Posted By: May 04, 2015

Tom Kelly.Irish News ( Belfast). Monday, May 4, 2015

IN A few days the leaflets will start to waste away in your compost heap and the weather-beaten election posters will begin to resemble what the fatigued politicians actually look like.

The choices may all look the same but in truth, even in Northern Ireland, the outcome of this election could impact on whether the much-disliked English Tories get a second term or not.

Make no mistake, this government under the leadership of David Cameron and the campaign tactics played out by his Australian election adviser has ended any notion of one nation Toryism – it’s now English Tories against the rest of the United Kingdom.

Not since the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 has the United Kingdom been so politically divided.

The campaign by the SNP has caught the imagination of Scottish voters and the admiration of many others throughout Britain and Northern Ireland. Despite the fact that the economic arguments of the SNP do not stack up matters little to Scots, who in their droves are deserting Labour to annoy the ‘auld enemy’ in England.

Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour Leader looks increasingly like King Canute. Without doubt it’s the fear of the rise of the SNP that will drive many wavering last-minute English voters into the Tory camp.

Ironically the Scottish Labour party may save some of their blushes and seats, when Lib-Dem and Conservative voters in Scotland switch to them as the strongest pro-union voice against the SNP.

After this election, the SNP at Westminster will be able to emulate the great power brokering feats of the Irish Parliamentary Party under Parnell. Unlike Sinn Féin, Scottish nationalists have no intention of wasting their mandate with a sterile policy of abstentionism.

Unconvincingly Ed Miliband tells us that he would rather lose the election than be held to ransom by Ms Sturgeon. No doubt those words will soon melt away quicker than a ball of roasted snow.

However, he has two ace cards yet to play; the first is that while the Tories may get the most seats after the election, the arithmetic for forming a government is against them.

Secondly, Ms Sturgeon has a challenge ahead too, her forthright “we will never do business with the Tories” means that she will find it nearly impossible to vote against a queen’s speech drafted by the Labour party.

Plaid Cymru and the SDLP will almost certainly back Labour. In fact Labour is actively looking at what it can do for those parties.

The DUP say they can do business with either the Conservatives or Labour but in reality after nearly 12 months of playing footsie with Cameron, they have little to gain from backing Labour. Yet in the world of politics, Peter Robinson is the most pragmatic of players.

Contrary to the Sinn Féin spin, this election will come down to a handful of seats. The decision of Sinn Féin to go to Westminster and collect hundreds of thousands of pounds in expenses but not take their actual seats lowers the threshold needed by the Tories to get across the line.

They might as well tell their voters to blow on dandelion seeds and wish for a change of government for all the good voting Sinn Féin will do in this particular election.

But as the crude “Catholic versus Protestant” election leaflet being used by Gerry Kelly in North Belfast proves, Sinn Féin intends relying on old-fashioned base sectarianism to get out their vote.

Seamus Mallon, the former SDLP deputy leader last week eloquently nailed the waste behind abstentionist politics. Firstly, he said that he could never have won his historic election in 1986 on an abstentionist ticket.

Nor for that matter could the late Eddie McGrady have unseated the doyen of the ring wing Tories and unionists, Enoch Powell on an abstentionist platform.

He also pointed out that direct negotiations are only part of the political process; the devil with British governments is always in the detail.

He outlined clearly how he personally had to table over 80 amendments to the Policing Bill and how for months Eddie McGrady championed through the fair employment legislation we now take for granted.

As if further proof was needed, no-one is any clearer to this day what was agreed by Sinn Féin and the DUP at Stormont House as both parties proffer different interpretations of their private talks with the Tory Government.

It’s simple, if you want the Tories out vote for it, don’t wish it away on the wind.