I can’t say I’m surprised that an SNP candidate has pulled this old one out of the hat again. But it does amaze me that people constantly believe the argument without seeing the blatant inconsistency.
David Mundell’s comment sent shivers down my spine… Even if they don’t have a single Tory MP elected in Scotland… they still think they have the right to impose policies upon the people of Scotland that they have rejected at the polls.
Yes, but the only problem with this is that they do have the right to do that. A UK General Election is just that — a general election for the whole of the UK, whether the SNP likes it or not. That means the seats are totted up for the whole of the UK and whoever has the most seats forms the government. A pretty simple concept.
It’s the same concept that applies in elections to the Scottish Parliament. Seats are totted up for the whole of Scotland and whoever is in the best position to form an administration does so.
While the SNP are always quick to jump up and down to point out the Conservatives’ alleged unpopularity in Scotland (which isn’t really true, but I’ll let that slide for now), they are always a great deal more reticent about the geographical differences that occur within Scotland as well.
Images stolen from the Scottish Politics website
The above maps show the results of the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. On the left is the constituency result, while the map on the right shows how the regional votes were cast in each constituency.
It is pretty clear that there is a distinct difference in voting patterns between different parts of Scotland. Broadly speaking, the further north and the deeper into rural areas you go, the more likely the SNP are to win. This is especially emphasised in the case of the regional vote where voters are more likely to vote for the party they really support rather than tactically voting. Meanwhile, the central belt still heavily voted for Labour, particularly in the west.
Does this mean that the SNP is just a bunch of northerners foisting unwanted policies which have been rejected by voters in the lowlands? I don’t think so. But Julie Hepburn’s logic, all too prevalent among nationalists, would conclude this if only it was not so hypocritical.
As I said, the Scottish Parliamentary election is a Scotland-wide election and whoever gets a plurality of seats across the whole of Scotland wins. So it was right that the SNP ended up forming the Scottish Government. The SNP will quite cheerfully accept their right to govern the whole of Scotland.
By the same token, if the Conservatives win the most seats in the next UK General Election, they will be well within their rights to form the government for the whole of the UK. That would include Scotland, no matter how much foot-stamping the nats do. Neither case sends a shiver down my spine.
Meanwhile, the SNP often tries to make out that it speaks for the whole of Scotland. That sends a shiver down my spine.
I am not trying to say, as the nationalist logic goes, that the central belt and the south should pursue independence because of these geographical differences. Such differences between different parts of any area will inevitably form. Look at any election map for any country, no matter how large or small, and you will doubtless see certain trends. These could be along urban / rural lines, differences between coastal and inland areas, north / south divides, east / west divides, or whatever.
Is this an ideal situation? Far from it. Adopting a federalist structure can go a long way to mitigating these effects and that is part of the reason why I am a federalist.
Unfortunately, the SNP is not a federalist party. You can see this in their strange “local” income tax policy which could hardly be less local. Despite their rhetoric about bringing government closer to the people, the SNP is a centralist party. It wants to take powers away from other levels of government and concentrate them all in Holyrood.
The “problem” of having a party foisting unwanted policies in areas where those policies were rejected would hardly be solved by the SNP.