Posted by Ivan Rendall on Saturday, 10 September 2014 in Blogging
The closer we get to Referendum Day in Scotland the more the debate is about the future of the whole UK. So, now it’s going to fall to 4 million or so blameless Scots, who thought they were just going about their own business, to decide on the future of 60 million or so Great Britons, the EU, NATO, war in the Middle East, peace in Ukraine and, who knows, perhaps even the storylines for the Archers!
Pity nobody in Westminster thought of that when they were formulating the rules for the last two years of vacuous campaigning.
There are lots of debates going on about all the various aspects of the UK democratic deficit – or in the case of the Scots, surfeit – but one aspect of the UK electoral process not dealt with yet is how a Yes vote in Scotland would affect the way people might begin to think about voting in the UK election scheduled (at the moment at least), for May 2015.
If it’s Yes to Scottish Independence next week, it will soon become clear that Labour will have to win by a huge landslide, the scale of which is unlikely since it means getting a working majority of, say, 10, plus 40 odd seats, plus the customary 40 odd seats they get via Scotland, whose shelf life is two years at most. The soft UK Labour voter contemplating this, and also contemplating where to cast his/her vote next year, is going to start thinking: “why would I vote for a party which, even if it wins, is only going to govern for around a year, two at the most if the negotiations drag on.”
Many loyal voters will still vote Labour. But what will those, let’s call them “deterred Labour voters (DLVs),” do? My hunch is that a lot of their votes will be spread around other parties in roughly the following order: UKip/Lib.Dem/Green/Tory.
And there are a lot of Labour marginals. And don’t forget the effect of a possibly enhanced SNP/DUP/SDLP/Plaid number of MPs as well.
Result: Labour might still be the biggest party, but with nowhere near a majority once Scotland is fully independent. It might even be that the DLVs could bring about a 2 or even 3 way coalition of excitable, rag-tag, parties, largely perceived as at best only barely competent, made up of the rumps of the “big three” parties engaged in a danse macabre in Scotland today.
That would be against the grain of UK politics. Heaven only knows about the EU, NATO, war, peace, etc.
That is not a result, it’s a dog’s breakfast.
Never mind what the SNP did not explain to Scottish voters for the moment – another lamentable story of lack of decent politics – the explanation deficit south of the border was far worse, it was non-existent at worst or, at best, lazy, complacent, incompetent and de haut en bas!