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And Scotland… May 1, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Scotland, Scottish Politics.

UK Polling Report makes a great point on foot of the latest polling results in Scotland…

MORI’s Scottish poll shows, as ever, a huge SNP lead. Topline figures are CON 17%, LAB 20%, LDEM 5%, SNP 54% (tabs). This would be enough for the SNP to win just about everywhere. A measure of just how vast the change has been in Scotland is that we are no longer surprised by polls showing the SNP with huge landslide leads in Scotland – we should be. A thirty-four point lead for the SNP in an area that Labour has consistently won since the 1960s is astounding and appears to be a true realignment in Scottish politics.

And continues:

We end up paying to the rest of the country because England and Wales are on a knife-edge while the outcome of Scotland appears settled, it’s just a question of how colossal the SNP landslide is, but it’s good to sit back occasionally and gawp at the scale of the turnaround in Scottish politics since a year ago.

It is indeed astounding, and even if it doesn’t lead to a total wipeout of all others, and who can possibly tell at this point whether it will or will not, it suggests that there has been a fundamental shift in the nature of politics within the UK. Within the UK because, of course, Scotland remains within the UK.

There’s a lot of loose talk about the legitimacy of post-election governments, Nick Clegg has, rather self-servingly given he is about to see a first-hand example of the meaning of the term attrition applied to his own party, argued that the party with the largest number of seats is the only credible party for government – and this has obvious ramifications if say the Tories are a few ahead of the LP.

Those of us who live in more complex/chaotic/somewhat more representative polities will know that it ain’t necessarily so, that it is all about who can get the majority and in whatever way. Given that joint programmes of their nature distort the programmes parties go into elections hawking the idea of some sort of purity conveyed by more numbers is chimerical.

And it’s telling to see a sub-argument of this argue that a government supported either explicitly or indirectly by the SNP is somehow illegitimate being put about too. Of course that too is about shutting down options, and in particular making it more difficult for the LP to gain power.

But it makes no real sense (particularly) if the hegemonic party in Scotland is the SNP after the next election. Because Scotland remains, particularly after the referendum, a part of the Union. Nor is that likely to change soon and rather than playing games with Scotland a real engagement on the part of London and London based parties might actually go some way to redressing the issues that have brought us to this point. Again one has to recall that the recent referendum was shaped by Cameron and the Tories explicitly to prevent the option of devolution max – the option that would almost certainly have commanded greatest support had it been on the ballot and an option that the SNP could live with. Moreover since the referendum the actions of the Tories have been blatantly antagonistic to the sentiment that saw the referendum a close run thing and that will power the SNP to an historic result this coming month.

One can argue that all this is the result of the referendum, but I think that too pat. More likely it is the result of many years of indifference and neglect and a sense that for all the talk of a union the reality was one of a centre that dominated and a periphery that was – for all that it had instruments of its own – peripheral.

But one way or another London, England, the rest of the UK, has to wake up to this new reality. Telling too that the DUP, hardly renowned for its political sensitivity and tact, is aware too of the dangers implicit in the current Tory line. They, perhaps, more than most, are able to comprehend genuine threats to the union. Perhaps they too understand, more than most, what has to be given away in order to retain that union.

Paying the price for centuries of contempt March 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Scottish Politics, The Left, Wales.

It’s not necessarily coming, as they say, from a place of love. More like a place of snark, but this is a great line from Simon Jenkins in the Guardian when discussing the shape of the next British Parliament.

British politics is paying the price for centuries of English contempt for the political aspirations of the Irish, Scots and Welsh.

Ain’t that the truth.

Throughout the 19th century Tory (and some Liberal) opposition to even moderate home rule for the “other British empire” ensured a more drastic separatism would eventually triumph.

Actually his line is intriguing because he argues that with SNP support a Labour government is more or less inevitable. Well, we’ll see.

He makes another point, one which given the way in which unionism looms large in the political consciousness is perhaps sometimes forgotten on this part of the island

The lesson of separatism across Europe is the same. For restless Ukrainians, Slovenians, Kosovans, Slovakians, Basques and Catalans, regional autonomy is not a passing fad, to be bought off with a few powers and subsidies. It is a visceral response to the arrogance of centralised power. It is the response that many Britons profess towards the overbearing power of Brussels; yet few in Westminster see themselves as the EU of Great Britain.

Another view on the vote in Scotland… May 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Scottish Politics, The Left.

…from Ken MacLeod. It’s interesting to see an ‘Independence-critical’ view from the left, which he most definitely is a part of. And an array of links there for anyone keen to explore that side of the debate.

BTW, just finished his latest ‘Descent’ which is one of his best.

But what of Scotland… May 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Scottish Politics, The Left.
1 comment so far

…interesting point made on this thread on Socialist Unity that a certain instability in the nature of the Union given the forthcoming referendum on Scotland may also be one of the factors in the background contributing to recent events in the North (of Ireland). Not that anyone consciously sat down and thought of it that way at the time, but… that the constitutional dispensation that is the United Kingdom is facing challenges it has not experienced in centuries and that this isn’t going unnoticed.

More on Scotland April 29, 2014

Posted by guestposter in Scotland, Scottish Politics, The Left.
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…from Colm B, a comment on the context in Scotland that I thought is perfect as a post…

Living and working in Glasgow, talking to neighbours and in-laws etc. and being involved in the Radical Indepedence Campaign, my impression is that a real shift is happening. This time last year, I think, most people felt that there was little prospect of a Yes victory but now theres a real feeling that its up for grabs and people have become much more engaged with the debate.

IMHO the reason for this change is two-fold: firstly the No Campaign has been abysmal, based almost entirely on establishment figures making increasingly ludicous threats about the catastrophy that will befall Scotalnd if we vote Yes. This has largely back-fired as more and more people are alienated by the negativity of that campaign and also by the way its treating the public as kids who can be scared by unveiling a procession of bogeymen.

On the Yes side while Salmonds undoubted skill as a politician, and the main Yes Campaigns largely positive message, have played a major role in the increasing support, the other factor has been the surge in ‘non-nationalist’ campaigning and arguments for a Yes vote. This surge has seen the growth of a dynamic youthful grassroots campaign spearheaded by RIC but also invlolves a multiplicity of organisations such as Women for Indepedence etc. The No campaign is about grandees making pronouncements and media campaigning but it is comprehensively out-matched on the ground in terms of canvassing, leafleting, public meetings etc. This is partly explained by reliance on Labour Party campaigners who seems to consist largely of councillors and their hangers-on: no match for the mass of enthusiastic Yes campaigners who go far beyond the pool of SNP members/supporters.

But a word of caution before you put your money on a Yes vitory: all the inidcations are that the No side is still ahead and one should not forget that we are talking about the break-up of the British state here and that state’s ruling class will not just sit back and let this happen, so the odds are still against a Yes vote winning. All Im saying is there’s a real contest on now.

BTW For most people involved in the RIC the real battle begins the day after the referendum when the shape of the new Scotland begins to emerge and hopefully we have a powerful radical left movement in place ready to play a decisive role in that process.

Scotland… they wouldn’t, would they? April 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Irish Politics, Scottish Politics.

Reading this this morning in the Guardian, that:

Sources in the diplomatic corps in Edinburgh, which is home to nearly 50 consulates and diplomatic missions, have told the Guardian they think the tide of opinion has shifted significantly in recent months, after a noticeable swing against David Cameron’s government and the no campaign.

One senior diplomat, who asked not to be named, said he had believed last year that a yes vote was unlikely, but had since changed his mind. In his view “it is now likely, but not certain” that Scotland would vote yes in September, he said.

…it struck me that while I’d tend to the view that the No vote will shade it – and perhaps by a considerable margin, still, it’s not as if those in Scotland viewing the prospect of independence (of sorts) find they like it less the more they look. The polling data is interesting too:

While backing for independence in the Survation poll was slightly down on its poll last month, Yes Scotland said the average of all recent polls put a yes vote at 46% and no at 54% – a difference of eight points compared with a 38% to 62% gap last November.

That’s still some weight against the proposal, but… but…

Could it happen? And what of the broader context if it did in relation to these islands?

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