Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections


Nicola Sturgeon has threatened to demand a second independence referendum unless David Cameron reverses his welfare cuts and halts plans to renew Trident.
The Guardian, 18 September 2015 : Sturgeon: scrap cuts and Trident or face another vote on independence

Cameron, however, dismissed her challenge. The prime minister said the nationalist quest for separation was an “obsession” that ignored the clear and decisive vote in last year’s referendum for Scotland to remain part of the UK with a strong Scottish parliament. ibid

Is the requirement for constitutional stability such that the conditions for a referendum can only occur “once a generation”?

But if the Westminster Parliament consistently votes for bills which are not wanted in Scotland, how long until Scots decide that they have “had enough”?

This week in the House of Commons:

Coming Up:

  • Trident Renewal: UK for: ?:?, Scotland Against: ?:?
  • EU Exit: UK leave: ?%:?%, Scotland Stay: ?:?

The Conservatives will possibly argue that 1:57 does not represent opinion in Scotland – but that is the result of the electoral system that the Conservatives have chosen.

The Conservatives claim “the country voted for their programme” at the last election.

UK General Election 2015 Vote Share

I think there is an identity issue which the Tories (and possibly English Labour) fail to understand; their primary identity is British (rather than English). In Scotland I think many more people’s primary identity is Scottish (rather than British).

Voting at UK General Elections (Scotland)

Data from BBC

A series of votes where Westminster apparently votes heavily for a proposition, yet Scottish MPs vote heavily, say 3:56, against, will inevitably undermine the Union.

It is unpalatable but when a part of a country with a distinct asserted identity consistently feels differently to the rest of the country on important issues, there are only two options:

  1. Fully devolved the contentious issues, or
  2. Independence

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2 thoughts on “Neverendum?

  1. Though not really in favour of breaking up the UK, I would rather it happen than to continue to send more and more money north of the border to appease the ambitions of various politicians with fishy names.

    As long as such a break does not involve a golden goodbye, and giving away oilfields unconditionally, then go ahead. All the initial research, exploration, engineering and extraction costs have been paid for with British money, so our politicians would be unwise to base the allocation purely on location.

    • I too do not wish to see the break-up of the UK. Principally because it threatens my identity, which is more British than English, and I struggle to redefine “British” as relating to “England Wales and Northern Ireland”. (Yet in the 1920s we had to adjust to British no longer relating to “Great Britain and Ireland” – what school maps used to refer to as the “British Isles”).

      I live quite close to what could become a “live” international border – and quite possibly end up the “wrong side” of the EU border. I don’t like that as an idea. We are currently seeing in South East Europe the sort of problems that arise with ill-defined porous borders. I don’t want to see a razor wire border.

      I fear that any break-up would not be a well-mannered “conscious uncoupling”. There will probably be disagreements over oil, debt, currency and migration policies. However few people in the end choose to stay in a relationship that they see as non-performing due to fears over a fractious divorce.

      It takes two to tango and Cameron seems intent on treading on the toes of the Scots at every opportunity. I suspect that he quite genuinely does not understand. Unfortunately I think he sees no need to understand and consequently has no intention to understand.

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