Earthquake and Landslide

5 July 2024


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Scotland Political Landscape Radically Changed

The Scottish results in the UK general election were not much of a surprise. The Scottish National Party lost badly, and Labour picked up most of the seats at the expense of the SNP. This is not just the result of Scots being tired of Tory government in Westminster but also the result of the SNP governing in Scotland for years and losing its way. This is a blow to nationalism and independence, and the next chance to change that is two years off. That is an eternity in politics, and it could be that nationalism retreats for much longer than that.

There are 57 Scottish seats at Westminster. Labour had just one seat in Scotland going into this campaign, and they now have 37. The SNP had 47 and now hold just 9. The Tories had 6 seats and lost just one, keeping 5. The LibDems gained 3 making its new total 5. One seat has yet to be decided. In short, Labour took on the Scottish National Party and won massively. The SNP share of the vote was down 15 points while Labout was up 17 points.

The result is proof that Scotland is still a left-wing nation within the UK. Before the rise of the SNP under Alex Salmond, Scotland was part of the Labour heartland. That goes back decades. So, it is clear that any changes to who holds power will be on the political left rather than a fight between left and right.

The fact that the Tories held on as well as they did in Scotland stems from a very simple fact. Reform UK has almost no traction north of the border. For voters on the right, there was just one option, Conservative. There is a segment of Scottish society that is quite comfortable voting to the right, despite the left-wing leaning of the nation as a whole. Yet they have not fallen under the spell of Reform and Nigel Farage. Reform in Scotland won just 7% of the vote while across the UK it won 14%.. That said, the Tories have some soul-searching to do as their Scottish Leader Douglas Ross lost his seat.

The LibDems picked up a seat, and one must note that there are pockets of Liberal Democrats in Scotland who do the usual local politicking that keeps the party relevant. As the Guardian noted, "Scottish seats have always provided a significant proportion of the Lib Dem total, and campaign sources suggest that their base is holding up. They also point out that the Scottish electorate is a sophisticated one, voting tactically for the local pro-union candidate most likely to win, which might also affect a uniform swing to Labour in Scotland."

The Scottish Parliament sits for another couple of years, but it is the next big thing in Scottish politics. It will be an election that tells just how deep this change goes. The election will occur under a proportional representation system rather than the first-past-the-post approach used for Westminster elections. The difference in the general election between Labour and the SNP was just under 6%. Under proportional representation, Labour would be the biggest faction but hold about 35% of the seats. That will force a coalition or a minority government. In short, things could be much worse for the SNP in the months ahead.

The SNP is vowing to make the Scottish election a quasi-referendum on independence. If it were to win a majority of seats then, it will claim the right to negotiate independence. It might be best if they try focusing on cleaning up their finances and refocusing on things more important to the average Scot than gender identification.

© Copyright 2024 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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