Understanding the Scottish Landslide

Scotland has over 50% of the UK’s installed wind capacity, virtually all the installed hydro capacity and still produces most of the UK’s oil and gas and is home to future large oil and gas developments like Clair, Lagan and Mariner. Without Scotland, England’s energy security drains away. Its is therefore imperative for the rest of the UK and for those Scots who want to remain in The Union that Cameron understands the underlying causes of the fault lines in the UK’s political landscape. The explanation is rooted in history.

In the May 7th election the political map of Scotland was completely redrawn as the SNP won 56 of 59 seats almost sweeping the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour off the board all together. Map from the BBC.

The Death of the Scottish Tories

During the years of Margaret Thatcher a new tax called the Poll Tax was rolled out on an experimental basis in Scotland. The Poll Tax was a local tax that replaced “The Rates”. Rates were paid by property owners and if I recall correctly, those living in State housing paid nothing. Those living in big houses paid a lot. The idea of the Poll Tax was that everyone should pay the same flat rate of local tax – the Poll Tax. That’s right, in socially minded, Labour-voting Scotland the Tories introduced a tax that everyone had to pay regardless of income and status.

I lived in Norway at that time and did not experience first hand the anger that was rife. Before then the Tories would always win several seats in Scotland and we had high ranking cabinet members such as Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Forsyth. Since then the Tories have rarely won any seats and with frequent Conservative governments the country is virtually un-represented at Westminster as it is now with a solitary Conservative MP. This lack of representation lies at the heart of many nationalists.

I’m unsure if the Tories ever apologised to the Scottish People for using them as tax guinea pigs. If not, now would be a good time to recognise the magnitude of that mistake and to try and put things right.

The Rise of the SNP

After many decades of being a fringe party, there is no denying that the SNP have in recent years become phenomenally successful and are now a political power house. The creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 has worked well for the SNP where they governed with great skill as a minority administration from 2007 to 2011 and then following a landslide victory in 2011 they formed a majority government, a thing that was never supposed to happen under the Scottish electoral system.

The bottom line is this. For the majority of the Scottish people the SNP are seen as good and fair governors. Scotland has always been a socialist country and the SNP delivers socialist policies.

The Referendum

In the wake of the SNP landslide at Holyrood in 2011, Scots were offered a referendum on independence in September 2014. In a keenly fought contest the final result was not really close with 45% voting Yes, in favour of independence and 55% voting No. More telling is the observation that of 32 districts, 28 voted no. Of the 4 districts that voted Yes one was Glasgow and the other Dundee, the two most socially deprived areas of Scotland.

The referendum turned out to be a vote on social deprivation and not one on independence at all where thousands of multi-generational unemployed and poor voted Yes in the hope that an independent Scotland might offer them a way out of poverty. This is one of the main messages that Cameron now needs to understand. Greater social equality is needed in Scotland in order to begin to heal the rifts within Scotland and between Scotland and England. This is no easy problem to solve but at least recognising that this needs to be repaired if the UK is to survive would be a good start.

The Election

For decades now, Scottish elections have been three horse races fought between the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Labour party. In the election just gone, the Liberal Democrats were wiped out across the UK, punished harshly by their electorate for sharing power with the Tories. In England, Liberal Democrat seats were picked up by the Tories. In Scotland, a Lib Dem stronghold, 10 out of 11 of their seats went to the SNP. Senior politicians like Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander were lost to the yellow tsunami. In Scotland, the Lib Dems were never going to vote Tory like they did in England. But what is surprising and not so easy to understand is why the Lib Dems did not switch to Labour. Simply put the Labour vote was also in the process of collapse.

The Death of Scottish Labour

It is the annihilation of The Scottish Labour vote that is quite difficult to comprehend. A few years ago I would never have considered this possible. And right now I can only offer a partial explanation. The demise of Scottish Labour probably began with the election of Tony Blair as leader and the creation of New labour in 1994. Amongst other things, this led to the creation of the Scottish Parliament. While Scottish Labour enjoyed being in government under Blair and then under a Scot, Gordon Brown, they also presided over the finance crash of 2008, the nationalisation of two Scottish banking institutions – The Bank of Scotland and The Royal bank of Scotland, and letting the reviled bankers to get off scot free while the poor people of Scotland endured the credit crunch. Of course much of this cannot be blamed on Scottish Labour, but it happened on their watch.

Of greater importance was Labour leading the UK (including Scotland) into the Iraq War, viewed as an illegal war by many north of the Border. This I believe was Labour’s poll tax moment. Traditional, socialist Scottish Labour began to drift away from the glitz and pap of New Labour.

Gordon Brown, cut from the mould of John Smith and Donald Dewar was then replaced by Ed Miliband described thus by my friend Roel at The Automatic Earth:

Can anyone ever really have believed that this lady’s underwear salesman could have won this election? Or did they all just fudge the numbers so they had material to print? Ed Milibland never stood a chance.

While I am not a Labour voter I doubt that Ed played well in the working mens pubs and clubs of Clydeside. Neither Ed nor Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy were a match for feisty, Glaswegian socialist Nicola Sturgeon.


And so there we have the components of the perfect storm that produced the extraordinary SNP landslide where they won 56 of 59 Scottish seats. Sturgeon made clear throughout that the election vote had nothing to do with independence. If this was not a vote for independence then what was it a vote for? The SNP stood on a platform of ending austerity. I am with Cameron and Osborne when it comes to fiscal prudence. In fact I don’t think they have done nearly enough to reign in unsustainable borrowing. And so addressing austerity and poverty means more highly leveraged redistribution of existing resources within society. This I believe is what the SNP have on offer.

As is often the case, diagnosing what is wrong can be easier than prescribing a remedy. But correct diagnosis is an essential precursor to finding a cure. The SNP landslide came about because Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories have all become unelectable in Scotland for different reasons. Labour and the Lib Dems seem destined to walk the wilderness for years as the rich veins of political talent they once had has run dry. The Conservatives alone held their ground in Scotland this week and that at least may provide a fragile foundation upon which to build.

But as I see things there are two issues that must be addressed in Scotland if the people are to stay within The Union. Amends need to be made for the poll tax debacle of 30 years ago. And Westminster must find a way of working with Holyrood to alleviate multi-generational deprivation in the cities of Glasgow and Dundee. No one said it would be easy.

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40 Responses to Understanding the Scottish Landslide

  1. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, apart from North Sea Oil & Gas, which does not “belong” to Scotland the Energy supplied by Scotland’s Renewable Energy can be replaced by a 10 decent sized Gas or Coal fired stations.
    The plus side is that the energy would be reliable 24/7/365 energy.
    I don’t know if you realise it, but if the English had had a vote about Scottish Independance it is most likely that Scotland would be independent now.
    You talk about Glasgow & Dundee, the English can talk about most of the Midlands and the whole of the North and the Welsh about all the “valleys”. The big problem is London, Westminster is London Centric the same as Wales is Cardiff Centric, until that changes there will never be a fair distribution of Tax money.
    If Cameron allows the SNP Tail to wag the UK Dog then he and the Tories will be in big trouble, to the rest of the UK the SNP are an irritation that needs fixing, it is the very reason that the Tories got the share of votes that they did.
    Too many people did not want a Labour Government controlled by the SNP, Tories controlled by Lib Dems was bad enough.
    The independence question has not gone away with the referendum, it has got worse, so bring it on.

  2. Hugh Sharman says:

    I agree, Euan!

    Bring on that Constitutional Convention ASAP so that strongly held, non-main-stream views can be represented in Parliament. The 13% that voted for UK are simply not repredented despite offering the only sane energy policy!

    For Heaven’s Sake let SNP manage its own fiscal affairs. If it fails, SNP’s fiscal ignorance will soon become obvious to its voters. On the other hand, it could be a brilliant success and the rest of the UK could follow! It’s is a “let a thousand flowers bloom” moment! But for real, not Mao style!

    I’ve heard a lot, these past few days on BBC’s commentariat about how UK politicians belittled and insulted the Scots but very little about how very close to ugly facism is displayed by Nicola’s far left and anti-English supporters, apparently without ruffling Nicola’s cool.

    By all means, let Scotland manage its fiscal affairs! Let the experiment begin!

  3. Joe Public says:

    A very interesting analysis, Eaun. Thanks.

    “Scotland has over 50% of the UK’s installed wind capacity, ..”

    But has Scotland the capacity produce its required baseload? What are the proportions of wind ‘capacity’ to real-time demand? I freely admit to not knowing the answers, but I suspect they’re the key questions.

    Yes, the SNP achieved a landslide; but fortunately for England, Wales & NI, so what? The Tories have the majority. Ironically (IMHO) precisely because Sturgeon would have had Miliband & every other party by the balls.

    The good news is that LibDem-Davey has received the Order of the Boot.

  4. Euan: If you believe that history repeats itself you might take a look at the Quebec independence movement and the pro-independence Parti Quebecois, which after the 1976 Canadian general election found itself in much the same position as the SNP finds itself in now. And forty years, eleven general elections and two independence referendums later Quebec is still part of Canada.

    I don’t know enough about to UK politics to say whether A. C. Osborn is correct when he claims that the English would vote for Scottish Independence, but there was a time when many Canadians living outside Quebec would have been happy to see Quebec go.

    The referendum turned out to be a vote on social depravation …

    Freudian slip? 😉

  5. Dave Rutledge says:

    Hi Euan,

    Thank you for the details.

    “I’m unsure if the Tories ever apologised to the Scottish People for using them as tax guinea pigs. If not, now would be a good time to recognise the magnitude of that mistake and to try and put things right.”

    New taxes can be a shock to people who have gotten used to other people paying their bills for them.

    Margaret Thatcher is dead, right?


  6. Graeme Simpson says:

    Fascinating background, Euan, thanks. But I note that the SNP got less than 5% of the vote (compared with 7.9% for the Lib Dems and 12.6% for UKIP) and I think (we) Scots are only 10% or so of the UK population. So what seems overwhelmingly important to those living in Scotland probably looks quite different to the rest of the country and, presumably, the rest of the world.

  7. Phil Chapman says:

    Euan, what do you think of the proposal to reorganize the UK as a federation of sovereign entities (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), with a Federal Government with carefully and specifically limited powers, as in the US?

    • Unless I’m sorely mistaken Scotland already has most of the powers enjoyed by a US state. About the only thing a US state has that Scotland doesn’t is an army, but US National Guard units are under the control of the state they are based in only until the federal government needs them.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Phil, this is exactly the proposal that I believe is on the table. But it would not include the whole of England as one of the federal states. Rather England would comprise a number of regions and metropolitan districts.

      Scotland already has its own parliament with quite extensive powers. Wales and N Ireland have assemblies with lesser powers. N Ireland has its set of substantial historic issues that need to be managed with care.

      AC Osborne makes the point that there are just as many socially deprived areas in England which is true. It is just that for now they do not have an independence movement to attach themselves to.

      The SNP are now moving for a settlement called “Devo Max” where basically all powers are transferred to Holyrood bar foreign policy and defence. But then the SNP also want the Trident submarines moved out of Scottish waters. To be honest I have been persuaded by the argument that the UK no longer needs Trident. And we have no need for two “Nimitz class” carriers. We can no longer afford this. And we have no obvious enemy against which to deploy such weapons.

      We do have a large, ageing, unproductive population consuming an ever-larger share of national resources. And we potentially have a formidable enemy at the gate spread from Afghanistan to Nigeria.

  8. Graeme No.3 says:


    The SNP will continue to push for independence until reality intervenes. They either believe that they can continue getting money from the UK or that the EU will rush to spend money on them.

    The loss of 50% of wind energy might be a good thing as it might cause the Government to realise the disaster ahead, and change course.
    The loss of hydroelectricity might seem critical but aren’t you forgetting Dinorwig? With less dependence on wind and solar there will be less need for quick generation – besides England has 4000 diesel units.

    There remains the oil and gas supply. Ignoring frakking for the moment, perhaps UK(minus) should encourage the Orkneys and Shetlands to secede from Scotland? I note from the map that the tide of SNP didn’t reach their shores.

    Of course this would require a level of forward thinking not shown so far by the Conservatives.

  9. JerryC says:

    Full fiscal autonomy sounds intriguing. Let the Scots tax and spend as they wish, on their own schilling.

  10. Euan Mearns says:

    Empire as a zero sum game

    Reading some of the comments above it is likely fair to say that the man on the street in England doesn’t give a toss about Scotland and understandably so. Equally fair to say that the current arrangement suits the majority of Scots who want The Union to survive. I put the bit about energy in there since I prefer posts to at least be themed on energy or climate change. And it is true that it would become impossible for England to meet Conservative manifesto commitments on energy without Scotland. Whether that matters or not is another issue.

    From S of the border, the importance of The Union is political;

    1) bigger = more GDP = more power = more influence
    2) Union = peace
    3) continuity and stability


  11. Ed says:

    I have really enjoyed reading the article and the comments. May I add to the mix three points.

    Firstly; Labour has stated that they will move to the centre ground of politics i.e. rightwards. I would guess this would make Labour (SNP’s main rival) less popular with Scottish voters, not more.

    Secondly; if the UK votes to leave the EU, however unlikely this may be, all hell gets let loose in Scotland who are very pro Europe.

    Thirdly; IF Scotland is allowed to pursue an independent energy policy AND they go down the 100%renewable energy route, could this undermine and possibly threaten the viability of the Conservatives’ energy policy. (Maybe a future article to be had here, analysing this question)

  12. Nial says:

    “Scotland has always been a socialist country and the SNP delivers socialist policies.”

    Euan, the SNP _say_ they deliver socialist policies but if you look at their record they do anything but.

    £1Billion meant to target poverty was re-directed to freezing council-tax which dis-proportionately favours those better off.

    Free university education was paid for with the closure of 120,000 further education college places. We have also got fewer students from poor backgrounds at university than south of the border.

    The promise to reduce P1-P3 class sizes down to 18 was abandoned, there are 4000 fewer teachers in the state system than in 2010.

    In an interview with Andrew Neil, John Swiney was unable to come up with _one_ policy that redistributed wealth to the poor.

    The IFS said their anti-austerity measures would result in longer, deeper cuts than Labour were proposing.

    _Nobody_ is holding them to account

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Nial, thanks for keeping me right. Should have read:

      “Scotland has always been a socialist country and the SNP offers socialist policies.”

      I / my family have personally benefited from free prescriptions and the abolition of tuition fees – as you point out, not exactly targeting the alleviation of poverty. The trouble with Scottish lower education is that our cities are compartmentalised into Council and Private segments. Go to school in a Council dominated area and you will unlikely get a good school education. They need to bring back a merit based system so that bright kids from deprived areas can get to university. That’s probably one of the key things they could do to break the cycle of multi-generational poverty.

      But the university system also needs to be overhauled. FAR TOO MANY graduates, saddled with debt chasing too few jobs and a huge mis match between graduate and job profiles. They need to rebuild vocational education – from what you say that went backwards under SNP.

      But you’re right, no one is holding the SNP to account. We just had an election and I don’t really know what the key policies were of the main parties. Nothing bold and distinctive, just mush.

      • Nial says:

        > Nial, thanks for keeping me right. Should have read:

        > “Scotland has always been a socialist country and the SNP offers
        > socialist policies.

        Cheeky sod!


        I should also highlight that education and health spending increased more ‘down south’ under the evil Tories than it has under the SNP, our educational perfomance has dropped too.

        “They need to bring back a merit based system so that bright kids from deprived areas can get to university”

        My grandad was a metal turner in Harland and Wolff’s in Belfast. My dad passed the 11 plus, got to grammar school and ended up head of a university department. An good illustration of merit based education being a useful path for social mobility.

        We too could afford prescriton charges and university fees, I wouldn’t mind paying them if they were put to good use.

        I agree about the percentages being pushed to university. I believe that in the early days of Blair’s government someone looked at the outcomes of those who went to university in the 50’s, ie academically the top 5%, then decided that 50% was a good target.


        • Euan Mearns says:

          Nial, I wasn’t intending to be cheeky, but genuinely appreciative of your wider knowledge 🙂

          I’d be interested to know if you are in general agreement with my summary analysis? There is no upsurge in support for SNP or independence. But with votes split 3 ways, 50% of the vote gets you a stonking majority everywhere.

  13. Ed says:

    I’ve seen this show before.

    Quebec has been electing separatist provincial governments, sending separatist members to Parliament Hill, and then defeating referenda, for 50 years now. The end result of this has been to successfully play Ottawa for money and concessions, without actually separating. It’s worked.

    I believe Scotland is playing the same game; I believe that the Scots are just as canny.

    Rene Levesque died Canadian. Alex Salmond will die British.

    Don’t panic.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Hi Ed, please note we have another commenter called Ed 😉 Its true that the SNP play Westminster for cash. I’m Scottish living in Scotland and I don’t really approve. It sets tension between the two countries. Much better we pull our own weight.

  14. DSV says:

    Hi Euan
    Good analysis, its a much more complex game as to where we(As a union, politically, and energy wise) are at as I’m know you agree and one that will continue to generate volumes.
    I was in the UK during the “poll tax” a fairer system by far for everyone but unfortunately the government caved in and didn’t carry it through, as we see today a vocal minority and rabble rousers managed to terrorise them. We as the public and as a society hadn’t at that time caught on to the Alinsky techniques being then being taught in the “weekend schools for union shop stewards”.
    As to apologising for the poll tax, why? It will be of no use what so ever, and its still a fair taxation system.
    The Scots, and I mean no disrespect what so ever, its the same in England, but there are those that are fodder and those that are not, and those that are not as I’m sure you are aware a vast majority now live in the huge expat community, and that is where any conservative vote lays and like the expat English, they are not in any hurry to return to a socialist nirvana.
    Politic’s, and this is the bit the media are culpable about, in-fact the bit most Scots are only too willing to turn a blind eye to, the socialist elite, its the Nationalist Socialism of Scotland, reading the background of the 1920 − 1930s social history of Germany, isn’t the SNP doing exactly the same, the parallels are strikingly similar with the English being the bogey-man, its an historical grievance easy to exploit and the SNP do and have done it consistently when you witness first hand the open hostility to the English both in the workplace and in certain parts of urban Scotland that background abuse is tangible and is only a step away from a kristalnach moment, how often is it common parlance in Scotland for the comment go home and take your business with you we don’t need the Sassanachs? Perhaps not so much in Aberdeen but I’d be amazed if you have never come across it.
    Energy wise I think some of the other commentators have pretty much nailed it, except that why the hell shouldn’t we give Shetland back to the Danes/Norwegians, same with Orkney, I’ve said it many times before but originally they where not any part of Scotland, and if the good folks there want to return then they should have the right to self determine in the same way that the mainland of Scotland does.
    Finally and something I had a long talk to my niece about (she being a young radical Scottish Nationalist) I think they completely miss just how much the English resentment of the Scots has built, especially over the years since the poll tax, the Barnet Formula and the open displays of bigotry coming from north of the border, if the English politicians right now are generous to a fault of bribery and are still abused they may very well not like the results of a more “conservative approach to the “ Lancing of the Scotland boil”.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I don’t think the poll tax was fair. The principle that everyone should pay was fair enough but not the flat rate. What we got in its place – the Council tax works fine although it has been an enormous mistake to not continually adjust the bands to keep pace with property inflation. Hence they are now talking about a mansion tax. Had it been properly administered from the start, Council tax could have muted property inflation which lies at the heart of many of our woes today. Not enough tax revenues. Unaffordable property. An economic singularity.

      Regrading resentment, all I know is that among my socialist / nationalist leaning friends – and I have quite a few / surprisingly many – the poll tax remains a festering sore. And it actually put paid to Thatcher.

      • DSV says:

        I’ll have to disagree with you on that one Euan, about flat rate not being fair. When the services supplied are equal for all to use why should the rate you pay for those services be “adjusted” for anything?
        We would i hope be up in arms if the same applied for groceries or petrol at the station, if the principle of council tax applied to everything imagine getting on a train and being asked to pay differently depending on your perceived “wealth”. It just doesn’t make any logical sense, but then I’m also of the ilk that thinks a flat rate of tax is also fair.
        If those that used the system realised the cost you may reason that it would moderate their zeal for frivolous use. If the people genuinely didn’t like the expense then they may care to elect councils inclined to rethink the expense and curb some of the more outlandish costs. Its the old Adams money scenario, its not their money they don’t have to care how they spend it.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          imagine getting on a train and being asked to pay differently depending on your perceived “wealth”.

          Happens all over the world all the time.

          If those that used the system realised the cost you may reason that it would moderate their zeal for frivolous use.

          I agree that zeal for frivolous use needs to be moderated, but not on the ability to pay.

        • Nial says:

          “When the services supplied are equal for all to use why should the rate you pay for those services be “adjusted” for anything?”

          I agree with you DSV, especially when those with more money are less likely to use the services that all are paying for.

          I believe that when the poll tax was being introduced Scotland was about to go through en expensive rate review process, Thatcher/the government were convinced to introduce it first in Scotland to avoid this expense the year before rates were going to be dropped.

          This was conveniently ignored by those who hated her and it was used as a focal point of protest that spread UK wide.

  15. roger in florida says:

    As A C Osborn says; England’s energy deficit could be fixed very quickly.
    It surprises me that the referendum result is regarded as a decisive victory for the Union, I would say the opposite, 44% voting to dissolve the Union means it is finished, time to split and face the truth; Scotland and England are different countries with fundamentally different attitudes.
    Ms Sturgeon would say that wouldn’t she? But I would bet that she actually believes that the goal of Scottish independence is a lot closer now.
    Your comment about the “Nimitz class aircraft carriers” is hugely amusing. Without arrester gear, nuclear propulsion or launch catapults these two white elephants are closer to garbage scows than to USS Nimitz, and with the increasing likelihood that the F-35 will be cancelled due to technical problems and obsolescence there won’t even be an aircraft that can fly off them! They have served their purpose anyway, which was to keep thousands of labor supporting Clydeside shipyard workers employed for a few decades at pay rates vastly higher than possible in a competitive shipbuilding environment, how did that work out again?
    You have commented very eruditely on “peak oil” and what that phrase actually means. I would guess that the oil deposits that you mention may never be exploited. If oil goes to $150 a barrel then it will become imperative to develop alternate energy sources, the “Thorium Alliance” has some very interesting ideas.

  16. TinyCO2 says:

    Does anyone know how the UK oil revenue breaks down? I see totals but I’m not sure what is due at the point it is extracted, what is due where the company that extracts it is registered and what is due at refinery and what at the pump.

    One thing struck me at looking at the UK Labour v Conservative was the concentration of left wing support in cities, including London. I have no doubt that that reflects deprivation to a degree but per capita, cities get far more money than everywhere else. When Scotland turns it’s ire on the English, they’re thinking of wealthy Londoners and not the poor of Burnley or Mold where their oil tax money was also spent.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I’m not sure the cities do get more per capita. The map clearly shows that the descendants of coal miners influence the way folks vote in England and wales 😉 Or does it?

      • As anyone who has studied the background of MPs will know, the UK establishment is overwhelmingly populated by Oxbridge taught graduates.

        You’ll notice that there are (almost) no coal fields South of the Oxbridge line. And so the the education the establish elite/scum receive is one that has no understanding of heavy industry.

        Indeed, if you understand the development of the industrial revolution, you will know the wealth created in the coal-fields was deeply resented by those south of the Oxbridge line and given the hatred expressed all these years later to heavy industry and those in the North – it appears the south never forgave the uncouth northerners.

  17. For interest, I’ve got an entirely different slant on my own blog:

    Scottish Sceptic: Scotland No Pretty Woman

    Reading this article, this is how I responded on my own blog:-

    I remember when I first read opinion polls pointing to a large number of SNP MPs – my thoughts were “that’s surprising” and then “it will be a reaction to the referendum” and I really didn’t see it as a big deal “serves them right” might also have crossed my mind.

    The idea in that blog that it is somehow linked to the Iraq war is bizarre. Firstly the timing doesn’t fit because the effect would have happened long ago and secondly, I too was pretty annoyed with Blair, but it’s not something I think about any longer.

    The best explanation I heard was from someone who said “the parties down south weren’t interested in the referendum until they thought they were going to lose the vote. Then they all turned up in droves, made all kinds of knee jerk promises – and then went home again after which the press and politicians went back to their old ways of ignoring Scotland.

    On the one hand, the SNP campaign enthused a lot of people into action who were mild SNP voters. On the other hand, the sudden collapse of interest in Scotland after the campaign upset a lot of those who voted no.

    What I think upset most people is the way the English politicians looked as if they couldn’t care (probably intending to suggest that England is doing Scotland a favour by allowing us in the Union). Then they totally switched like a lover on heat who wanted one thing – then it was wang bang thank you mam and they left having screwed us with some vague promises to “call sometime”.

    In other words, I can’t see any policy driving this vote. Instead what I see is that having given Scotland the kind of media coverage that is normally exclusively reserved for those “south of the Oxbridge line” – the return to the usual appalling lack of media coverage or political interest in Scotland afterwards was all the bigger let down.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I had a look at your post on a “New Party”. This is coming up a lot recently. I’ve heard from two sources the need for a “Unionist Party”. I have voted every way in the last 20 years. Sometimes based on personality and competence of candidate, sometimes tactical. Never for a party I actually like. This time I stood in the polling station pondering the candidates for 10 minutes, only two of whom I knew. No one really tried to get my vote.

  18. manicbeancounter says:

    You seem to have provided an interesting analysis, but one that I believe is largely wrong.
    – The poll tax was introduced in Britain as a whole, not just in Scotland. If those in Council Housing were brought into the tax net, it meant that those in a privileged position (as against those in non-social housing on similar incomes) lost that privilege. The Poll tax was unfair as it had just two rates (20% for those on benefits), but cleared up another quirk. It also meant that those in older housing lost out (particularly in the late Victorian terraced) whilst those in newer housing gained. In such a change the losers protest far than the gainers celebrate.
    – The Independence Referendum Campaign was accompanied by promises of more powers to the Scottish Assembly, including tax raising powers. It was a vote between full independence and greater autonomy. It showed that a part of the UK with 8% of the population could have a disproportionate amount of influence by voting as a block.
    – The Labour Campaign was based on the masses winning a little bit from the minority, whether the rich (mansion tax, higher top-rate income tax) or big business (energy price freeze, extra tax on tobacco company profits). It was about quite marginal differences to the masses.
    – The polls showed that a strong showing for the SNP would see them in coalition. Holding the balance of power would mean the opposite of soaking the rich. Small transfers from the far more numerous English could make big gains. It is old-fashioned pork-barrel politics.
    – The conclusion, is that the SNP are now in a bind. If they succeed in in bringing home the pork they will create a dependency culture, like the poorer English cities such as Liverpool and Newcastle. If they win more powers, but are propped up by the greater transfers, then the economic and political case for independence will be undermined.

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