Ever since nominations closed earlier in the month, we have known that only the four ‘main’ parties are contesting East Lothian. This is the narrowest choice that voters have had in decades and many people who favour one of the ‘minor’ parties will have to think who else they might transfer their vote to.
The Greens will find the SNP have excellent environmental credentials while the Pensioner Party will find the best swathe of policies for the elderly too, whereas UKIP adherents may be more comfortable voting eternally Eurosceptic Tory. Socialists, whether SSP or Solidarity, have been unable to consider Labour since Blair but when I see their statements like “We see Scotland as independent, a republic where we are not bombing Libya, not occupying Afghanistan, not threatening the world with nuclear annihilation, not privatising vital public services, not cow-towing to un-elected heads of state, not answerable to anyone but ourselves” I can’t see why they would not vote SNP.
As an aside, I canvassed the SSP’s former candidate here. He boiled with exasperation how ego and intolerance had shredded a fleetingly united left. Despite sounding like the Colosseum scene from Life of Brian, his dismay was so obviously heartfelt that I was moved to sympathy. As for any BNP adherents, I don’t know how to advise them beyond reconsidering your politics entirely. Certainly the SNP would rather win without your support.
Although media must provide even-handed coverage, that does not apply to blogs like this. That said, just as major parties show mutual respect in the four hustings, why not extend that to minor parties? After all, you never know who may need to work with and—more to the point—it wasn’t so long ago the SNP was a minor party itself.