The media has been abuzz the past few weeks at the prospect of a Conservative government at the next General Election. A point of particular attention has been what a Conservative government in 2010 could do to the fragile and failing union between England and Scotland. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, the man who gives fellow Scot Gordon Brown a run for his money in the beauty stakes, has already indicated his desire to hold a referendum on the issue of Scottish Indepedence in 2010. It would appear that Salmond believes New Labour will lose the next election and due to the distinct lack of Tory MP’s in Scotland, Salmond would be given a legitimate oppourtunity to argue that the government in Westminster has little or no authority to govern Scotland and thus independence is the only option.
However for me and many others Scottish independence is a double edged sword. On the one hand I personally have a somewhat nostalgic and traditionalist view that the Union should remain and that a partitioned UK is both impractical and undesirable. This fear has been somewhat allayed by the SNP’s reassurance that the ‘constitutional’ link between England and Scotland wouldn’t entirely disappear. The Scottish nationals have renewed their commitment and desire that the Queen should remain head of state of an Independent Scotland. To achieve this Salmond has said he would revive the monarchical union with England that existed before the Act of Union in 1707. Therefore whilst I would prefer to see that the Union remains I can understand that it is the will of the Scottish people that is paramount and I am reassured by the fact that there would still be a sustainable and valuable link between the two countries.
The other side of the independence sword is one the Labour party should pay particular attention to. Scottish independence and therefore the break up of the union would result in a huge electoral blow for Labour making the likelihood of successive Conservative governments even greater. In terms of the popular vote Conservatives rarely lose England, the election of 2005 resulted in a Conservative win in England by approximately 60,000 votes. Labour consistantly benefits from Welsh and Scottish constituencies which in most cases makes the difference between government and opposition. Independence however would take away these vital Labour seats which would fatally impact their share of the vote and parliamentary seats.
The modern question of Scottish Independence has been traced back to Baroness Thatcher, however I believe this to be slightly exaggerated as I believe that it is in fact Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and New Labour that could deal the death blow to the Union. The feeling amongst Scots has been expressed by Alex Salmond when he claimed ‘The lesson that Margaret Thatcher taught the Scots has assumed an even greater scale and significance under Prime Minister Blair. Being dragged into an illegal war in Iraq, having a new generation of nuclear weapons dumped in Scotland, and being lined up for unwanted nuclear power stations has persuaded record numbers of Scots that it’s not enough to just have control over health, education and housing. We also need to control the economy, our voice in the world and energy policy if we are to become a properly self-governing nation, and build a successful country’ In other words Blair has taken Scotland for granted on an even greater scale than Thatcher. So if Scotland does become independent, and the Labour vote is whittled down even further, it is not Margaret Thatcher Labour have to blame, it is Tony Blair.
The committee have come to the conclusion that blogs such as this can go off track in the comments section, therefore I shall attempt to clarify a few things. The point of this post is to try to get peoples feelings on Scottish Independence and comments should be in line with this, personal or unsubstantiated remarks which offer nothing to debate will be promptly removed.