A guest post from Aidan Skinner – a Labour activist from Glasgow who considered the election through the prism of Monty Python.

At the (brutally frank and accurate) Refounding Labour Glasgow event last week it was remarked upon that, from a certain point of view, voters had the choice between two social democratic parties, one of which had a flag.

That may be the perception, and it’s one that Labour does need to address, but it’s not true. Not withstanding the fact that Labour is, of course, a democratic socialist party (says so on the tin back of the card in my wallet), the SNP aren’t a social democratic party, despite frequent claims to be. This, for me, was one of the more frustrating parts of the campaign. We indulged in vacuous Nat-bashing. We called them names, we insulted their ideology but we didn’t actually offer any critical analysis of their policies.

And there’s a lot to be critical of. As Neil Findlay pointed out in First Ministers Questions yesterday, they want to cut corporation tax even further than the Tories, and create a differential rate between Scotland and England. Now, the basic idea of cutting corporation tax itself is flawed. It will be ineffective because, like the broader Tory economic policy, it’s economically illiterate. Corporation tax is levied on profits, not revenue. The economic argument that a decrease in tax will increase investment ignores the reality that currently even potentially profitable projects are not being invested in. Across the EU there’s an effective, if unofficial, investment strike. Cutting corporation tax will, in all likelyhood, have no effect on investment in Scotland. At best it might encourage companies to bounce their profits through here, but that model clearly hasn’t done Ireland much long term good and, with the best will in the world, the Caymans have better weather.

It’s not even a progressive policy. It’s utterly, fundamentally, regressive. It will mean even deeper cuts to council services, to universities, to police and to schools than are already planned. Peter Robinson warned that it might be as much as £1.5bn, which is roughly the same amount as the entire cut from the block grant last year.

So the SNP are essentially proposing doubling the cuts to people’s services in order for companies’ taxes to be cut by a third. I don’t think that can be characterised as “social democratic” on any definition. We can see evidence of the disconnect between the SNP image as a social democratic party and their actual policy in other areas, such as the council tax freeze and free prescriptions which benefit the better off, but don’t do anything to help the least well off at all who didn’t pay those anyway.

Labour, on the other hand, went into the last Holyrood election proposing a new patient-centered, integrated National Care Service. We promised to implement the Living Wage, to look at non-profit forms of ownership of Scotrail when the franchise is up for renewal and to invest in the infrastructure necessary to support local communities generating their own renewable power and feeding the surplus into the national grid. There were hints of a new mode of production and enterprise based around co-operative principles.

We didn’t talk about them much, and we should have. People expect Scottish Labour to be a democratic socialist party. When I was knocking on doors and talking about our policies, that was what people responded to. They wanted strong, Labour, democratic socialist policies.

So, are we all social democratics now? Not really. I’m not even sure there are any social democratic parties in Scotland, let alone two.