Well, I didn’t do much writing during the GE, nevertheless I can express my limited delight at the result. I say “limited” for two reasons. Firstly, because we didn’t win all the seats north of Tweed and Solway, however this is a very minor issue. Secondly, because the Tories still managed to secure a majority through English constituency wins; and for me, that’s a biggie.
The problem is that it’s pretty much always been that way. In this Union, Scotland is irrelevant. That’s a major issue. We are politically irrelevant anyway. The S.E. of England still needs our resources, human and environmental, and these are the real reasons they fought against our Independence campaign so hard, that and maintaining their perceived prestige.
What we did do in GE 2015, was put the wind royally up London’s establishment; arguably our 45 created more panic there than Charlie did with his effort in ’45, especially as our 45% accumulated a few more voters to give Westminster not just 55 this time (percent) but 56 (MPs). Moreover we all know but for Union Media lies, half truth and innuendo it would have been 59.
Scotland’s problem is that 59 still wouldn’t have mattered.
By the time of the GE, not much we could have done would have mattered, mostly because the SNP has a policy of not fighting ‘non-Scottish’ seats.
Subsequently, as long as Scotland is stuck with 59 MPs and EVEL looks to be on the cards, it would appear we’re going to be on the wrong end of the stick, unless we get exceptionally fortunate and the English Electorate chooses to gift us the balance of power, nothing is going to happen to change anything. Nothing will change especially because the English Electorate have clearly just stated, they’d rather suffer a bad dose of Tory medicine, they’d even be happy to give up their human rights, rather than see Scots hold power at Westminster.
We might be able, under current SNP candidacy policies, to legitimately contest Berwick upon Tweed and environs, giving us a potential of 60 MPs speaking in support of Scotland’s interests.
However, that will still not be much of a concern the Establishment.
No, what is required is a long term solution, and it needs to embrace an English component. No matter how you address the issue, the SNP or any progressive force in these Islands needs English MPs. They just don’t need them in the party. However, if they were closely tied to the SNP as a voting bloc on key policies – wouldn’t that be interesting.
For instance, what if the SNP offered to assist ‘Independent’ candidates in England? What if they appealed to potential candidates willing to subject themselves to the SNP vetting process and promise to support an independent voting bloc within Westminster? That scenario holds almost limitless potential. The offer for the next GE could be made immediately after a motion and approval at the next SNP conference. This would be a motion where the party would pledge to support English folks standing as independent candidates, still with their particular region’s interests and requirements foremost, but who are willing to put themselves forwards to become part of a ‘progressive alliance’ at Westminster’s next Election.
They’d start the process now; perhaps only going so far south as Scotch Corner. Additionally the Welsh Nationalist’s could do the same, targeting perhaps an alliance with the fifty closest constituencies to Wales. The promise made, the overriding policy, not to do much at first (after all, Labour, Tory and Lib’s have made such a mess these last fifty years) until a good look is had at the books, well, there’s nothing that anyone can really guarantee. That’s an easy sell. Implementing 5 years of progressive social justice, usually sells well also. Dump WMD and increase the regular forces, probably a winner. Open government, get points there too.
Just imagine the consternation within the establishment. It’d start immediately too. They absolutely don’t want the apple-cart upset any more than it has been. Especially if those English prospective members promise constitutional upheaval, like voting for abolishing the lords in favour of a proportionally representative senate. Oh my?
Imagine the political power that would suddenly and in the short term come the way of the SNP and Plaid.
We’d just have created one exceptionally big stick, and we’d be using it to poke a really large hornet’s nest that’s just about settling down to the fact it’s got 56 cans of blue and white bug repellent inside its belly. The problem is, those 56 can only give the hive a mild indigestion, make the insects scurry a bit more. We have to find a nuclear option to blow the two party system out of the water in order to bring power back to the peripheries. Our folk said ‘No’ on September 18th, but in view of how many wanted to say ‘Yes’ to Nicola and the SNP on May 7th and right across the UK as well, I’d bet we could manage it.
So – keep the Union for 2020 (unless other events bypass that), and extend the hand of Friendship to English Independents. Create a progressive alliance – or three, one for the North East, one for the North West, one for the Midland’s. We might not hold a majority, but we’ll potentially ensure that nobody else does either, and nothing scares the establishment more than that, for without a majority party, they’ll probably have to listen to us.
In the name of friendship, and true neighborliness, isn’t it beyond time that we helped our friends across the border, especially if we could help ourselves by doing that?