The formation of the new Scottish Government is under way, following the SNP’s landslide success in the Scottish Parliament elections earlier this month.
While many predicted that the SNP were going to increase their vote, few could have predicted the scale of their success, let alone the SNP themselves. That was highlighted by the story of new SNP MP Mark McDonald turning up to the count in jeans and a sweater, so certain was he that he would not be elected!The Scottish Parliament chamber
It’s fascinating to try and analyse why their victory was on quite such a scale.
Firstly there were those who believed that the SNP had done a very credible job in their first term as a minority government . There was a feeling that they deserved a second session in government. Certainly I know quite a number of people, who are not supporters of the SNP, but believed that the SNP was the best bet for government and Alex Salmond was the best option for First Minister.
Some politicians have pounced on this, suggesting that lots of people who voted SNP did not realise the party’s ultimate goal is to re-establish Scotland’s independence 300+ years after the Acts of Union.
What rot. They may not want to vote ‘yes’ to independence in the referendum. But, it is an insult not to credit the electorate with enough intelligence to know that the SNP stands for independence.
Then there is the whole sleaze problem with Westminster.
It was easy for Scots to want to remain part of the union when the UK parliament in Westminster was something to look up to.
But, the widespread expenses scandals have revealed the shocking reality that a number of our politicians were not in Westminster for the high ideals of working for the electorate. Too many were there to make a quick buck at our expense and they did not mind breaking the law, let alone any morality code, to do so. As a result there has been scrutiny of ‘legitimate’ expenses and many of us are unhappy with what we see.
There is also the realisation that we have been lied to over the years. To try to quash Scottish nationalism in the latter decades of the 20th century, we were repeatedly warned that the Scottish economy was weak and that we needed the union to keep giving us handouts.
Only recently, under the 30-year rule was the truth revealed. At the same time the politicians were telling us our economy was a basket case, the UK government’s economists were writing confidential reports (that were only made public 30 years later) stating that the economy of an independent Scotland would “tend to be in chronic surplus to a quite embarrassing degree” and that our currency would be the strongest in Europe, with the possible exception of Norway.
Is it any wonder that factors like the Westminster expenses scandal, the lies of previous governments and the continuing condescending and patronising attitude shown to Scotland has caused the people of Scotland to lose trust in Westminster politicians?
Against that background perhaps the real surprise is that the SNP landslide didn’t happen sooner.