Labour government with the acquiescence of the scottish national party?

… or German-style rough coalition?

Although (or perhaps because) it lost the independence referendum in the fall, the Scottish National Party will be able to win the British House of Commons election on 7. May current polls hope to wipe out a rough majority of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons and increase the number of their MPs from 6 to as many as 56 (out of UK-wide 650). This was mainly to the detriment of the Labour Party, in which 41 members of the House of Commons are currently from Scotland.

Because the Tories must expect to lose a larger part of their 303 seats, it could again be the case that neither of the two major parties has a majority of seats – and that the seats of the Liberal Democrats, who have probably been halved or plucked even more, will not be enough to reach the required 326 seats with their support.

If it is not enough for a coalition of Tories and EU-critical UKIP (in which the EU-euphoric Liberal Democrats were hardly allowed to participate), then it could be that the SNP becomes the tongue in cheek. SNP politicians like Stewart Hosie have already ruled out working with the Tories, who are very unpopular in Scotland. Cooperation with the Labour Party, on the other hand, is being eagerly discussed.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister David Cameron urged Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband to rule out such cooperation because, in his view, you can’t hand the United Kingdom over to a party that wants to break it up. At the same time, former Tory leader Lord Baker of Dorking suggested a joint Tory-Labor government, explicitly citing the Rough Coalition in Germany as a model.

Unlike German Social Democrats, however, Milliband is reluctant to limit his own options for power, despite calls to do so from within the ranks of Scotland’s Labour MPs. He announced instead that his goal was an absolute Labour mandate majority and that was where he was concentrating his efforts.

Alex Salmond – as popular in Scotland as Franz-Josef-Straub used to be in Bavaria. And similarly self-confident. Photo: Irekia. License: CC BY 2.0

Most observers in the British media believe that acquiescence to a Labour government is more likely than entering a formal coalition – partly because it is difficult to imagine Alex Salmond, the former Scottish First Minister and likely new SNP leader at Westminster, involved in a British Cabinet. This was seen by the BBC as damaging to both Labour’s image in England and the SNP’s in Scotland.

Toleration could be based on a formal agreement in which Labour makes concessions to the SNP. Salmond’s only comment on this so far has been that it would have to be "Progress" for Scotland. Getting more specific, Nicola Sturgeon, the current SNP leader. She demanded more autonomy for the Scottish regional parliament and the Scottish regional government, more money from London and a long-term scrapping of the Trident nuclear weapons stationed in Clyde. After the Guardian reported that she had dropped the last of these demands, Sturgeon tweeted that in fact she had only said that no SNP MP would ever vote for Trident.

If the SNP and Labour could not agree on a "Confidence-and-Supply-Deal" Some would imagine that a Labour minority government would get the necessary majorities for each decision anew. This model existed in the Scottish Parliament from 2007 to 2011. There, the SNP minority government got the missing votes mostly from Labour – and sometimes from the Tories.

In the meantime, the SNP has an absolute majority in the PĂ rlamaid na h-Alba, and is setting out to deal with the spate of Highland Clearances in the 18. and 19. Eliminating the Twenty-First Century. At that time, nominal titles from Scottish clan lords were converted into English freehold titles to land. As a result, 432 lords and earls now own half of Scotland’s land. Because many of them live in London and are not very interested in the development of the land, changes in inheritance laws, among other things, should help the land go to the communities or into more productive hands.

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