Within the next five years, the population of Scotland can expect a referendum on independence. The Scottish National Party (SNP) have gained a majority in the Scottish Parliament, and their primary aim is an independent Scotland.
It is interesting to look back over the past twelve years or so to
follow the trail of consequences that has led to the current juncture. A
referendum on devolution in 1999 led to the re-establishment of the
Scottish Parliament. The voting system for the Parliament had been
designed so that no party could be expected to gain an overall majority.
In 2007, the SNP came to power following an election which was so
poorly conducted that 110,000 Scots were effectively disenfranchised.
This was the result of a badly designed ballot form, which people
couldn’t make head nor tail of. It lead to a 10% rate in spoiled ballot
papers, a percentage that normally runs at around 0.1%. In my opinion,
that election should have been re-run. However, the result stood.
In 2010, the UK general election was a hung parliament, with no one
party in overall control. However, in the run-up to the election, party
leaders had engaged in three prime-ministerial debates. The participants
included the leaders of Labour, Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats. The latter party went on to lose seats at the polls, but
ended up being kingmakers, projected to a higher status by the TV
debates. The Lib Dems chose to get into bed with the Conservatives.
This coalition is proving impopular, with the junior partners (the
Lib Dems) taking the rap for the unpopular cuts in public services. This
was reflected in last week’s poll in Scotland, where the Lib Dem voters
defected en-masse to the SNP; Labour and the Conservatives also lost,
again to the SNP - leaving the latter with a majority of 4 in the
Whilst I am in favour of further devolved powers to the Scottish
Parliament, I am against full independence. I am even more against
independence in view of the adversarial nature of the SNP’s stance
I will go so far as to point to several instances in recent decades,
where bringing up grievances from the past (the Battle of the Boyne
(1689) in Ireland, and the Battle of Kosovo (1389) in Yugoslavia) has
had catastrophic consequences. I would hate to see the Battle of
Culloden having similar consequences.
It is highly unusual for this blogger to dabble in politics, but this issue is too important to ignore.