A Sense of Belonging
By Mike Small
This morning Scotland is a pariah state, disenfranchised, with a proscribed party on the verge of a landslide victory. You think the union survives that?
Ed Miliband last night effectively cut Jim Murphy loose by declaring he’d rather see a Tory government in power than accept the support of a party he shares much in common with.
By saying: “If the price of having a Labour government is a coalition or a deal with the SNP then it is not going to happen” he may be playing hard-ball to appease swithering southern voters, but he’s given the death-knell to Scottish Labour, probably after ruthlessly assessing they were near-death anyway.
He’s also colluded in sending out a signal to Scotland. It’s received loud and clear.
The problem is that the democratic ‘crisis’ we’ve been hearing shrill hysterical whining about for the last few weeks isn’t the real crisis we are faced with. England has no democratic crisis, being able to ALWAYS elect the government it wants.
The real democratic crisis we are facing is: what happens if the polls are right and Scotland elects 59 SNP MPs and faces another Tory government? That takes us into very new and potentially very dangerous territory. This would be a crisis of legitimacy like no other we’ve seen before. It’s unclear that the slow-footed unionists would have the nous to cope, or even that the temperate and measured SNP would know how to act.
A parlour game of ‘Who would be the Secretary of State for Scotland in a Tory free country?’ last week elicited ‘Annabel Goldie’ and ‘Michael Forsyth’. But it’s no laughing matter.
The message couldn’t be any clearer. From the days (not so long ago) when Ross Kemp and John Barrowman pleaded for us to stay are far behind, and Scotland is being edged out of the political process day by day. There’s an incredible sense that we don’t belong here any more.
To put it simply: how we vote won’t matter.
This is an English election now.