Deal or No Deal?

Written by Lindsay McGarvie                                                 

For all of George Osborne’s talk that Wednesday’s budget was a sign that Britain is on the road to recovery, his clarion call to voters that only the Conservatives can finish the job is likely to fall on deaf ears north of the border.

“Destructive” and “damaging” were just two of the adjectives used by Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney to describe the Chancellor’s pre-election budget as he accused the Coalition of overseeing a further £12 billion of cuts to Scotland’s budget.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy - who faces his own deficit reduction challenge in the form of opinion polls suggesting a landslide for the SNP north of the border - sought to paint this week as a firm reminder to Scottish voters that they face a “critical choice” on May 7, with only Ed Miliband or David Cameron expected to be Prime Minister on the morning of May 8.

It also provided an opportunity to remind voters of Ed Miliband’s announcement on Monday that his party will not enter into coalition with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament; a scenario made all the more possible by an influx of nationalist MPs at the expense of his party’s Scottish hinterlands.

But in itself, Mr Miliband’s announcement threw up more questions than it answered.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was quick to remind voters that a formal deal with Labour was never top of the SNPs agenda while the Conservatives said his refusal to rule out a looser arrangement showed that Labour was still dependent on the SNP in order to take back the keys to Downing Street.

Latest poll (Survation/Daily Record): SNP 47%, Lab 26%, Con 16%, Lib Dems 4%, Others 7%.

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Lindsay McGarvie is a Director at 3×1 Public Relations with over two decades experience in journalism/communications (former Scottish Political Reporter of the Year). He is a PR and public affairs consultant with unrivalled UK media contacts and extensive crisis/reputation management experience and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.