If the Edinburgh Pandas do give birth to a single cub – there will be as many Pandas in Scotland as there are Labour, Liberal and Conservative MPs combined.
But how much of a tizzy should we get into about this (sensational) result and how should the UK Parliament respond?
First the result is a freak result from our lottery election system.
But to get 50% of the vote is pretty shattering.
So there is now talk of throwing more red meat at the Scottish Tiger in the form of even more devolution – such as full fiscal autonomy. It might just make the Tiger hungrier! Assuming of course that the government is right in assuming that everyone in Scotland is a separatist and can only be appeased by more devolution. And to mix the metaphors the tail would be wagging the dog.
We need to pause, take a deep breath and consider what is going on. Last year 45% voted for independence; now 50% vote for the SNP. Now that is a little worrying – if everyone who voted for the SNP was genuinely voting for independence (even though Nicola Sturgeon said it was not a vote for independence – wait for next year).
Some may have been voting to give the old parties a good kicking – and succeeded. Others may have been more focused and expressing frustration with Westminster and all it stands for. Their vote could be just as much a final frustrated call for reform as a call for independence.
Well south of the border many seem incapable of realising what is different about Scotland.
- A National Identity
- A National Parliament that is not as dysfunctional as Westminster
- It is more representative
- It is more responsive
- It is better behaved
- It is comparatively untarnished by scandals
- A history of a variety of Administrations that have done at worst a reasonable job (at least compared to most Westminster Governments)
- A voting system that takes account of voters’ preferences, where the vast majority of votes count, and
- A competent party that is anti-Westminster
So is it a surprise that half the people vote SNP?
(Imagine if the North of England was to develop a regional identity – we are just as frustrated and fed-up with the Whitehall-Westminster system. But we do not currently have an alternative.)
But what might happen if Westminster reformed:
- House of Lords – radical reform: either a genuine Senate representing the regions or a pool of experts charged with commenting on but not blocking legislation.
- Voting System reform: so the vast majority of votes count, the Commons represents the diversity of opinion in the country, and most people have a representative with they can politically identify. (It can be done – and is done elsewhere)
- A parliament able to hold the government properly to account
- Better behaviour
- Devolution (of non national functions) to all parts of the country so that Westminster is not seen as so controlling.
Or is it too late?
That a 50% vote lead to an SNP landslide (~95% of seats) is not so much a comment on the SNP juggernaut as a comment on the stupendously stupid voting system – again a stupidity unique to Westminster in the UK mix of parliaments and assemblies.