Remember those Tory posters that put a tiny Ed Miliband in Alex Salmond’s coat pocket? Well, it’s only five months since the general election, but Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t seem all that keen to put Jeremy Corbyn in her handbag. She seemed to suggest that she had given up on being able to work with the new Labour leader, saying:
‘You know, there is much that I hoped the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn could work together on. But over these last few weeks, it has become glaringly obvious that he is unable to unite his party on any of the big issues of our day.’
She described Labour as ‘unreliable, unelectable and unable to stand up to the Tories’ and made a point of contrasting these divisions with the unity of the SNP in Westminster: something that has impressed and rather intimidated MPs in all other parties. She said:
‘Our MPs are going to be late arriving in Aberdeen this morning. But they have good reason. Last night they were in the House of Commons voting against Tory austerity. They did so united, and with no hesitation. Contrast that with Labour.
After the speech, Sturgeon aides suggested that even Corbyn sticking to his principles wouldn’t mean much if the rest of the Labour party didn’t back him up, but didn’t say any chance of the two parties working together was entirely dead. It’s clear that the fiscal charter debacle has been the icing on the cake for the SNP as the party starts its conference in a jolly good mood already. And it’s also clear that as an exercise in making Scottish Labour feel a little more comfortable by not appearing to support Westminster austerity, it has rather failed.
Listen to Sturgeon’s full speech here: