Daily Archives: 5 May 2007

Chicken Entrail Psephology

One of the things about elections is that after them there is no shortage of people talking absolute nonsense about what the results ‘mean’.

Take Alex Salmond, who has been quick to claim that Labour has lost the “moral authority to govern”. Leaving a philosophical argument about what morality actually means in this context to one side, the fact is that no single party got a majority – thus no single party on their own has the authority to govern, moral or otherwise. Labour didn’t in 1999 or 2003 either. But, given that the difference between Labour and the SNP was just 0.5% in the constituency vote and 1.8% in the regional vote, is he really suggesting that a mere 20,000-30,000 people are the moral arbiters for the whole nation?

Then Salmond’s mini-me Nicola Sturgeon pipes up with:

“There will be an independence referendum if there is an SNP government.”

That’s for Parliament to decide, not a political party with less than a third of the popular vote. Is she seriously suggesting that the SNP will take its bat and ball home if it can’t secure a referendum? If it’s an all or nothing thing then that would suggest that the largest single unionist party has rather more moral authority than her boss would have us believe.