A week on from the General Election and the dust is still settling on an incredible and unbelievable result for the UK as a whole and Scotland in particular. During the Scottish Independence Referendum one of the favourite gripes of the Yes campaign was that Scotland doesn’t get its voice heard in UK General Elections. Not true, of course, but a lot of people bought it.
Well, this time Scotland very much did have its voice heard. Unfortunately it was the voice of an aggressive drunk in a family restaurant, at lunchtime, trying to nick everyone’s chips. Little old ladies from Kent implored the waiter to make the bad person go away. A frightened young girl from Gloucester looking on in horror, asked ‘What is it Mommy? What IS it?!’
Sturgeon’s team, which I perhaps somewhat uncharitably described on Twitter as ’56 Scottish crypto-fascists’, subsequently rocked up in Westminster on Monday. Given that historically nothing good has ever come from nationalism, I tend to buy the line that nationalists of any description should be seen as guilty until proven innocent. Sturgeon and her pals still have a lot of work to do to convince me of their credentials.
It followed a bizarre campaign in Scotland, filled with contradictions, that appears to have resonated with many voters more for reasons of identity than rationality. At times it felt that we were through the looking glass. Of course it helped the SNP that their main opponent, Scottish Labour, was led by an increasingly demented Jim Murphy. Even so, getting 56 out of 59 seats was beyond their wildest expectations.
Clearly the SNP voters were mainly from the 45% who voted Yes in the referendum, although I have found one or two people claiming to be socialists but not nationalists and voting SNP. To me that’s rather like claiming that you don’t care about the environment but like what Natalie Bennett said about re-nationalising the railways so you’re going to vote Green. It’s absurd.
The reality is that most SNP voters were nationalists still sulking about losing the independence vote and hoping to keep the momentum going for another referendum. What you might call ‘pro-neverendum’ nationalists. Of course, when I suggested this the response I got was a Snippy one. They called me ‘patronising’, a favourite word of Yes campaigners, and attempted to rationalise their decision.
Many claimed that their aim was to ‘get rid of the Tories’. But what they were doing was clearly self-defeating if that was the main goal. Supporting the SNP instead of Labour made it more likely that the Tories would be the largest single party. It also scared many voters in England away from Labour. Quite reasonably they didn’t want a junior coalition partner in government whose main aim is to wreck the UK.
Another obvious contradiction was the attitude of the SNP towards Labour. The SNP and their supporters attacked Scottish Labour with everything they had. If they could have found a way to blame Labour for Gary MacAllister’s missed penalty against England in Euro 96 they would have done. But at the same time they wanted the English to vote Labour so that they could form a Coalition with them!
English voters must have wondered why the hell they should vote for a Labour Party that even the Scottish were slagging off at every opportunity. But it was worse than that. Not only did the SNP want the English to vote for a party that they claimed to be worthless but also they were saying, quite openly, that they would exact a heavy price for Scotland for their support in government! English voters were right to be scared.
On a final note, one thing that did amuse was the way that the SNP couldn’t help but tell everyone at length how great they are and what their cunning plan was thus allowing someone to stop them. It’s the kind of thing that you would expect from an ego-maniacal comic book super-villain. At one point I thought Nicola Sturgeon might have a sudden moment of self-awareness and say ‘You sly dog, you got me monologuing!’