It has only taken the SNP 68 days to jettison its principles for some good old Tory bashing. On the Today programme, Nicola Sturgeon gave three reasons as to why the SNP will be voting against relaxed foxhunting restrictions in England. Combined with an ‘overwhelming demand from people in England’ and a potential future debate about Scottish foxhunting laws, the First Minister happily admitted that the decision had ‘less to do with foxhunting’ and more to do with giving David Cameron a kicking:
‘Since the election, David Cameron’s government has shown very little respect to the mandate that Scotland MPs have. On the Scotland Bill, reasonable amendments backed by the overwhelming majority of Scottish MPs have been voted down. The English votes for English laws proposals brought forward go beyond any reasonable proposition and look to make Scottish MPs effectively second class citizens in the House of Commons.
‘So I think if there’s any opportunity, as there appears to be here, and on an issue where David Cameron appears to be out of touch on the majority of English opinion as well, to actually remind the government how slim their majority is and perhaps that’s an opportunity for the SNP.’
Sturgeon went to complain again about the government’s EVEL proposals, describing them as ‘completely unacceptable’. The proposals, which will now be voted on in September, may have been shambolic but there is no disputing that the government is carrying out a clear manifesto commitment. Now that the promise to stay out of English issues has been broken, Sturgeon has said the SNP will continue to intervene in other issues where deemed appropriate:
‘We will make a decision on a case-by-case basis and we’ll take into account a variety of issues. Now as I’ve said, on this issue, while it may be a narrow one, there is a Scottish interests in a sense that is likely to be review of the Scottish law.’
As Alex pointed out last night, ‘the SNP has never put much of a price on logic and consistency’. For normal political parties, breaking a promise made over several years would be political suicide. But for the nationalists, their foxhunting stance will likely enhance their popularity north of the border. While the Labour infighting continues over how to fight the Tories, it’s Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP who are acting like the main opposition party.