So Labour are voting against the relevant clauses in the Finance Bill tomorrow and the Welfare bill is up to the new leader. The SNP will be voting against fox hunting on Wednesday.
These facts are connected. The Westminster SNP is apparently pissed off enough about the attempt to pass EVEL earlier in the week that it doesn’t feel bound by the idea that it should abstain on anything in Holyrood’s area of responsibility.
As a result, trying to pick off the centremost 6 Tories on the welfare bill is most definitely back on. A few days ago it looked like doing anything effective about it meant trying to find 62 votes, as there was no assurance of the SNP having a vote or using it if they did. Now, though, they’re going to be available, so the target is down to 6. What was really important this week was getting the cooperation between the Labour and SNP whips going again and seeing off the EVEL gerrymander.
Having got that done, a lot of possibilities open up. On the tax credits/housing issue, who are the six weakest Tories? Let’s get the chin music going. They tell me it’s hell out there.