Podcast: Making sense of the electoral fall-out

Robin McAlpine

A week on from the election that everyone won (and lost) and its implications are becoming clear. The UK is virtually leadership, the Tories continue attempting to cobble a deal with the DUP and in Scotland there is much debate about the future direction of the independence movement.

Derek Bateman

Robin McAlpine (main picture), head of the think tank Common Weal, arrived at Planet Newsnet to discuss all this and more with podcast host Derek Bateman (left) and journalist and TV producer Maurice Smith.

McAlpine has been involved in the publication of various papers that envisage how a future independent Scotland might work. He believes independence needs broad support before a second poll is called. A fascinating discussion of the options facing Scotland, and the Scottish parties, in the wake of an extraordinary election campaign that failed to resolve the UK’s political position, only days before Brexit negotiations with the EU are supposed to begin.

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  1. Interesting discussion. What happened to the SNP vote?
    1. The SNP gave no good reason for many Yes voters to come out and vote. Giving up campaigning for independence at elections is a major strategic political error. What is wrong with the SNP saying – if they win a majority of seats they would then give notice to Westminster that the union of parliaments is over? Constitutionally the union began with a Scottish majority of MP’s and can end the same way.
    2. Soft ‘yes’ voters on the Left moved to Corbyn, a principled leader with a good manifesto.
    3. The rural vote gave the Tories and their Lib Dem friends their seats. Scots ural anti-independence voters were significantly boosted by ongoing in-migration of people from rest-UK (who are culturally No voters), which according to the census reaches above 30% in some rural areas and up to 50%.

    Conclusion: SNP must first and foremost campaign for independence at elections, get the majority, and give Westminster our notice that the gemme’s ower. They could do it now, if they were really nationalists! They have secured Scottish electoral majorities at Westminster, Holyrood and local government, and seen the Scottish EU remain vote ignored, a mandated indyref2 refused, and EVEL brought in, yet the SNP still won’t use all of this as sufficient justification to claim independence. Bizarre.

  2. Given the parlous condition of BritState as its leaders begin negotiations with an EU holding the best cards, a Hard-Nat/Alt.Indy movement might well inflict major damage on the ‘United Kingdom’, toppling this relic of colonialism into history.
    But that’s fantasy. The conservative leadership of the SNP seem in shock so Scotland’s voice is silenced at a time when it ought to be stentorian.
    Lesson? We need a national movement not under the SNP’s shadow with articulate voices to put its case. The independence cause should not a monologue.

    • “The independence cause should not a monologue.” – This is absolutely correct and I’ve been saying this for years. How can we expect to win a plebiscite when by default we’re eliminating a chunk of the electorate with party political rhetoric?

      • ‘no monologue’ , but the SNP right or wrong brigade who may resort to abuse when ‘challenged’ present a nasty side which often bullies legitimate and democratic discourse off the national stage.
        ‘Cybernattery’ aimed at our own side by some bloggers may turn people off.
        Independence transcends party. Those who support it should be encouraged and not have to experience harangues for not towing party line or questioning party strategy. The SNP can exhibit a certain schoolmarmish streak.
        That aside, the National party is still the only major party favouring the return of our national sovereignty. For the moment we’re stuck with it. After independence we can all go our ideologico-existential ways. We’ll be free!

  3. Alf, we’re talking about a party that talks a great game but often little else.
    Their entire stance is one of “don’t scare the horses”, getting bogged down in issues of currency, costs, defence, even keeping the Royal family ffs.

    Contrast that with the gung-ho lies and brass neck of the Leave campaign, which hasn’t costed a thing and masks all else in narrow prejudice…. I’m not saying the SNP or independence movement should behave like them, but a little bravado wouldn’t do any harm.

    SNP are too conservative, too timorous, too damned keen on “respectability”

  4. The FM had already said she was going to put forward the argument for Independence but the GE happened first, before that narrative could be put into effect.

  5. What is a problem are those who think they can dip in and out of supporting pro-Ind parties, they may well end up with no choice.
    Most sadly are the young Yes who think Corbyn can give the answer, all they are buying into there is be stuck with the rusty, creaking seesaw of Westminster, and they will be the ones living with the regret longest. The Tories will get back in and continue from where they left off.
    Corbyn lost in England by a lot of seats. He also lost in Scotland.

    • “What is a problem are those who think they can dip in and out of supporting pro-Ind parties”

      Every time you cast your vote you have a choice and that choice is yours to make. Scotland has seen 2 years where a groundbreaking 56 SNP MPs encompassing a 50% of the vote and that could well have declared UDI if they so had chosen, were used as punchbags by the unionists.

      I must admit I did not find the spectacle pleasant to watch. I do not take gladly being told that my democratic vote and that of my fellow citizens counts for nothing and that we must obey our masters in the neighbour country. So much so that I do not longer regard Westminster elections as relevant for Scotland, at least until the time the SNP is prepared to tackle the bull of WEstminster by the horns and start to pull their real weight around. Why? Because for as long as the SNP are happy to be used as punching bags, nothing is going to change for Scotland. England will continue to elect the UK governments it wants, will continue to dictate over us and gerrymandering with Scotland’s resources for its own advantage.

      I personally made a resolution on 19th September 2014 after the announcement of EVEL that from then on I would only vote for pro-independence parties or would not bother voting at all. But I will not vote for pro-independence parties gratuitously. I will not give them my vote unless they convince me that they are fighting for independence 24/7, 7 days a week, 4 and a half weeks a month and 12 months of the year, every year of their mandate. I will most certainly not vote for a party that is standing on the breaks of independence attempting to slowing down its course rather than accelerating it.

      For me Scotland is on a hurry. Scotland’s assets, economy, demographics and future is a stake under unionist governments that put the interests of the English electorate ahead of everybody else.

      Brexit is going to be catastrophic for Scotland not only economically, politically and socially but also democratically, because it sets a regrettable precedent. It is sending the message loud and clear that Scotland’s democratic vote counts for absolutely nothing and I find that completely unacceptable.

      I am actually shocked that the Scot Gov, with a pro-independence party as the SNP in charge and what were 56 MPs at Westmnister, is allowing this to happen. This is not what I expected to see to be frank. I expected them to put up a fight and say “NO, you are not taking us out of the EU because you don’t have a democratic mandate in Scotland to do that”. No ifs, no buts.

      I am sorry to be this pessimistic, but I see the brexit negotiations as the charade of the century and worse, as the beginning of the end for Scotland’s democracy.

      • If only the SNP wid tak tent o whit ye say Maria. However even the SNP, who you would expect to be constitutionally aware, ignore the fact that this supposed union with England is merely a union of parliaments, i.e. an administrative union. Our individual nations were never dissolved, and in addition Scotland’s sovereignty remains with its people, never with Westminster or the 600 MP’s representing other nations there. And, as the union of parliaments was initiated constitutionally through a simple majority of Scotland’s MP’s, representing the sovereign will of Scotland’s people (well, not so even then), so it can be ended in the same way. Nicola did not use her majority in 2015, but she still has a majority today, and she should use it to give notice to end the union of parliaments, and to present Scotland’s independence to the UN, who may or may not request a ratification referendum. She has been given Scottish electoral majorities (sufficient for independence) at 3 levels of governance – Westminster, Holyrood, and across local government – and she should use them, before she loses them.

  6. Meanwhile, our remaining resources are being squandered on Nuclear Weapons/Olympic Games/Channel Tunnel, and not social provision for ALL residents of Scotland.

    My knitting is well and truly ripped 🙁


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