Scotland Sunk Labour


flag-of-scotland

The divide between the left and right of the United Kingdom is not as great as the difference between Labour and the Conservatives at this time. Yes, the Tories now hold a majority, but Labour’s fall from grace was not really due to a move right-ward in a massive number of constituencies they previously held- because it was created by a move left.

Scotland sunk Labour. The Scottish Nationalist Party, a creation of one part nationalism and one part leftist beliefs, won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, a once reliably Labour region that was always safe from the Tories and conservative politics. This essentially marks a fork in the road for Labour- they can either accept never being able to win an outright majority again because of the Scottish seats, or they can move left and try to take some of the oxygen from SNP. Going along with the program they have clearly had little appeal to Scotland, and that isn’t likely to just change over time. It is entirely possible that SNP is inescapable, and that Scottish independence is the only thing that will kill off SNP, but my guess is that ideology had more to do with this than even nationalism. After all, just last year the independence referendum underwhelmed, and Scotland stayed in the Kingdom. My guess is that the Scottish people were simply unhappy with Labour, and wanted to make their point. Well, they did that well.

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2 Responses to “Scotland Sunk Labour”

  1. If every person in Scotland had voted Labour and delivered 59 MPs to Westminster – Labour still would have not won.

    Labour wouldn’t even have won if every person in Scotland and Wales voted their way and delivered 99 MPs to Westminster.

    Labour lost by not winning enough seats in England.

    Yes, Scottish people were unhappy with Labour. That Labour sided with the Tories in the referendum; that they backed austerity; that they backed trident; that they backed draconian welfare reforms; that they were just ‘red tories’.

    Scotland was angry. You state that the independence referendum ‘underwhelmed’. The pro-independence movement was within a whisker of winning and that was from a lowly starting position. Both Yes and No voters were energised in the campaign and the Westminster election was energised in Scotland in a way that the rest of the UK failed to match. There is nothing ‘underwhelming’ about this!

    In fact, the Yes campaign was SO close in winning the referendum that days before the poll – with polls showing a Yes lead – a panicked Westminster pushed Gordon Brown (on behalf of all the Unionist parties) to deliver The Vow; a promise of Devo Max to Scotland. This was in the middle of purdah when legally no new offers were to be made!

    Scots were told that a No vote would deliver Devo Max; control of everything bar defence and foreign affairs.

    A tight No vote was duly delivered. The mistake Westminster made was then assuming that a No vote meant ‘no change’. Yet to Scots it couldn’t mean that – the goal posts were changed. A No vote promised Devo Max.

    The morning after the No vote David Cameron linked further devolution with English votes for English laws! This enraged Yes and No voters – not that EVEL was on the table – but the fact it was LINKED. In other words, Cameron effectively gave the definite guarantee of Devo Max a big IF!

    Not even a day had passed and The Vow was seen to be already ditched! The poor Smith Commission proposals on half hearted income tax and powers over road signs was nowhere near the Devo Max promised.

    That is why the SNP rocketed up to 115 000+ members. And why the SNP won a landslide in the Westminster election in Scotland. People wanted to force Devo Max to be delivered.

    Labour in Scotland was an obstacle to this. Scottish voters duly deserted them for the SNP.

    • I think I agree with about 95% of what you said here. I think the only thing I take issue with is that i’m not saying Labour would have won if Scotland voted for them- i’m saying the perspective with which we are viewing their defeat would be far different with 56 more seats in the new parliament. Besides that detail, I agree, the Scottish voter found Labour to be so uninspiring that whether they supported the referendum or not, they wanted an alternative to Labour. SNP has clearly gained a foothold thanks to Labour siding with the Tories not just on independence, but other policies as well.

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