Friday, 4 May 2007

Another 4 years of Labour-LibDems decline?

Well the first results are coming in and it does not look good for Scotland.
Labour are holding onto their seats in their heartlands in the west of Scotland. The SNP swing predicted in the polls has not materialised and it is now unlikely that the SNP will be the biggest party.

This is disappointing but it shows what a complex country Scotland is. Despite being in power for over three decades in the Strathclyde area, their policies unable to halt the economic and social decline of this area, Labour keeps getting elected. Well, that’s democracy for you.

In any case, and as I wrote in my previous post, the break-up of the United Kingdom is inevitable. The minute we have a Tory administration in Westminster and a Labour-LibDem or minority SNP administration in Edinburgh, the Scottish Labour party will join the pro-independence camp. For Scottish Labour, it is not about Scotland or even the UK, it is about self-preservation.

The time will come when Scotland will join the rest of the world in its own terms.

The danger, witnessing the results today, is that we could end up in a few years with an independent Scotland, or even a federal Scotland, with a perpetual Labour government. Given the state of Glasgow and Strathclyde after three decades of Labour rule, sometimes I have doubts myself about the best way to go.

People in Strathclyde will vote for a monkey if it wore a Labour rosette. Such is the state of social and emotional dependence from the poorest and unhealthiest communities in Scotland towards the very people that are keeping them in such a condition.

It will take more than a confident and positive campaign for the SNP to make inroads in these areas. I read an article in The Times a few days ago along the lines of “things have to get worse before they get any better”, referring to the French presidential elections. Perhaps that applies to Scotland: we need to be kept in economic and social decline for a little bit longer before people wake up and realise that Labour policies are failing the communities in the west of Scotland.

Perhaps the time is not now, but sure that the time will come.


ian llorens said...

The SNP won.

Can you pls. clarify what you think it will happen with the coalitions?

Rab said...

Yes, we just made it!

Well, it is going to be very tricky. At least the SNP can claim the moral victory and now has the moral authority to try to form government.

However, this is going to be very difficult. My guess is that the SNP will try to form a minority government and try to agree individual policies with the Lib Dems and the Greens. I see the disgraceful Council Tax as possibly the first issue to be tackled, as this is something the Greens, LibDems and SNP agree on.

Then perhaps a declaration about “the people of Scotland rejecting Trident”.

Beyond this, I cannot see a stable coalition with the LibDems but it is still early days. Negotiations will take place over the following weeks. Still the Unionists parties could boycott a minority government if they vote in block against Alex Salmond nomination as First Minister. If a FM is not elected within 28 days, perhaps we could be in for new elections –which could coincide with the official handover from Prime Minister Blair to Gordon Brown, himself a Scot.

I wrote the post when it was not clear that the SNP would come on top and that in itself was a bit disheartening, specially the results in Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Inverclyde. Perhaps, as some of my SNP friends have told me, I should be more positive, this is after all a historic result for the SNP but I cannot help thinking that Labour’s grip in the west of Scotland is akin to a pathological dependency. Without making inroads in the Glasgow area, the SNP faces an uphill battle to form a stable government.

Early days, so for the time being let’s celebrate the fact that Labour is no longer the biggest party in Scottish politics.

ian llorens said...

Thanks for the clarification. I followed the results very closely and I also thought that we would not make it.

Anyway congratulations for what is worth.