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November 29, 2013

John Major weighs in on Scottish independence debate

John Major weighs in on Scottish independence debate

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Friday, November 29, 2013

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John Major in 2007.
Image: Steve Punter.

Yesterday in London, former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major gave a speech at the Institute of Directors outlining his opposition to plans for Scottish independence. This follows the publication earlier in the week of a white paper by the Scottish government outlining plans for what would happen if the country votes to leave the United Kingdom.

Major said that there won’t be a currency union between a newly independent Scotland and a post-split United Kingdom: “A currency union, which the SNP Scottish National Party assume is negotiable, would require the UK to underwrite Scottish debts. That cannot, will not, happen if Scotland leaves the Union. There can be no halfway house, no quasi-independence underpinned by UK institutions.”

Major said the other alternative was to join the Euro, but this would require Scotland to first join the European Union. EU membership may not be easy as “many states would have concerns about the accession of a separatist member. […] How would Spain feel — with breakaway movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country? Spain uses uncertainty over EU membership to deter Catalonia from even holding a referendum on independence. It is hardly likely she would happily wave in Scotland. Spain will not be alone in being wary of separatist tendencies.”

Major also said that Scottish nationalists engaged in anti-English sentiment. “Anti-English sentiment from separatists irritates and enrages, as it is intended to do, but across the UK people know and value Scots as partners, work colleagues, friends and neighbours. It is hard to imagine Scots becoming foreigners.”

A spokesperson for Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish National Party, responded to Major’s remarks: “Sir John Major is quite wrong to suggest that the rest of the UK should lay exclusive claim to all the assets of the UK, which the people of Scotland contribute to and of which Sterling is one. But he is also just about the very last person the No campaign should be calling on to make their case. He was the Tory prime minister who presided over his party’s complete wipe-out in Scotland and the more he tries to lecture the people of Scotland, the better it will be for the Yes vote.”



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March 23, 2013

Scotland sets date for referendum

Scotland sets date for referendum – Wikinews, the free news source

Scotland sets date for referendum

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

On Thursday, Scotland’s First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond set the date September 18, 2014, for the country’s referendum on political independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. The question to be presented at the ballot is: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”; if a majority vote “Yes”, the union of the parliaments, in-place since 1707, will come to an end.

Graph charting opinion on the referendum from several surveys undertaken during the past year.
Image: Metallurgist.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the SNP believe Scotland would be more prosperous under self-government controlling their own resources, including the oil, fishing and farming industries.

The vote comes from what Salmond describes as a chance “to build a better country”. Salmon urged the Scottish population to seize the opportunity for independence, quoted by ABC as saying, “[t]he choice becomes clearer with each passing day – the opportunity to use our vast resources and talent to build a better country, or to continue with a Westminster system that simply isn’t working for Scotland,”

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However, Independence opponent and Scottish Labour leader, Johann Lamont claims the SNP have failed to detail how an independent Scotland would support itself. Lamont told the The Guardian that Salmond has failed to explain how the new nation would deal with health care and education issues, as well as what its polices would be on tax, pensions and welfare.

For this election only, the voting age of the September referendum has been lowered to 16. Polling expert Prof John Curtice told the BBC: “If you look at the polls in the round, what you discover is, yes, younger people are perhaps a little more likely to be in favour of independence.” However, the Professor was sceptical if younger voters would be the all-deciding vote that the SNP believes them to be.

ABC reports opinion polls show only 30% of the Scottish population currently support independence, with 50% favouring the status-quo as part of the the United Kingdom.

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October 18, 2012

Cameron, Salmond sign deal for referendum on Scottish independence

Cameron, Salmond sign deal for referendum on Scottish independence

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

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United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond have signed a deal for a referendum on Scottish independence to be held in the autumn of 2014. The deal, signed in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, gives the Scottish Government clear legal power to hold a referendum. The deal lapses if a referendum is not held before the end of 2014.

The deal, signed on Monday, achieves a compromise between the proposals of Mr Cameron and Mr Salmond. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds are to be allowed to vote in the referendum. Mr Salmond favoured this. However, there is to be only one question on the ballot paper, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question on whether Scotland should be independent. Mr Salmond had proposed a second question on the ballot paper, on so-called ‘devo-max’. This would have given Scotland full tax-raising powers while still remaining inside the United Kingdom if voters rejected independence.

The pro- and anti-independence campaigns have been setting out their positions. The pro-independence campaign, which is led by former BBC Scotland news chief Blair Jenkins and supported by Mr Salmond’s Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party, seeks to convince voters of the benefits of independence. Mr Salmond said: “The agreement will see Scotland take an important step toward independence, and the means to create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. I look forward to working positively for a yes vote in 2014.” The anti-independence campaign Better Together is headed up by former U.K. chancellor Alistair Darling and is supported by the Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservatives, and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Mr Darling suggested Scotland leaving the union would mean a pointlessly “uncertain future”.

Currently, Scotland is run through devolution. The Scottish Parliament can make laws on ‘devolved’ issues, which include health, education, and policing. However, the U.K. parliament still has power over ‘reserved’ issues like defence, foreign affairs, and taxation.



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September 20, 2009

Memorial unveiled to mark 50th anniversary of deaths of 47 miners in Lanarkshire, Scotland

Memorial unveiled to mark 50th anniversary of deaths of 47 miners in Lanarkshire, Scotland

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of a mining disaster which occured in Lanarkshire, Scotland on September 18, 2009, killing 47 miners. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond MSP unveiled a bronze statue and a memorial garden in Moodiesburn on Sunday in front of a crowd of approximately 600.

A map of Scotland. Lanarkshire is highlighted in dark blue.

At roughly 0700 BST on September 18, 1959, 47 men who were working in Auchengeich Collery in North Lanarkshire, Scotland were overcome by smoke as they were walking down to start work. They were subsequently killed after being trapped by a fire in the mine which prevented them from escaping. At the time, a decision had been made to flood the pit after attempts to rescue the men failed. Only one miner had managed to survive the blaze. It transpired that the fire was caused by an electrical fault 1,000 ft below the surface.

Cquote1.svg The tragedy…left barely a town, village or mining family in North Lanarkshire unaffected Cquote2.svg

—Alex Salmond MSP

First Minister Salmond unveiled a memorial garden and a bronze statue which had been placed to mark the 50th anniversary of the incident. The statue is one of a miner. A religious service was carried out from Bishop Joseph Devine. Tom Clarke, MP for Chryston and Bellshill, also attended the event. Memorial committee chairman Daniel Taylor read out the names of the late 47 people while another person was playing bagpipes in the background.

When the service came to a close, First Minister Salmond commented on the tragedy, saying “The tragedy at Auchengeich Colliery left barely a town, village or mining family in North Lanarkshire unaffected. Fifty years on, the memories of the fateful day which claimed the lives of so many husbands, fathers, brothers and sons endure and I am honoured to pay tribute to them. Scotland is fortunate enough to have been blessed with rich natural resources, from the abundant coal seams of the central belt to the oil and gas reserves off our shores and the emerging renewable energy sources we are just beginning to feel the benefits of. But we should never forget the human cost which has come with that. Just as the Piper Alpha tragedy more than two decades ago underlined the hazards of North Sea exploration, the Auchengeich disaster showed all too starkly the dangers and risks which miners all over Scotland took for granted as part of their job every time they descended the pits. The excellent work of the people of North Lanarkshire and Auchengeich Miners’ Welfare has provided this new memorial garden and magnificent bronze sculpture. Together, they are a truly fitting tribute to those 47 brave men who died in Auchengeich half a century ago.”



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November 15, 2008

Scotland\’s First Minister does comedy sketch for charity

Scotland’s First Minister does comedy sketch for charity

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

File photo of Alex Salmond

In a reprise of the dour Presbyterian Minister character the Reverend I.M. Jolly, created by the late comedian Rikki Fulton, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, took part in the BBC’s annual charity appeal for Children in Need.

Last year the BBC’s appeal raised approximately £37 million, and by 11pm last night the total raised had exceeded £10 million. The BBC hopes to break last year’s telethon total and final figures will not be available for some time.

The three minute skit was part of BBC Scotland’s presentation of the charity appeal and was met with laughter from the Glasgow studio audience when the pre-recorded message was broadcast. The I.M. Jolly character was well-known in Scotland from having a spot on the Hogmanay (New Year’s eve) schedule; in keeping with Fulton’s terminally depressed character Salmond opened with the catchprase, “Hullo. It’s been a helluva year”.

The sketch gave Salmond an opportunity to be self-deprecating as well as poke fun at his predecessor in the office of First Minister, Jack McConnell, “I would like to pay tribute to the previous incumbent of the first ministership, the Right Reverend Jack McConnell. And I would also like to thank him for the present of fish he left me in Bute House …under the floorboards.” As a further jab at McDonald he joked that he and his wife “had a great time too, replacing all the light bulbs he had taken with him.”

In reference to the fortunes of his party, the SNP, Salmond described by-election campaigns in Glasgow East and Glenrothes as “evangelical crusades” which, “had gone down well in Glasgow East – but “slightly less well in Glenrothes”.

Closing the “Last Call” segment he appealed for donations, “Please dig deep – it’s for the weans.”



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July 26, 2008

SNP wins Glasgow East by-election in Scotland

SNP wins Glasgow East by-election in Scotland

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

UK Parliament constituency of Glasgow East in Scotland

Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate John Mason has won a surprise victory in the Glasgow East by-election in Scotland.

Labour won a majority of 13,507 in the last election, and the constituency has been in Labour Party control in some shape or form since 1922, and the result has been called a “political earthquake”.

In his maiden speech, John Mason said:

Cquote1.svg You have shown that the East End must never be taken for granted, as it has been in the past… Three weeks ago the SNP predicted a political earthquake. This SNP victory is not just a political earthquake, it is off the Richter scale. It is an epic win, and the tremors are being felt all the way to Downing Street. Labour MPs across Scotland will be quaking in their boots. Cquote2.svg

The SNP has a history of upset wins in by-elections in and around Glasgow, including Winnie Ewing in Hamilton in 1967, Margo MacDonald in Govan in 1974, and another in Govan in 1988 by Jim Sillars.

Labour candidate Margaret Curran had been favourite to win, but early on her campaign team was infiltrated by a journalist from The Sunday Times who exposed a number of problems and issues.

SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon has said that this loss for the Labour party is a reflection of both Gordon Brown’s lack of leadership, and her own party’s popularity. “Yes, it was a vote against Gordon Brown, it was a catastrophe for Gordon Brown, but it was also a positive vote for the SNP and our government in Holyrood,” she said. The defeat is one of several in recent months, including fifth place in the Henley and the loss to the Conservatives of Crewe and Nantwich by-elections in England, and the loss of the London Mayoralty. The Glasgow East result is however in Gordon Brown’s proverbial backyard.

First Minister Alex Salmond said there are “no safe seats for the Labour Party anywhere in Scotland”. He also likened the situation to a battle between the SNP run Scottish Government and the Labour run British Government.

Conservative leader David Cameron called for a UK general election. The Conservatives came a distant third in the by-election, overtaking the Liberal Democrats.

Full results

  • John Mason (SNP) 11,277 (43.08%, +26.06%)
  • Margaret Curran (Lab) 10,912 (41.69%, –18.99%)
  • Davena Rankin (C) 1,639 (6.26%, –0.64%)
  • Ian Robertson (LD) 915 (3.50%, –8.35%)
  • Frances Curran (SSP) 555 (2.12%, –1.42%)
  • Tricia McLeish (Solidarity) 512 (1.96%)
  • Eileen Duke (Scottish Green Party) 232 (0.89%)
  • Chris Creighton (Ind) 67 (0.26%)
  • Hamish Howitt (Choice) 65 (0.25%)

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July 7, 2008

Candidates begin campaigning for Glasgow East by-election

Candidates begin campaigning for Glasgow East by-election

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Monday, July 7, 2008

In Scotland, candidates have begun campaigning for the Labour-held constituency of Glasgow East, at which a by-election is due to be held on July 24 on account of former MP David Marshall’s resignation due to stress-related health problems. There are currently 7 candidates in the running to be elected for the Westminster seat. The deadline for nominations is on Wednesday, July 9.

The SNP, who lead a minority administration in the devolved Scottish Parliament, has attacked Labour for Glasgow East’s citizens’ average life expectancy being lower than the Gaza Strip’s.

At the last general election in 2005, Labour won with 60.7% of the vote, holding a 13,507-vote majority over runners up the Scottish National Party (SNP), who gained 17%. However there were delays in their candidate selection process when the frontrunner, George Ryan, dropped out for family reasons. Their nomination consequently went to Margaret Curran, MSP for the Scottish Parliament seat of Glasgow Baillieston and health and wellbeing spokeswoman for the Labour Party’s Scottish arm. Set to start campaigning on Tuesday, she said she is determined to fight poverty and expressed her confidence in the party, claiming that “Labour’s fightback starts right here, right now.”

UK newspaper The Independent has claimed that it has information from MPs and a senior member of the Labour government, which states that they will seek to replace prime minister Gordon Brown if the party do not win the by-election. Labour MP Ian Gibson, who held a majority of over 5,000 votes in his constituency of Norwich North told the paper that “the by-election in Glasgow is crucial. If he cannot win in his own backyard, things are desperate. I think he might go voluntarily.”

Glasgow East by-election
Party Candidate
Scottish Socialists Frances Curran
Labour Margaret Curran
Scottish Greens Dr. Eileen Duke
Solidarity Tricia McLeish
Scottish Nationals John Mason
Conservative Davena Rankin
Liberal Democrat Ian Robertson

Scottish first minister and SNP party leader Alex Salmond began the party’s campaign today alongside candidate John Mason, who is a councillor in the city. “There’s a political earthquake on the way in Glasgow East,” Mr. Salmond told reporters at a community centre in the constituency earlier, claiming that the area’s below-average statistics were a “condemnation of 50 years of Labour Party representation and Labour Party failure”. Mr. Mason also attacked Labour, saying that “Labour MPs are so out of touch they voted to increase tax by another 10p.” He is basing the SNP campaign around acting on rising energy costs.

Scottish newspaper The Herald reported that the by-election is “expected to be a two-horse race between the Nationalists and Labour,” but other parties have also been out campaigning:

The Liberal Democrat Party, third-place in 2005, have selected mathematics teacher Ian Robertson as their candidate. He will begin campaigning on Tuesday. Meanwhile the Conservatives, who came fourth at the general election with 6.7%, are aiming high, party leader David Cameron visiting the constituency today to launch his campaign which is themed on “social decay”, and trying to “repair the damage” of Britain’s “broken society”. He said the party would solve problems like knife crime and poverty by “treating not just the symptoms, but the causes too.”

Also vying for the seat are Solidarity, who selected council worker Tricia McLeish, the Scottish Socialist Party, with former MSP Frances Curran, whose campaign begins on Tuesday, and the Scottish Green Party whose Eileen Duke, a retired GP, will fight the election.



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April 2, 2008

Bertie Ahern to resign as Irish premier

Bertie Ahern to resign as Irish premier – Wikinews, the free news source

Bertie Ahern to resign as Irish premier

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bertie Ahern

Bertie Ahern has today announced that he intends to stand down from the office of Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) on the 6th of May. Mr. Ahern made the announcement today at a press conference in Government Buildings in Dublin. Ahern’s imminent resignation comes on the back of over a year of controversy surrounding payments received by him in the early 1990’s while he was serving as Minister of Finance. He has been forced to give evidence on these payments to a tribunal of inquiry and his evidence there is ongoing.

Mr. Ahern has been a TD (MP) for 31 years and has been Taoiseach for the past 11 years, making him the second longest serving Irish Premier after Eamonn de Valera. He won a record 3rd term in office following the general election last year. He currently leads a coalition of his own party Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats and various independent politicians.

Ahern noted, “Never, in all the time I’ve served in public life, have I put my personal interests ahead of the public good.” Further going on to say, “I have never received a corrupt payment, and I’ve never done anything to dishonor any office I have held.” Adding, “I know in my heart of hearts I’ve done no wrong and wronged no one.”

Táiniste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister of Finance Brian Cowen is expected to succeed Mr. Ahern as both Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil.

Reaction

Many Irish and British politicians have responded to decision to resign and made note of his work in Ireland’s economy and the Northern Ireland peace process.

Cquote1.svg Bertie Ahern will be remembered as one of the outstanding politicians of his generation both nationally and internationally. Cquote2.svg

—Irish President Mary McAleese

Irish President Mary McAleese said of Ahern, “His contributions to our thriving economy and to peace in Northern Ireland were hugely important and he deserves every credit for the work he has done.” McAleese added, “Bertie Ahern will be remembered as one of the outstanding politicians of his generation both nationally and internationally.”

Irish Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore welcomed the decision stating, “I came to the conclusion many months ago that Mr. Ahern would find it impossible to continue in office because of the mounting conflicts and contradictions between the statements he originally made about his financial affairs and the evidence uncovered by the Mahon tribunal.”

Gilmore noted that Ahern made “remarkable achievements” during his tenure including “huge personal and political effort” in the Northern Ireland peace process. Finally Gilmore added, “On a personal level, I wish Mr. Ahern well in his retirement.”

Opposition leader and leader of Fine Gael, Enda Kenny noted that the work of the government was being “distracted” by events of the Mahon tribunal and that “set standards and principles” for others that he has “not applied to himself until now.”

Kenny added, “I know that personally this is a very sad day for the Taoiseach and I want to wish him well personally on his retirement as Taoiseach and for his future life. I have to say that this decision was inevitable. The Taoiseach here has bowed to the inevitable based on the weight of his own evidence at the tribunal.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams noted, “He is justifiably proud of the fact that he was the Taoiseach who was in place and who, with the British prime minister and the rest of us, brought about the Good Friday agreement and he deserves our thanks for that. And he deserves our gratitude for that I mean, it was a collective effort, but clearly as the Taoiseach of the day he is due appreciation for that.”

Mark Durkan, the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, said “When he came to office, he inherited the peace process and the talks process and ensured that their opportunity for all the people of Ireland was maximized. His commitment to the north has been shown in his constant involvement either in implementing the Agreement or in initiatives to secure its implementation.” He further added, “This good work involved not just high profile, high wire negotiations, but a lot of diligent private engagement with many interests.”

Cquote1.svg A remarkable man with a remarkable record of achievement. Cquote2.svg

—Tony Blair, former British prime minister

Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister said of Ahern, “He will always be remembered for his crucial role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland, for transforming relations between Britain and the Irish Republic and for presiding over a sustained period of economic and social advance in Ireland.” Blair further added, “He will have, deservedly, a central place in his nation’s political history and much more widely.” He said of Ahern, “A remarkable man with a remarkable record of achievement.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown noted, “Bertie Ahern has been an outstanding statesman, and has made an historic contribution in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland, transforming Ireland’s relationship with the UK, and playing a key role in the development of a forward looking and dynamic Europe.” Brown added, “The UK could not have had a better partner.”

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said, His political career is one of great achievement. He was a key player in bringing about the historic Good Friday Agreement, and I am in no doubt his significant contribution to the peace efforts and devolution will be a fitting and lasting legacy for his 30 years in politics.”

Salmond added, “He has never failed to impress me – as taoiseach – and in his previous and wider roles in Irish politics. The accomplishments of the Irish Celtic Tiger economy demonstrate the advantage of being a small independent nation in Europe.”



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February 17, 2008

English town wants to move to Scotland

English town wants to move to Scotland – Wikinews, the free news source

English town wants to move to Scotland

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Berwick-upon-Tweed from across the river.

Two recent polls have shown that the residents of the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, England would prefer to live in Scotland.

Located 57 miles from Edinburgh, Scotland and over 300 miles from London, Berwick was a frequent bone of contention in the border wars between the independent kingdoms of England and Scotland, changing hands at least 13 times between 1147 and 1482. Under the Treaty of Perpetual Peace agreed in 1502 by the English King Henry VII and the Scottish King James IV, Berwick was declared to be “of the Kingdom of England but not in it”. This resulted in Berwick having to be named individually in legislation until the British Parliament passed the Wales and Berwick Act in 1746 which stated that unless specially specified otherwise, the term “England” in laws included Berwick and Wales; in 1853 the declaration of war on Russia specifically mentioned Berwick, but the 1856 Treaty of Paris did not, leading to the urban legend that the town was still at war with Russia until the Mayor signed a peace treaty with a Soviet diplomat in 1966.

Since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, Berwickers have noted that Scottish residents receive about £1500 more government expenditure each year than English residents, including free care for elderly people and free university tuition, both of which have to be paid for in England.

The town already has a strong Scottish influence – famously both its football team and rugby team play in the Scottish leagues, a minority of the town’s banks are Scottish, and the Church of Scotland has a large congregation in the town.

A poll conducted for the ITV television programme, Tonight, to be broadcast on February 18 has shown that 60% (1,182 for, 775 against) of those polled would prefer the town to be in Scotland, while a poll for The Berwick Advertiser newspaper showed 78% in favour. This has resulted in a motion being proposed by Scottish National Party MSP Christine Grahame, calling on the Scottish Government to negotiate for Berwick’s “restoration” to Scotland. A spokesman for Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said “The Scottish Government has no territorial demands on our friends in England. But it’s clear most people in Berwick would rather be part of SNP-governed Scotland than Labour-run England.”



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May 4, 2007

Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Debating chamber in Scottish Parliament building
Image: Pschemp.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which supports Scottish independence from the UK, has pulled off a historic, albeit narrow, victory in yesterday’s Scottish elections.

In the third Scottish election since the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the left of centre SNP beat the ruling Labour Party by a single seat. It won 47 seats, while Labour won 46, down from the current 50.

It is the first time since the parliament opened that Labour has been beaten, and the first time in fifty years that they have not had a majority of Scottish constituency seats in any election.

SNP leader Alex Salmond declared: “Scotland has changed for good and forever.” He added that the Labour Party had “lost the moral authority to govern Scotland.”

The current First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell of Labour said: “While I recognise that the SNP are the largest party by the narrowest of margins, Alex Salmond must himself recognise that he does not have a majority in the Scottish Parliament or anywhere near a majority of the vote.”

It is believed that many factors caused the Labour vote to slump and the SNP vote to rise, including the war in Iraq and the renewal of Trident, which are both unpopular in Scotland.

The election also raises a serious dilemma for the Labour party’s Gordon Brown, a Scotsman widely tipped to succeed Tony Blair as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. Brown is vehement in his support of the Union, and is a Westminster (London parliament) MP for Kirkcaldy. An SNP government in Scotland will find itself facing the very Labour party it beat in power in London.

Turnout was up 2% on the last Scottish election.

Controversy

The election was highly controversial, not least for having three separate systems, running in tandem –

  • A constituency vote, which was “first past the post”, and for a candidate.
  • A regional list vote, which was additional member system, and was for a party.
  • A local authority (council) vote, which was Single Transferable Vote, and in which parties could field more than one candidate in a ward.

The three systems, along with difficulties with electronic counting meant that maybe as many as one hundred thousand ballot papers were “spoiled”. In addition, there was also huge problems with the postal vote.

Due to the extensive computer problems, votes had to be cancelled early on Friday morning, and postponed to later in the day.

Many other problems beset the election, with a helicopter from the Western Isles constituency being held up by fog, and a boat carrying ballot papers from the Isle of Arran, breaking down in the Firth of Clyde.

Other parties

In addition to the SNP and Labour, the other parties results’ were as follows –

  • Conservative and Unionist – 17 members.
  • Liberal Democrats – 16 members.
  • Scottish Greens – 2 members.
  • Independent – 1 (Margo MacDonald, formerly of the SNP)

The Scottish Socialist Party, Solidarity and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party were all wiped out.

In order to establish a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP must form a coalition with one or more of these parties. The Liberal Democrats, who were in coalition with the Labour party in the first two terms of the Scottish parliament, are a possibility.

Other parties that campaigned for seats in Holyrood included the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the British National Party (BNP), the Scottish Unionist Party, the Scottish Socialist Labour Party, the Christian Peoples Alliance and the Scottish Christian Party.

Gains and losses

The Scottish National Party, while not gaining the landslide it had wished for, made breakthroughs in Glasgow (Govan), Edinburgh (Edinburgh East) and also took both seats in Dundee.

The Liberal Democrats gained seats in Dunfermline West, but their losses mean the number of seats they hold is unchanged.

Wales and England

While the Scottish election was going on, the Welsh were also having their election for the Welsh Assembly. Plaid Cymru gained a seat from Labour at Llanelli. The Conservatives had their best showing since the Assembly began.

The final results show that the membership for the new assembly will be:-

Labour 26 -4 Plaid Cymru 15 +3 Conservatives 12 +1 Liberal Democrats 6 – Independent 1 –

In England, the elections were more minor, dealing only with local authorities. However they can be an important indicator of how battleground seats might go in the General Election, expected in 2-3 years time. The Conservatives made the greatest gains, but did not make the breakthrough in Northern England that they would have hoped. The Liberal Democrats did not make the advances that they had hoped, and stayed at more or less the same level. Elsewhere, Cornish regionalists Mebyon Kernow gained an extra seat bringing their total to seven, and the Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Liberal Party (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats) gained seats in several areas of England.

Sources

Wikipedia
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Scottish Parliament election, 2007
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