spending will lead to better times? If anything, expect minor concessions only. Anyhow, what ‘cycle’? Aren’t we starting to come out of the worst of the crisis and, whisper it not, isn’t the UK coming out of it better than many of our competitors?
MYTH NO. 3 More SNP MPs mean a more progressive United Kingdom.
Nice word ‘progressive.’ Have people thought what it means and in particular what the SNP means by it? Have they seen much evidence of genuinely progressive SNP policies since the party came to power in Scotland in 2007? How do you reconcile ‘progressive’ with the SNP’s centralising tendencies, their ‘freebies’ for the rich as well as the poor (no university fees, free prescriptions, no bridge tolls … ), their named person legislation for children, their proposal to make your NHS data available to a wide range of agencies, their ‘no criticising party or colleagues’ rule for MPs, and so on and so on? And the most fundamental question, who are the SNP going to help make more progressive at Westminster and how?
MYTH NO. 4 More SNP MPs mean a better deal for Scotland.
See Myth No. 1. Also, sounds good but isn’t it just a tad greedy? Doesn’t Scotland get a good deal already as part of the UK? The Barnett formula means more public money is spent in Scotland than the rest of the UK. And amidst all the moaning about how the UK holds Scotland back, it actually does well on a number of economic and social indicators against (sorry, nationalists) other UK regions.
MYTH NO. 5 It puts Scotland in a strong position to demand full fiscal autonomy (FFA)/home rule/devo max/a federal UK (choose your preferred words).
What, you still buy into FFA or its other variants/euphemisms? Haven’t you caught up on the low oil price, the latest GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures, all the serious analysis carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies? Wish independence on the country if you want, but please don’t wish poverty on your fellow citizens
MYTH NO. 6 A strong SNP presence helps build the momentum for a second referendum.
Don’t believe it. Nicola Sturgeon won’t put the case for another referendum until she can be sure of winning it. The latest YouGov poll on Scottish voting intentions suggests that 46% of people might vote SNP in the general election. Given the error inherent in sample surveys that’s … precisely the 45% that voted ‘Yes’ in the referendum. It hardly suggests a post-referendum groundswell of opinion for independence.
In all this, there is just one truth about voting SNP. You should only vote SNP if you believe in independence in your heart and soul and want it above everything else at any cost. If you disagree with that extreme position, if you have any doubts about it, if you’re swayed by rational argument and evidence, vote Labour or Conservative or Liberal Democrat, and preferably tactically to keep the SNP out.
As the date of the general election approaches I’ll put up some links to authoritative guidance on how to vote tactically in each Scottish constituency.