Well. Gosh. Cameron is back with an overall majority. He owes it essentially to the SNP (assisted by the polls pointing to a much tighter race). Jim Murphy’s analysis of the reasons seems basically sound: people in Scotland thought they could vote SNP and still get Labour in Westminster; people in England were determined that they were not going to be held to ransom. The only way of insuring they were not was a Tory government. People in Scotland voted SNP for a vast coalition of frequently incompatible reasons:
1. They want Scottish Independence (and don’t care about the other policies)
2. They think the SNP are running Scotland rather well
3. They want a further left Labour Party
4. They think they can soak the English for lot more if the SNP hold the balance of power in Westminster
5. They are fed up of being taken for granted by Labour
6. They hate the English
The first and second of these groups includes many people on the centre right. The sixth includes many people who are essentially far right (and even support Glasgow Rangers). The fourth group are cynics and probably represent quite a large proportion of the whole. The fifth should definitely not be underestimated. The SNP would like you to believe that the third is most or even all of the story. I suspect it is a much smaller part of the story than most people imagine.
The best thing Her Majesty’s Government can do now is to give the greatest possible degree of (especially fiscal) autonomy to Scotland. Without Westminster paying off the credit card the SNP might just find it has won more than enough rope to hang itself.