THROUGHOUT the kingdom a feeling dawned across the land, uniting all as one – thank God that is over. By Monday evening even the keenest royalist must surely have had their fill of bizarre costumes, wrongful arrests and Lionel Ritchie.

Now we can all get back to normal, which in England means talking up Penny Mordaunt as the next Prime Minister of the UK based on her ability to hold a heavy sword aloft.

In Scotland, meanwhile, we can return to considering one of the most persistent questions of our times. In short, can Labour and the SNP ever stop knocking seven bells out of each other long enough to oust the Conservatives and keep them out?

The question has resurfaced on the back of last week’s local elections in England, in which the Conservatives did worse than expected and Labour not as well as they had hoped. If the results were mirrored in a General Election, Labour would win but without an overall majority, hence talk of possible coalitions.

Not from Labour, mind you. When Sir Keir Starmer assembled his lads and lassies yesterday for a post-election debrief, there would have been no utterance of the C-word. The message was of confidence and not complacency, of the hardest yards still to come, belief that they can win a majority, all the usual lines in a well-thumbed script.

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The SNP could barely wait for the results to come in before they dropped the C-bomb. While understandable that they should seek to change the subject from their own woes, the speed at which they did so was dazzling.

There will inevitably be more of this ahead. The road to victory for Labour does not only run through Scotland, but it is crucial that the party does well on this front, “well” looking like 15-20 seats.

But should Labour fail to get an outright majority, never fear, the SNP are here. Now there is a slogan to put on a mug or the side of a bus. Stephen Flynn, the party’s Westminister group leader, is making a name for himself as the master of the parliamentary wind-up. His skills to date have been mostly used against the Conservatives, but now he is turning his attention to Labour.

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Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland yesterday, the MP for Aberdeen South said he was “quite excited about where we are at the moment”. According to Mr Flynn, the local election results in England present a real opportunity for the SNP to hold the balance of power at the next General Election.

All the party would ask in return for keeping a minority Labour Government in power was a rollback on Brexit and the power to hold another independence referendum. Oh, and there was something about more help with the cost of living crisis. That all? No unicorn each for the under-fives, a two-day working week on full pay, free Apple shares for all? No, just the major constitutional change please, and be quick about it.

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Such a shopping list might seem ridiculous to some. But as Mr Flynn said, the Labour leader has dropped several major pledges already, on nationalisation of key industries and scrapping tuition fees in England for a start. He has shown what he will do to become PM, and it is only fair, only politics, that the SNP should try to benefit from that. Co-operation, coalition, pacts – these are, after all, the way of the world in many modern European countries.

But this is not any modern European country as far as Labour and the SNP are concerned. This is a land of old grievances and bad blood that goes all the way back to The Great Betrayal of 1979, when SNP MPs helped the Tories bring down a minority Labour government, opening the door to Thatcherism.

It is a story every Labour member knows, the details so deeply embedded they are practically part of their DNA. Any notion of forgiving or forgetting is preposterous. The only dafter idea in the history of daft ideas is Alistair Campbell’s suggestion that Celtic and Rangers should play a friendly in Belfast wearing each other’s jerseys to help the Good Friday agreement along. That’s still good for a laugh.

The resentment is as strong on the SNP side. The MPs of the time, and party supporters since, say Labour betrayed them first by changing the rules on what constituted a majority in the vote for Scottish devolution, thus scuppering the policy. Plus, they argue, it was only a matter of time before Callaghan’s government fell so might as well get on with it.

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The clash went to the heart of each party’s reason for being. For the SNP, it was independence first, governing later; for Labour, getting into government and staying there was the only way to help the working man and woman.

The divisions between Labour and the SNP are far more than political. They are tribal, philosophical, and deeply personal, and thus impossible to mend. Here we are, almost half a century on, and the game of bluff and counter-bluff is on again.

“Under no circumstances,” said Stephen Flynn yesterday, “would we seek to put a Tory government in place. Any suggestion to that effect is absurd.” But the more the SNP talks up the chances of a coalition the faster the Conservatives come up with another poster showing a mini Keir Starmer in Mr Flynn’s pocket.

If Labour fails to win an outright majority it won’t be SNP mischief-making on its own to blame. Far more important is having a credible leader with solid ideas on how to change life for the better, and for Labour that means north and south of the Border. It is an inconvenient but inescapable truth that the greater the role Keir Starmer tries to play in Scotland the less attention is paid to Anas Sarwar. Scotland is not a battle that can be won from London. Will that message ever get through?

Labour and the SNP will never be anything approaching friends. The best that can be hoped for are temporary truces for easily defined ends.

Thankfully, voters are way ahead of the parties on this one. Perhaps the most important takeaway from the recent local elections was how many contests were won through tactical voting, and it will be the same at the General Election. You need adults in the room to get things done. Imagine if there were more of them in the SNP and Labour.