Well here we are again on the day of a UK General Election.
So much has changed, but so much stays the same.
One of the things that has marked out this campaign, is the coverage that Scotland has been getting. The BBC has been showing Reporting North Britain (known by the BBC as Reporting Scotland), and North Britain 2015 with Sarah Smith (known by the BBC as Scotland 2015) on the BBC Parliament channel so it has been available to everyone in the UK. No other BBC ‘local’ news programme or political programme is shown on this channel on a daily basis. Nicola Sturgeon has been getting coverage and the ability to state the SNPs case outside Scotland during UK wide news and leaders debates.
Nobody can deny that the SNP’s position in the polls has not considerably raised Scotland’s profile.
What has stayed the same is the British Establishment’s reaction to the SNP. However now it looks as though the SNP and therefore Scotland might actually have the possibility of getting something out of a UK General Election, the barbs have been getting somewhat stronger although have not been to the standard we have come to expect after the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign in the months and years leading up to September 2014.
There were murmurs of #ProjectFear2 but when a twitter storm started from disgruntled Yes supporters this very quickly seemed to peter out , although it may be resurrected at the polling stations by Labour representatives mirroring what occurred at the polling stations at the Independence Referendum.
We then had the #biggestcrisissincetheabdication from Theresa May the UK Home Secretary. True she was referring to a constitutional crisis stating that English voters would question the legitimacy of a UK Government where the SNP held sway over taxation and spending powers that would not affect their own country. She was obviously forgetting the fact that Scotland too is part of the UK (quite a common problem for those in Westminster, even for many of those elected from Scottish constituencies once they are in the Westminster bubble), the SNP are a UK political party legitimately standing for election to the UK parliament to represent Scotland, and that Scotland had to put up the same thing in the opposite direction for just under 300 years up to the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament in 1999. After all when Scotland had 72 seats to England’s 550 there was not a great deal Scotland could do about anything as it didn’t really matter how it voted. Scotland’s views only ever mattered when they coincided with what England wanted, and that remains largely the case since 1999 in matters reserved to Westminster.
This was quickly followed by #toysootthepram Milliband, who was so harassed by the ‘impartial’ UK media, indicated that he wouldn’t even talk to the SNP if they won lots of Westminster seats in the House of Commons inferring strongly that he would therefore prefer a Tory Government rather than a left wing coalition if this coalition required the SNP to function. This indicated a lack of political maturity on his part (hence the ‘toys oot the pram’ line), but also part of the arrogance and the sense of entitlement that has come to be associated with Labour in Scotland i.e. they don’t care how people voted as everyone is going to have what Labour wants.
According to the opinion polls Scotland could be on the cusp of something historic. I can’t say as I am surprised given the infamous vow which promised the maxiest devolution but ended up a mish mash which will be a nightmare to administer and gives Scotland complete control of road signs but very little else. Everything else seems to be qualified by the requirement for a Scottish decision to be approved by Westminster which largely defeats the point unless I am missing something.
The opinion polls have been showing the SNP polling amazing numbers since late 2014 and I remain in a state of disbelief over them. If the SNP win anything above 11 seats then the result will be historic (NB: When these 11 seats were achieved in November 1974 Scotland had 72 Westminster seats). If the party gets more than 30 as looks likely then Scotland is much less likely to be ignored in future as it gives the SNP real clout. If the SNP win over 50 seats out of the possible 59 Scottish seats then I may need to call an ambulance for the shock. I have wanted the SNP to get a majority of seats in Scotland since 1978, and I honestly thought I would never be alive to see the day. However if I end up in hospital I don’t think I shall get seen very quickly because of the queue of ousted Labour MPs in front of me. If anyone reading this knows me and wonders where I am on Friday when I am not contactable I shall send you my ward number in due course.
However Scotland’s position even if the unlikely event of the SNP gaining 59 out of the available 59 seats was to actually occur then it needs to be remembered that although an amazing political statement will have been made, because Scotland remains part of the UK this will still only be a small part of the 650 seats in the House of Commons in Westminster. This is the actuality of Scotland’s position in the UK, and nobody in Scotland should forget it. It is only the fact that both major UK parties are virtually neck and neck in the rest of the UK that Scotland can have clout on this occasion. Onwards and upwards.