Saor Alba & a Pyrrhic Victory for the Tories?
Congrats to the Scottish National Party (SNP) for their great historical victory yesterday. They are a movement whose origins in part are due to the inspiration that Scots got in the early part of the last century from the Irish struggle for nationhood and independence from an imperial Britain.
Yesterday was a watershed in British politics, an important milestone in the shaping of the United Kingdom similar to the 1945 General Election which brought the Labour Party to power and to 1918 when Sinn Féin consigned the once dominant Irish Parliamentary Party to the history bin and led a few years later to the establishment of an Irish free state.
This week Labour was annihilated in its heartland by a rising nationalism due in large part to its betrayal of its socialist principles, its support for the hugely expensive Trident nuclear weapon programme and its arrogance towards the Scottish people that it took for granted over so many years.
The three principal founders (Hardie, Anderson & MacDonald) of the British Labour Party were all Scottish and it has been the largest party in Scotland since the late 1950s. Until yesterday.
The Conservative Party may have won the 2015 UK general election but it could be a Pyrrhic victory. Mainland Britain now has a geographical political fault line separating Scotland from the rest of the island. The Tories are primarily a party of England; it has only one Westminster seat in Scotland out of 59 seats, with SNP on the other hand holding an overwhelming 56.
The nationalists will now campaign for the maximum powers possible for the Hollyrood parliament under the increased powers of devolution promised at last referendums. Furthermore, the UK referendum on membership of the EU that will take place within the next two years may lead to the majority of the population of England voting to leave whilst the Scots may decide the opposite. What happens then?