If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So goes the latest motto of the 'New' Labour party, where Ed Miliband continues to dig his political grave deeper, deeper, and deeper still. All in time for the election. One would think his past indiscretions would have sent him packing long ago - the brother barney, the budget blunder, the bacon butty, Balls and Bill (Thomas) - yet he holds on tight to the reins of power, with a 67% chance of election according to today's Populus poll, despite the ever-growing 'B' bloopers. But the nail in his coffin may have commenced its incision just recently with another real 'B' of a decision - to befriend the SNP.
Miliband has refused to rule out the possibility of working with the nationalists he fought 'so arduously' (read 'devastatingly meekly') against in the independence campaign. A potential coalition between two ideologically similar parties that pragmatically have nothing in common at all. Aside from the constitutional struggle that is developing with William Hague's push for 'English votes for English laws,' there are myriad examples of why joining forces with a separatist regime, so intent on the break-up of the union, would be like an ardent Celtic fan being invited onto the executive board of Rangers and handed full control of transfer policy. It is irrational. The two sides will benefit in the long run predominantly from the other's demise. It shows the depths and despair that the Labour party find themselves in. And it would spell disaster for Labour's critical mass, who would follow the disgust of Lib Dem supporters of voting for a party who renege on their core values.
This potential outcome is largely a function of the failures of the 'No' campaign, which was spearheaded by a former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer and so gravely needed a centre-left rather than centre-right impetus. Yes, the Tories failed to instil faith in the union, but the people of Scotland did not expect any better, what with only one Conservative constituency in a country deeply cynical of Thatcherism and all its connotations. The SNP, on the other hand, seduced 'Yes' voters with romantic, nationalistic and emotional propaganda that, despite failing to address the underlying fundamentals that were at stake, at least touched the hearts of the population. The 'No' campaign was built around negativism. Period. Miliband et al are suffering those consequences acutely, but the answer should not be to accept an opinion shift north of the border lying down; rather, it lies in fighting for what the party truly believes in.
Lord Ashcroft's recent poll suggests Labour will lose 35 of its 41 MPs come May 7th. This is of course a cause for concern. But the true concern for the Labour core should be the longevity and the future of the party. Its approach is one of short-term gain, long-term pain - a completely myopic agenda to enable the weakest major party leader of all time to have his spurt of power and leave the legacy of the party in tatters. The party must not compromise ethos, integrity, or the union for an iota of ostensible puissance. Jumping into bed with someone who resembles your wife is just as bad as jumping into bed with someone who looks nothing like your wife. The Lib Dems did the latter. Labour are about to do the former. Both of them are unfaithful. And both of them will eventually be kicked out the house.