Sunday, April 25, 2010

What would a Lib Dem Government mean for Scottish independence?

Naturally the focus of Republicans these last few weeks of the British election has been the building of strength in the 6 counties in order to further the strategy of removing the last part of Ireland from the union and building a new Ireland.

Only 13 miles east the same project is being pursued in Scotland by the Scottish National Party.

The enjoyable SNP Tactical Voting blog is providing excellent focus on the Scottish elections which have so frequently been lost in the London-centric view of the BBC. Amongst some excellent reviews of the various constituencies and the prospects of SNP candidates in their quest for independence is a consideration of what the strategic implications for Scotland might be if the man of the moment in Britain, Nick Clegg, wins big. A Liberal Democrat victory may actually weaken the Scottish pursuit of independence while perversely as noted in the British Times today a Tory victory may aid it.

However that being said it could be that a Liberal Democrat move to link voting strength to seats won would aid the Scottish nationalists who under such a scheme would presumably come close to tripling their no. of seats.

What ever the results in Scotland, Wales or England our project will continue to build its own momentum independent of that but its nice to know that while we work to end the union here we have friends and allies in the Scottish and Welsh govt. doing the same and helping create a context where London more and more readily focuses on itself rather than other countries.

Tapadh leat SNP Tactical Voting for the following consideration of the Liberal Democrat phenomenon:

"So what would a Lib Dem Government mean for Scotland, whether in its own right or with Labour as the minor partner? And in particular, what effect would this rug-pull from under the SNP’s feet mean for independence?

We could, overnight, move towards a Britain that adopted an aggressively pro-Europe stance, a Britain that had sensible policies on civil liberties, a Britain that was intent on scrapping Trident and a Britain that was significantly more serious than has hitherto been on tackling climate change? I know I should stop myself but it’s so easy to get swept up in the tantalising prospect of the next Government not being Tory or Labour. Clegg may not be the political equivalent of Jedward after all but the full Gary Barlow, the long-haul Lionel Ritchie. He could be the everlasting Diana Ross! Imagine that?

I could honestly see support for independence sink to single figures in such circumstances. It would certainly make Alex Salmond’s job significantly harder than it would have been had he been going up against the hated Tories at Westminster. How can you fight against the feel-good political result of the century?

I could even see Alex Salmond opting to retire in the face of this altered terrain. Fight youth with youth and leave Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon to pick up the reins and devise a new strategy to heave independence forwards. Let’s be honest, spitting out ‘Lib Dem cuts’ has even less of an impact than the Tory or Labour variety.

Then again, there is a persuasive theory out there that a Lib Dem/Labour coalition may well be the perfect result for Nationalists in Scotland. Five years of cuts, however necessary they may be, will be painful and there is a chance that Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories will be seen as three cheeks of the same bahookey, however biologically improbable that may seem. Were the fairy dust of Lib Dems in Government to evaporate quickly, Scotland may take a new look at independence and see it as an attractive option, even through a process of elimination. The Tory years were painful and the Labour years were wasteful, perhaps a separate Scotland really is the bright new dawn that we’re all crying out for.

That said, if the reasons for Scotland being independent are so that we don’t get taken into illegal wars, so that we don’t gorge on nuclear power, so that we aren’t saddled with nuclear weapons and so that we can get involved with the EU more, those arguments will surely be weakened by a Liberal Democrat Government that shares those views. You would have to search pretty hard for a clear dividing line between an independent Scotland and a Clegg-governed UK.

So, if the unthinkable happens and Nick Clegg is carried over the line on a wave of gregarious goodwill and British bonhomie, there is a real risk (if you choose to see it that way) that Scotland will sink into the warm fuzz of a Liberal Democrat United Kingdom and not look back."

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