Did the SNP sabotage politics for the UK?

I woke up this morning to the news that the SNP had won Scotland’s Westminster seats by a landslide and I felt proud.

I felt proud that I had been part of this movement.  I felt proud that so many people around me had refused to believe the lies that had surrounded us.  They took a chance and voted for what they believed in.  We were Brave, voting for ‘the most dangerous woman in Britain’.  We were Kind, accepting that social justice might cost us something in the short-term but that we could pull together and we could make it work.  We had to make it work.  I love being brave and kind.  I think they are the only 2 things we really need to be.  The whole country was being brave and kind together.  It felt good.

Then I felt sad.  Really, really sad.  Because the 56 seats that the SNP had won for Scotland, our landslide, was irrelevant in the face of the UK as a whole.  Our votes had not led to the left-of-centre, progressive coalition we all hoped for.  Instead, it looked like we were facing another 5 years of right-wing rule and austerity being ramped up a notch.  We were careering headlong into a new dawn quite different from the one we went to bed dreaming of.  Destination: the State as we know it being consigned to history, survival of the richest.

It confused me then that our ‘brave and kind’ were being twisted into naive and destructive.  They said it was our fault that things were heading in the direction they were.  Apparently by trying to steer one way, we had hit some kind of black ice and shot off in the opposite direction.  If only we had just kept driving slowly and quietly to the right we would never have actually got there.

Somehow, the left-wing party, which has stood up against austerity and for many principles of social justice, is responsible for the right-wing Conservatives being in power. I was really confused by this since fewer than 15% of people in Scotland voted for the Conservatives and if anything they are actually probably feeling a bit under-represented today, having only one of 58 seats in Scotland.

Anyway, it was suggested that I might be missing the cultural effect of ‘nationalism’, in which Scotland holding a referendum about independence last year led to a rise in English nationalism.  This, I was assured, led to more Tory and UKIP votes, effectively cancelling ours out (and some). I have been thinking about this a lot today and trying work out of there is any truth in it. While I am not denying this phenomenon completely, I do have a couple of issues with it and I would really like my friends who are not nationalists (in the currently used sense of wanting Scottish independence) to let me know your thoughts on them, particularly if you voted SNP last night.

Firstly, as far as I can see, there was a rise in English nationalism well before the Scottish Referendum. While I see that in the time of the Scottish referendum this might have increased further, I would argue that this resulted from manipulation of the English perception of what was happening in Scotland, by those who wanted a shift to the right in England.

You see, the ‘nationalism’ that grew in Scotland last year had nothing to do with ethnicity or blood lines.  It was a ‘civic’ nationalism, a voluntary attachment to the country, by those of varied descent, in recognition of a shared ideology. In essence, it was the sense that we believed in a socially-just type of government and although we sensed that there were a lot of us, indeed possibly even a majority, we didn’t seem to be being governed in that way.

I am not denying that there will be some traditional nationalists within Scotland, and some with fairly unpleasant ways of displaying that, as there are on all sides. Let’s not get distracted by them though. I am more interested in the additional 75,000+ SNP members since September’s referendum – a new breed of party activists, drawn together by frustration at feeling unrepresented in Westminster and desiring a more progressive style of government. Independence is only an issue because it seems to be the sole means to that end.

Today we have a literal map demonstrating that we weren’t imagining things.  The gap between north and south came into sharp focus in last night’s results. Social Media is full of pictures of political maps showing Scotland almost entirely yellow, while England is mostly blue with small patches of red. I’m not sure I like these maps though because they reflect the flaws in the first past the post system and don’t really represent the true variance in how people voted.

However a little analysis of the data shows that they are actually not entirely unrepresentative.  In Scotland, votes for left-of-centre parties (SNP, Labour and Green) total 75.6% of the total.  Votes for right-of-centre parties (Conservatives and UKIP) contributed 16.5% of the vote. Scotland definitely voted LEFT.  In England, votes for the Conservative and UKIP made up 55.1% of the vote, while votes for Labour and Greens totalled 31.6% of the vote.  The gap isn’t as wide but England definitely voted RIGHT.

This is the point.  It’s not about accents or surnames, whether you can pronounce Milngavie or eat a deep-fried Mars Bar.  It’s about having different ideas of how a country should be run.  Very different ideas. It’s not that one is right and the other wrong necessarily but that one is being silenced while the other always wins.  It doesn’t matter what we vote.  We don’t influence the result.  Every seat but 3 in Scotland belong to a party whose manifesto was clearly left-wing.  We got a right-wing government.

For those blaming our choices for the blue dawn this morning, I want to make this clear, EVEN IF EVERYONE IN SCOTLAND HAD VOTED LABOUR (TWICE) THEY STILL WOULDN’T HAVE WON.  (I also say this as a comfort to those who hesitated and wondered if they should vote tactically or from the heart then nervously crossed SNP.)

This has long been the pattern of politics in Scotland but the referendum was partly responsible for a change.  It woke us up.  People got involved.  Social Media got involved.  The YES side kept telling us that this was what could happen.

Independence had some logic but it also involved a big leap of faith.  Too many ‘facts’ kept changing for us to keep track of what was true.   Also, most of us actually quite liked England and being part of the UK.  We hadn’t fallen out of love.  We had just noticed we weren’t being treated the way we wanted to be.  Then they promised things would be different if we stayed.  We hoped there might be another way to the place we hoped to go.  We voted NO.

But the promises seemed to change and the rhetoric changed subtly then not so subtly from love to what has felt recently, a lot like hate.  So while I don’t really hold with the argument that we caused a rise in English Nationalism, I do actually think that events of recent months have probably fanned the flames of Scottish Nationalism – the civic kind.  We still don’t hate anyone but it has become clear that we are just not heading in the same direction.  The patronising rhetoric, bordering on racism, from the Conservatives, and Labour jumping on the bandwagon, eventually becoming almost indistinguishable from the Tories – where else were left-leaning voters meant to put their cross?

This is why Independence still feels to me like the way ahead.  I cannot see another way.  There has been a political Tsunami sweep through Scotland but by the time it reached London it was a slightly unsettling wave machine that might soon be turned off.  I don’t know where else to turn with the energy I feel for changing politics.

I guess as a committed YES voter since the referendum (although not at the start of that campaign), I might be expected to interpret things that way.  So I genuinely wonder what my friends who don’t support independence feel about things now.

For those who have a right-of-centre ideology, I understand you probably felt better represented in Westminster anyway. But the others – especially those who said NO in September but still chose SNP yesterday (thank you), what do you see as they way ahead?  How do you see your ideology being represented in the UK as whole?

I really hope that the Strong Voice we are sending south speak up boldly and that they are heard.  I have seen first-hand the commitment and enthusiasm of some of these people and if anyone can do it, they can.  But the question is, with politics as it is today, can they?

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68 thoughts on “Did the SNP sabotage politics for the UK?

    • The pity of this vote is the fragmentation it has caused. The Conservatives seem to be able to govern in their own right – an unbelievable result and who will listen to pollsters after this debacle – and the British Labor party will never forgive the SNP for taking seats that they desperately needed away from them, an act of political bastardry. The SNP will be in political wilderness for the next 5 years as a minor opposition party and will reap justifiable anger at the next election in 5 years time for not achieving what they promised – believing that they would be part of the future government.

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      • You seem not to understand ! Even if Scotland voted labour it still wouldn’t have been enough seats to win, as in not enough votes in England . As for the SNP wait and see .

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      • You seem unable to grasp basic arithmetic, even had the red tories won every single seat, the real tories would still have won the election. That is, and stop me if I’m going to fast fir you, the English voters wanted them and not you. Labour failed across the board. The only tragedy here is that once again the Democrat wishes of Scotland are ignored for the selfish desire of the English electorate.

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      • My reply is to Alan Humphrey but I can’t directly respond to him.

        The “English” as a whole didn’t vote for the Conservatives, just enough to give them a majority of seats. The overwhelming vote is still against the party in power, which is the problem with a FPTP system which no longer applies to an electorate which isn’t a 2 horse race any more.

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  1. Brilliant! Excellently written – heartfelt and sound analysis. I so agree, we here in the country much more complex than a yellow map, we need to listen to voices like yours. We need to remember to be brave and kind all through the long Tory years.

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  2. Thankyou for your thoughts on this and putting forward truth as many of us see it. It is good to see it down in black and white. Our hearts were to see all of UK free from austerity and I pray that with our example change will bee brought about in people’s hearts across the land!

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  3. Great piece of writing. I jyst read an article by Irvine Welsh before yours and I can say you are up there with the best! I’m not biased sis, unlike the English Media Don’t be too sad, the SNP MP’s at Westminster can do a lot of things.. Alongside the opposition and a few disgruntled back benchers, things can be made very difficult for a Tory Gvt. The next five years will not be easy for Tories and the SNP and others will hold them to account. That together with a few Tory scadals, a couple of by-elections and defections things may not be quite as bleak as they seem right now. Keep on writing so many people can learn from it. #hopeoverfear

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  4. I have talked to a couple of English people who asked if we could hook up their parts of England on to us if we got a yes vote, or expressed a want to have “something” in the way of being able to rule some of their affairs at a local level. Ok – not a scientific poll, but there was just a feeling of disgust in Yorkshire that London got so much and they were annoyed at the wealth not being shared out.
    If anything I have been educated, challenged and learned a lot more about politics in general over the past year or so.
    And I have met some passionate people (you and Bryony included!!) and that passion has rubbed off on me.
    So thank you for that!!
    Sorry – more than one thought, but you know me – my brain runs faster than my fingers can type!!!

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  5. A great piece of writing here that expresses many of my own thoughts very well indeed. We are on the long route now, one that probably will lead to independence, but a healthier, more inclusive independence than if we had pipped the No’s to the post last September.

    On Thursday night we took an enormous step forward, and I have argued elsewhere this morning that I think we could actually have more clout in opposition than if we were in a day to day bargaining arrangement with a weak Labour government. We must take full advantage of the SNP’s position as the third largest party at Westminster, fight for all we’re worth against Tory cuts, and we must be patient. Change is coming.

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  6. Really enjoyed this article. It explains in an intelligent and dignified way why people who felt wary of voting SNP still did. I summed it up to someone as the ballot paper options being Shite, Shite-ier, Shite-iest or SNP. You did it so much better.

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  7. We are part of a very strong union where our differences are respected to the point where we have our own parliament. Unfortunately we seem to ignore the control we have and instead constantly look for scapegoats. Take responsibility and use the assets you ‘brave’ nationalists have and perhaps the majority of our nation will respect you. Perhaps

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    • Oh so we have to earn their respect now, when only a few short months ago we were definitively better together?

      Away back to your Bollinger and your PPE degree with your unsubstantiated nonsense and barely articulate drivel.

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    • Re your first sentence – we have been absorbed into a larger entity where our voice is ignored – would be a more accurate statement. The establishment hysteria at the very thought of Scotland having influence shows you the true nature of this union.
      In the event that substantial powers and the ability to raise and spend our own taxes are graciously granted by our colonial masters you may have a point. Until then, the ability to shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic is not ‘control’ and it is a poor cop out to pretend that showing up the inadequacy of the parish council powers we have and the push for greater control are looking for ‘scapegoats’.

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  8. Excellent piece well written and considered, however I’d like to give you my take on what’s happened. Just a bit of background, I’ve lived in the East end of Glasgow for 20+ years being originally from Wales and having lived in England previously. I voted No in the referendum and am not an SNP fan, neither am I right wing, I consider myself a socialist (small s).

    I watched with interest how the SNP targeted many dis-enfranchised people and befriended them encouraging them to register and vote (often for the first time) and congratulate them on this. By acting as advocates for these people they increased the vote in the referendum to record levels – great, however I’m not sure they gave them a balanced view (and to be fair why should they). The other parties should learn from them and work at grass roots to put over an alternative point of view. During the referendum (in my area) there was definately a fear factor of expressing publicly any discontent with voting Yes, privately with neighbours/friends there was discussion and a feeling that independence would be bad for Scotland, so the result was no surprise. Any discussion on Social media tended to denigrate into Your English (I’m not) or name calling.

    The SNP seems to promise the earth, but with little to thought of how it’s paid for. I’ve seen what’s happened under the SNP in Scotland and having used (and been involved with many others who have) the NHS, Education and Social Care in Scotland and in Wales I don’t think it’s so much better North of the border – in fact I’d say it’s worse.

    On to the General election, I’m sure that the Vote Labour – Get SNP campaign by the Tories had an effect on the voters in England and Wales. I’m not suggesting Labour voters swung to the tories, but those undecided middle of the road voters might. I’m not sure what the SNP will achieve in Westminster, and I wish them well. I hope to return to Scotland when I’m able, it’s a great country, but hope that there is room there for all, Scotland has gained form the immigrants (from South of the border), even if it sometimes feels that it would rather we all moved south.

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    • I appreciate you taking the time to post but it’s rubbish. I’m not even clear where you’re based (not that it’s relevant except that it appears to confirm your dishonesty) you talk about your experiences during the referendum and the election but hope to return to Scotland one day, did you just move yesterday?

      “…even if it sometimes feels that it would rather we all moved south.” Pure unadulterated crap, you’re a butthurt, labour voter who’s falling moderately short of blaming the SNP!!

      Your comment on Scottish services gives you away as provincial and attempting to score a point, the approval ratings of these services are substantially higher in Scotland, buy what’s more important is YOUR feelings, give it a break mate, we know where you’re coming from and we also know why you’re wrong.

      You’re trying to be reasonable and conciliatory but internally screaming at the Scots for ruining it for you, it’s fine when they’re voting the way YOU want but god help them if they get a mind of their own. Sort your own house (country) out first and then tell others how to do it.

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      • Not that it matter’s to you, but this is just the sort of inflamatory, negative comment I was talking about. I have (as I stated lived in Scotland for 20+ years, moving back to Wales in Dec to care for my elderly tetraplegic mother. I still have a home in Scotland I just can’t be there at the moment. Unlike many, I have experience of services on both sides of the border and it is my opinion. Approval ratings only tell half the story, you cannot compare with others unless you have used them. Have you spoken with a non Glaswegian accent in a pub in the East end? or been told your provincial because you don’t agree with Scottish independance. I have lived all over the UK, in England, Wales and Scotland, I chose Scotland did not just happen to be born there so how provincial am I.

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      • I can’t reply to your comment, so have to reply to my own.

        I have spoken in a Glasgow pub, and indeed everywhere else, with a distinctly London accent and have never had a problem, at least not one due to my accent.

        Your comment about preferring other to not live in Scotland was what raised my ire. It’s bullshit and you know it, any difficulties you faced were because of your personality not because of your accent.

        And if you think my comment was inflammatory I suggest you’ve never stood in a pub ANYWHERE and talked to people other than those that you arrived with.

        Your points about satisfaction surveys are also completely idiotic, they’re not comparative studies. They ask people how they feel about aspects of their stay… Were you happy with the waiting time, the food, the staff etc. The fact that you found them worse is a personal opinion you’re entitled too but it doesn’t change the fact that on the only measures we have the people using the NHS in Scotland find it a substantially better service than the people using the NHS in other parts of the country. And if you’re a labour voter, as I strongly suspect then are you realty suggesting that the NHS in Wales (as run by Labour) is doing a better job than in Scotland? If so welcome to the world of one because you’re the first person I’ve ever heard make that joke.

        You’re partisanship does you no favours and is the reason your party fell flat on their face last night, congratulation on being another idiot that blames everyone except those that are actually to blame.

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    • The Scotland of today welcomes all who join and enrich our society ,the curse of UKiP has found fallow ground here. The idea that to encourage and empower people is somewhat sinister perplexes me still haste ye back

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  9. Don’t be sad. We have been saved from the pitfalls of being tied (even in the loosest of ways) to a red Tory government, and the way to Independence is now that much smoother and shorter. The truth is being exposed much more clearly to the Scots now – we really don’t count in Westminster and they will continue to make the mistake of trying to ignore us. I loved your viewpoint about being brave and kind – it kind of sums up the best of our nation.

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  10. Excellent article and sums up perfectly how I have felt for some time now. As a 50 year old I have now become reinvigorated politically for the first time in decades. We as a nation have found our voice at long last.

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  11. Really enjoyed that article. Fed up with the unionists thinking we are right wing nationalists looking to create some form of Nazi- induced eugenics. People are just more engaged now and refuse to accept being treated unfairly.

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  12. I’m a Labour voting Yorkshire girl. The Conservative Government doesn’t represent me or my views any more than it represents the whole of Scotland’s views. Unlike you (generic) Scottish people though, I have no devolved Parliament or Assembly able to vote on issues which directly affect me as an English person without interference by the other three constituent parts of the UK.
    I firmly believe it was the Tory promise of “English votes for English people” who swayed a lot of votes away from the Lib-Dems to the Tories in key marginal areas where Labour could have taken/held onto a seat, mostly across the midlands, parts of the south east and in Wales.
    In the North East, Labour lost votes to UKIP because they never successfully addressed the whole “all your problems are caused by ‘the immigrants'” fears of the (slight stereotyping coming here so forgive me that) white, poorly educated, manual and low paid workers who felt they’d been abandoned by the left and so swung violently to the ultra right.

    So, while I applaud the Scottish electorate for being invigorated, rejuvenated, passionate and enthusiastic to such an extend that your voting turn out figures were incredible, I cannot help but feel saddened that elsewhere in the UK, we had the same general level of apathy which resulted in only a 66% turnout over all and, as is the case with the inherently flawed First Past the Post voting system, more people who voted against the party in power than who voted for them.

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      • Your comment has absolutely nothing to do with mine so I’m left puzzled as to why you’d leave it there. At no point did I say anything about why the Tories ran away with the election.

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      • Can you not even understand your own words?

        You were musing in that typically redundant way as to why the electorate voted the way they did and you can’t see the relevance of my comment?

        You mentioned EVEL and UKIP but the simple fact is that the Tories won the election because the Labour Party are not credible, if you’re not sure what that means there are numerous dictionaries just a click away on your keyboard.

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    • A change to the voting system was rejected by the electorate in 2011, and you can be sure the Tories want to keep FPTP. Yes, the SNP has benefited from the system, but why not, we are playing by UK rules for now.
      I think you underestimate how the Lib Dems did so badly, they sold out to sleep with the Tories, and they have paid the price,in the same way so called Scottish Labour have been dealt with for selling out, a long time ago, but most recently in the referendum last year.
      Politicos constantly denigrate, insult and underestimate the intelligence of the average voter, and they eventually pay for that.

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      • It was rejected because what was offered wasn’t what was asked for. A system of AV is not PR and that’s why the electorate was convinced it should vote against it sadly.

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    • My reply is obviously directed to jamc2015’s latest but, as I can’t reply directly to that, it must needs go here.

      I am well aware of what I said, I’m amused by you thinking my “musing” is redundant and yet yours is not. I don’t need a dictionary to understand your combative nature of posting is designed to demonstrate some amazing political awareness of why Labour lost when it’s blindingly obvious the reason for it is that more people voted Conservative. Well done on stating a factual piece of information.

      I am, last time I looked, not only capable but, under the terms of WordPress’ blogging platform, quite entitled to offer up an opinion on the reasons for why Labour may have lost votes to the Lib-Dems and UKIP in spite of an overall increase in their vote share of some 1.5% (from memory), and exercised that right to do so. I am not, and indeed did not in my comment, blaming the SNP for Labour’s defeat or suggesting the Scottish electorate had anything to do with it.

      You believe Labour don’t offer a credible opposition, an opinion you’re perfectly entitled to. I disagree.

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      • You’re addressing me as an SNP supporter and I’m not.

        You can carry on blaming whoever you want, and you will continue to lose. After years of the most severe cuts in generations and a perspective that views the most disadvantaged and unfortunate people as a mere inconvenience the Tories romped home. If the Labour Party is not able to capitalise on what’s being happening for the last 5 years it should furl up its banners and go home, allowing a group more organised, passionate and capable to take their place.

        Passokification, it’s the only way forward.

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    • Again, addressed to jamc2015 – your fundamental error is in the assumption I’m blaming anyone at all. I’m not. I’m offering an opinion on why Labour may have haemorrhaged some of its voters in spite of an overall increase in vote share of 1.5%. I believe Labour didn’t adequately address the fears of people over immigration or correctly counter the continual lies over the economy.
      They need to re-address their method of campaigning and of how they represent their manifesto and their policies so that people can easily understand them or be willing to go and find out more instead of being continually drip fed the blatant propaganda issued by a right wing led mainstream media.

      I’m also not assuming you’re an SNP supporter. I was stating that I wasn’t blaming the SNP for why Labour lost, a notion which had been raised in the original author’s blog post as being given as one of the reasons people were complaining outside of Scotland for the Conservative majority.

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      • Whether you blame or opine my initial point was urbane to the perspective you were outlining. I didn’t claim I was the only one with insight to the truth, or that my perspective was more valid, all I did was take exception to the fact that YOU didn’t think it was relevant when it clearly was.

        Your suggestion that they need to address their campaigning methodologies is like suggesting that ISIS need elocution and deportment lessons. You don’t need new messengers, you need a new message.

        I agree that media manipulation and bias is disturbing and bordering on anti-democratic but the Labour party in Scotland tried its best to subvert, undermine and coerce at every juncture through their propaganda agency- BBC Scotland. I’m sure your opining against that somewhere else on-line, can you direct me to it, I’d love to read your views.

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      • I have no experience on what the BBC did in Scotland so have no opinion to offer on your claim. I’m not going to disagree with you as I haven’t experienced it to say yes or no.

        As for needing new messengers, I don’t disagree. But they need a new message as well.

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  13. Your article expressed exactly what my head is thinking and my heart is feeling – THANK YOU! I am English, living in Scotland and I voted SNP because their agenda (dump Trident, anti-austerity especially) ‘speaks to my condition’. I’m not crazy for independence, but if that’s the only way to show the way to a fairer society then so be it. I have been woken up to the need to participate in grassroots politics by the various meetings I attended in village halls during the independence debate, where ordinary everyday folk (much more ordinary than Archer’s characters come to think of it) wanted to really listen to what politicians of all persuasions had to say and discuss it – be part of it. I don’t think this phenomenon has been fully reported south of the border and it’s lazy journalism that puts it out in the media as a wave of Nationalism. Please write more!

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  14. Brilliantly written and from the heart. It is easy to feel deflated after the result, but remember that David Cameron has a majority of just four seats in the Commons and, with an incredibly fractured party of far-right squabbling with centre-right, he’s got his work cut out for him. A progressive alliance of Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Green, SDLP, etc., is still capable of making Cameron’s job a tough one.

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  15. A well written article with which I fully agree. I would like to highlight the point on civil nationalism. The YES campaign was about building a fair society in Scotland. The “British” nationalism has always been aggresive and tending to an attitude of being superior. It is a fact that Scots in the 18th & 19th. Century were dragged into that world of greed.
    Civil nationalism is about building a progressive caring society.
    UK/British nationalism is driven by personal greed and a focus on self.It is very attractive and can drive a “Klondyke gold rush” approach.
    We are simply not great enough in numbers (population) to influence the government of the UK but we can build a better culture within the ancient boundries of the nation of Scotland. The Labour Party tried to achieve this by softening the message in the hope that they could lure more and more people into voting for them in order that they could gain power at Westminster and implement fairer policies. Their intent was good but they changed so much in order to gain that power that they lost their soul.
    When I look at London I see a mini-America. The strong will get stronger and the rich will get richer. That cancer is spreading outwards and we can delay it for a few years/decades within a union or reject it forever by Independence. I choose the latter.

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    • Please don’t tar us with the same brush. British != English which is the accusation so often levelled against the UK. I am English, I am neither superior or empirical. Westminster no more speaks for me in the North of England than it does for Scotland. London is also more cultural and racially diverse than anywhere else, Westminster does not equal London,
      It is these misconceptions which continue to foster a “them and us” disconnect.

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      • Mirrigold

        If you had read my post you will note I compared the YES campaign civic nationalism to the British Empire Nationalism that ALL parts of the UK took part in. I specifically highlighted the negative Scottish contribution.
        My post was about what society COULD be with civic nationalism within Scotland instead of what exists at present with the current British nationalism.

        We have a collective society of greed/self interest as at present (WE as a nation voted in a Tory government) it is negative and damaging to those at the bottom of society.
        You or I as individuals may not have voted for them but WE did. You may not like it but you cannot have a society of one it is a UK system of majority seats.

        I’m not sure why you are so angry but I suggest you read posts more carefully for actual content instead of what you assume it contains. Nothing in my post is anti-English or “Tars” anyone. It simply states an outline of the British Imperial Nationalism of the last 300 years in comparison to a POSSIBLE civic nationalism in a smaller societal group (Scotland)

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  16. Annie, well written and from your heart…. as it has been since well before the referendum. Whilst I don’t agree with your politics entirely, I love the fact that you, unlike so many people, are prepared to put yourself out for public consumption (both the good and the bad that comes with the territory).

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  17. Please remember the 45% of us in England who did not vote for the Tories or UKIP – it’s about the same number that voted yes to independence in Scotland. I include those who cast no vote as they are likely among the most disillusioned in our society. And those of us who voted green are feeling extremely under represented and angry. At least Scotland’s voice will be heard in parliament.

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    • Sorry but my ‘heavy moderation ‘ is an result of me not knowing what I’m doing! This is the first thing I’ve ever blogged and haven’t a clue what I’m meant to do. I wrote this mainly for my friends to read as it was too long for a Facebook post. I didn’t see it getting the kind of audience it has. I am literally being inundated with emails about comments and I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’m genuinely sorry if I’ve somehow removed something. I absolutely want people to discuss the ideas freely (and kindly). Also I have a job, 4 children and am studying too so I don’t actually have time to moderate it at all. if anyone can give me advice on what I should be doing I’d be glad of it. Sorry to anyone who I have mistakenly silenced. Do I have to approve a comment for it to appear? I started doing that then when it got too much, I stopped and maybe I’ve removed some while I was trying to work it out. Advice would be appreciated. Thanks everyone for your comments. I’m genuinely staggered by the response and very encouraged by all your contributions.

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    • I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I thought I was fairly IT literate but I am lost. I should have made my first post about packed lunches and given myself a bit of time to acclimatise. Anyway, if I wrote it I probably did like it. I’m aiming for auhenticity here. 😀

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  18. Excellent read (name deliberately omitted). If I may, I would like to ‘piggyback’ onto your blog and support it with a few facts and observations on the basis of Proportional Representation (PR) – summarised.

    Re: PR and UKIP v SNP – On vote and Seats gained.
    After the recent UK election, I heard several comments regarding PR and how the SNP success was disproportional when compared to other parties. I will use UKIP as the example.

    Yes, it is obvious we (SNP) have many more seats than UKIP compared to votes, however, we must consider the fact we only contested 59 electoral seats with an electorate of circa 3.9m. UKIP contested 624 (sic) seats across the UK, giving them a much larger electorate from which to draw votes (1). In England alone, there is an electorate of circa 38.8m. We should note, of the 3.9m votes available in Scotland, the turnout was 77.1% (http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45). With this turnout, the SNP achieved a vote share of over 50% of the seats it contested. It is fair to argue, if our available electorate was larger, we would have still polled over 50% and thus our total votes and percentage of electorate would have been higher.

    For me, this election also proves a point re PR; it does not suit the UK as it stands! It has four nations and four different voting streams. It has one nation large than the others and ultimately having a larger share of the potential electorate and more say in final election outcome. In the current UK set up there must be more awareness and action taken, by the elected majority/party, to address regional issues and preferences(2). It also shows that PR would work if all parties had a vested interest to contest all seats/areas. PR can work when all of the electorate are available to all of the parties.

    (1) Stats are not available at this time to quantify electorate available to UKIP.
    (2) This hasn’t happened hence the amazing vote of confidence for the SNP.

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    • The problem with the figures being quoted as – this is what it would have looked under PR – is that they use the European Parliament’s system which isn’t the only one available and wouldn’t necessarily be what was introduced to the UK if people voted for a system of PR.
      There would need to be boundary changes for starters, to make the constituencies fairer. There could be an element of AV included, whereby you vote 1 to whatever in favour of your candidate from a list of people locally chosen by each political party to ensure you had the “vote for your local MP” element of the FPTP system, married to the PR system of you place a vote for which party you wish to see in power.
      Yes parties like UKIP would possibly get a greater number of MPs, but it’s also possible they wouldn’t, given there would be no need for the tactical voting we so clearly saw during the 2015 election.
      If people felt their vote would be properly represented then they would vote for the party they actually supported, not one that was the “lesser evil”.

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      • None of the figures are “causing me a problem”. The ones being quoted as “how things would have looked under PR” aren’t necessarily what the result might have been under a system of PR specifically designed for the disparate constituent parts of the UK however – i.e. UKIP may not have ended up with 82 MPs which is being used to scare people away from a system of proper PR.

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      • I see, I thought for a minute you had a problem with my figures, thanks for clearing that up. Agree with your earlier comments re the PR options available.

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