I wrote last year about Scottish Politics, in light of the Scottish Independence Referendum stating why I chose to vote yes. Politically speaking, if you enjoy (are sad enough) to be interested in politics as a teenager, or a Scot, then it was an extraordinarily interesting fight to follow. However, Scotland were knocked out of the cup 45-55% and as a result there were obviously claims of votes being rigged, and Alex Salmond who was arguably the man behind one of the greatest, longest, most challenging, and ardent campaigns in political history stepped down. His torch got passed to Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first female First Minister and life went on as it was before… Or did it?
After the Referendum and in light of promises that Westminster made on the run up to the polling stations opening, many thought that Scotland may obtain ‘Devo Max’, or at least push Westminster to give them it. They did, and they attempted to obtain devolved power in most matters that they didn’t have a say in. Then, by Burns Night a ‘plan’ concocted in England, by led by an Englishman selected by the UK Government was released unto Scotland which suggested that some powers were given to Scotland, but not on the predicted scale. Ms Sturgeon stated that the bill ‘did not represent the views of Scotland’ but that it did represent progress. I personally like to think of this as a subtle code for ‘I’m coming for you UK Parliament’ and Jesus Christ, she may just be.
The UK General Election will take place on the 7th of May 2015, and so far the political landscape is very interesting. For the first time ever, there will be three televised debates broadcast across the BBC. The first two will be a seven-way brawl to the death between the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Green Party, and Plaid Cymru (Welsh National Party). The leaders of all the parties will come together for the live debates to discuss the political issues that are at the heart of Britain. If I’m honest, this seven-way debate surprised me and it shows an interesting insight into the changing dynamics of British Politics. First Past the Post has failed in narrowing Britain down to a fully two-horse state just yet. In the debates of 2012, only the larger parties were given the opportunity to debate, which was much to the disdain of Salmond if I remember correctly. The Labour Party, and the Conservatives were the front two runners, and the Liberal Democrats were thrown into the mix as a wild-card due to their popularity growing and it was never under any doubt that the Conservatives or Labour would win, or that failing that a coalition would be entered into between these three parties. However, the UK’s political ground is becoming a bit more rocky and diviersified. Many see the Conservatives and the Labour Party as the same party that they have been displeased with for years. Now, the Liberal Democrats haven’t really got a hope after Nick Clegg has spent four years looking like he was only there to ask Cameron whether or not he wanted Sugar and Milk in his Tea. People are now tending to vote in ways that are less ‘traditional’ and are looking to vote for the principle, rather than for what they always have.
This said, Labour and the Conservatives will still have one debate to themselves, as they are the front runner. However, even more interestingly, Cameron has said that he won’t turn up, and the debates should be between all seven parties. I dearly hope he turns up, I can’t sit through two-hours of Ed Miliband talking to an empty chair whilst saying a variation of ‘If Cameron could be bothered to be here tonight to convey his Parties message to you, I’m sure he would’ve said this, but we’re going to say this instead and that makes us so much better.’
The increase in voter diversity seems to be greatly benefiting the SNP. See, this is where it gets a bit mind-boggling. See the polls are saying that the SNP will get around a 3.7% share of the votes. That sounds dreadful right? Why am I even stating such a pitiful number and seeming to find it interesting? Because this three point seven percent, due to the voting occurring in Scotland will give them between 46 and 56 (out of 59) Scottish seats, which is three times what the Liberal Democrats are expected to get across the WHOLE of the UK. Labour are leading in the pols with 33.6% (301 seats) and the Conservatives follow with 32.7% (265 seats). Since these parties are unlikely to be able to form a coalition, there will need to either be a more comfortable majority of one over the other, or… HELLO COALITION. With the SNP as they are currently looking like the only party that would take Labour (the front runners) over the edge.
Some have suggested (in England) that in when Cameron proudly declared on the steps of Downing Street that ‘The Scottish People have spoken’, they thought it would be an end to Scotland and the SNP having the ability to influence and strong arm UK politics. However, if Labour are elected, he will have to look to Sturgeon and she will be in the seat of power whilst negotiating the coalition terms. Just like a wife who has caught her husband charing- she’ll be fighting for everything she can gry. Miliband plans to counter this with the Scotland Home Rule Bill (which basically givens Devo Max) and walking it through Parliament. The hopes for this are blatantly that he hopes it will stave off another Referendum that the UK probably won’t walk away from intact.
Of course, where would politics be without media! Sturgeon’s campaign is being greatly helped by media like the Daily Mail writing scathing pieces about how dangerous and treacherous it would be to let the Scot’s have power in a coalition, as well as thinly veiled put downs of Scottish people actually wanting to determine our own fate and Cameron’s stupidity for even allowing us to have the democratic right to vote on our own independence are pissing us ‘Jock’s’ off. It’s doing contrary to what the English thought would happen after the referendum, a beat down, and this is convincing the Scots that we need more representation.
Election polls are only a very subjective guide, so I cannot say in good consciousness say that this situation will occur. However, I can state that Scotland and the SNP right now are in a good position. However, what happens if this does go ahead?
In my family, Sturgeon was nicknamed as Salmond’s attack pic (I neither condone nor support this). The main reason for this is that I come from a sexist background where if a woman is assertive, she’s a bitch. Sturgeon is a woman scorned who is passionate about, and loves, her country and so naturally she wants to protect it’s interests. However, Clegg also wanted to protect and give a soapbox to his parties view. More tea Mr Clegg?
My believe is that Clegg was politically strong armed for the past few years. He had to give up principles for a shot at a bit of power; Oh the ethical dilemma! I also believe that people see the main parties now as a copy of each other, that they are all one and the same. However, Sturgeon’s SNP stands out, but can she withhold the lure of power and pressure of the bigger, stronger parties.
I like to believe so. The SNP play to their strengths and know that they are popular North of the border. By giving up their morals and principles, they would alienate their voters and have to cope with long-term recovery. Add that to the fact that Sturgeon isn’t afraid of pissing a few people off and that she knows her stuff, I think she’ll be fine.
In Summary, watch this space. The British political scene and the general election looks set to be both interesting and worthy of being a nail biter, so it could be one hell of a ride.