This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

SNP - A Centre-left social democratic party ?

Hmm...the SNP like to portray themselves, especially in urban Scotland as a progressive alternative to Labour, but how does this fit their acceptance of a massive donation from Brian Souter, the chief of that predatory monopolist-minded 'Stagecoach' company ?

Whilst Alex Salmond is a good media performer he has the problem of trying to keep on board both the independence fundamentalists and the pragmatists in his party. Likewise there is the contradiction of the moderate party portrayed in rural Scotland standing against the supposedly more left-leaning party challenging Labour in the central belt. And, people accuse the LD's of being all things to all people !

I'm looking forward to seeing / hearing Salmond sell / spin this donation to those of us who abhor the anti trade union and homophobic attitudes of Mr Souter. Further his muscular brand of evangelical Christianity may not endear him to the large traditional 'Catholic' vote that Labour has traditionally harvested. Let the fun begin ?!

As for Stagecoach I remember only too well how he acquired his monopoly position in Darlington when I lived there. 'Free' buses were put on. This drove the municipal transport operator into the ground and having attained a stranglehold on public transport in the town the end result was the usual cocktail of poor services, high travel costs and anti trade unionism that (in my view) typifies his company.

True, services are better here in Torquay, but travel costs are ludicrously high. How can it cost £4 for a daysaver covering a small Devon borough whilst you can travel the breadth of Greater London on the same terms for £3.50 ? Crazy !


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