With the truly unequivocal opinion of the Scottish people being voiced last week in the General Election the business of Real Politik begins at Westminster.
The SNP took 56 out of 59 seats, (yes you already know this but we just like hearing it!). That’s means 94.9% of MPs sitting in Westminster from Scotland are SNP MP’s.
1.6% are Lib Dem
1.6% are Labour
1.6% are Tory
One representative each.
No less than 50% of the Scottish electorate who turned out to vote, voted SNP. Numbers like this are unheard of. Of all votes cast for Pro Independence parties the total was 50.6%. Lets not forget that this excludes the 16 and 17 year old age group who voted in the referendum.
If SNP had won Scotland like this 20 years ago, it would have been an acceptance of a vote for Independence by the criteria at the time.
David Cameron is well on with forming his Cabinet and has given sole Scottish Tory the Sec. of State for Scotland job to lone Tory David Mundell.
As third largest party in Westminster, the SNP and it’s members stand to benefit by the allocation of something known as Short Money. By my back of a sweetie wrapper calculations SNP will get something like £934,500 for the seats held plus a further £240,000 for the votes polled in their favour, per annum. No small change that the party will use I am sure to provide effective support to the 56 strong team of MPs sent to London.
In addition as third largest party the SNP will be able to send MP’s to sit on Select Committee’s and have some influence on legislation passing through the committee stages of Parliament. They will chair at least two select committees one of which is likely to be the Scottish Affairs select committee.
However the irony remains that as third party SNP only get two questions at Scottish Questions where Labour as HM official opposition get more with their one seat! 1.6% representation.
David Cameron, could if he chooses opt to ignore Scotland entirely! He gains no electoral advantage playing to a Scottish populous who by and large don’t place their X by his parties name, he wins no meaningful number of votes here in the current First Past the Post system.
However to do so would be very dangerous territory as one country of the union would in effect be sidelined merely strengthening the SNP hand and likelihood of another Independence referendum rather sooner than later. On the other hand in recognising that the electorate democratically voted for something other than more of the same from a Tory led government he may be forced to give more concessions. A wholesale root and branch review of the Smith Commission proposals has already been called for by no lesser voices than Alastair Darling ( remember him- he led the Better Together campaign then disappeared) and Jack McConnell former Labour Scottish First Minister. If the election result tells the UK government anything, it’s that Smith did not go anywhere near far enough for the Scottish electorate.
More concessions are likely to play badly with more anti-Scottish right wing members of the Govt and Govt Back Benches, but provide the SNP with justification that only by having voted SNP did Scotland get the powers we were promised. But then in a year or so will come the EU referendum. The Tory party is riven by divisions on the EU and the English electorate seems eager to head for the exit door. Big business also has its finger poised over the BRexit ( British Exit) button, with HSBC already making threatening noises, the irony doesn’t escape us that the same forces that threatened Scotland during the referendum now threaten David Cameron with the EU exit hanging over him.
Big business, some of whom are the very sponsors of the Conservative Party may be unable to convince a sceptical electorate south of the Border and might need, along with Tory Party leader Cameron who is by and large wishing to remain in the EU, the support of a pro Europe group like the SNP and leader Nicola Sturgeon on their side. If a rUK enforced EU exit forced a second referendum ( on the assumption that Scotland opted to remain in the EU) would it be fatuous to suggest the bailing out businesses from rUK might bail in to an Independent but EU member Scotland?
Real Politik indeed.
The fat lady isn’t singing yet….. not by a long way.
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