Labour has decreed today it won’t go into a formal coalition with the SNP, but this won’t stop the Tories from attacking Ed Miliband over the possibility. Despite Miliband’s proclamation that ‘Labour will not go into coalition government with the SNP’ and ‘there will be no SNP ministers in any government I lead’, a Tory source says ‘we’ll continue to campaign on this’. So expect more stunts and adverts highlighting the dangers of any union between Labour and the SNP.
Conservative HQ has upped the ante of its Labour/SNP attacks recently, running the Saatchi pocket ad (above) in The Guardian, Independent or New Statesman during Labour’s Manchester conference this weekend, while dressing up Conservative activists in Alex Salmond masks holding Soleros lollies (see this if you need an explanation of the Soleros):
But given today’s news, is now there any point in these attacks? If the Tories continue to lambast Labour, the party can hit back with Miliband’s statement on a coalition:
‘The Tories, the party that haven’t won a majority for over 20 years, are now running a misleading campaign based on the idea of a Labour-SNP coalition. As I said on Thursday night, this idea is nonsense. It will not happen. There are big differences between us. Not just on the integrity of the United Kingdom and another referendum but on fair funding between the countries of the UK. And on fair taxes. In continuing to repeat this claim, the Conservative Party and David Cameron are simply trying to scare people.
And for good measure, Nicola Sturgeon has said the statement is a ‘lot of hype to rule out something no one was proposing’:
‘Mr Miliband’s statement is absolutely fine from our point of view, because formal coalition with seats in the UK government has never been our preference anyway.’
With just two weeks until the election campaign kicks off, the latest polls have the Tories slightly ahead — but there is no prospect of any party winning a majority. Unless something significant shifts, it’s unlikely these coalition attacks will die down.