Err, how?

Theresa May’s surprise plan to hold a general election on June 8 means very different things in Scotland to the rest of the UK. While it is hard to see a bad outcome for the Conservatives in England, the prime minister is certainly taking a risk north of the border.

The Tories only have one seat there.

What risk?

23 comments on “Err, how?

  1. I would have said it was an opportunity in Scotland. A chance to say: if you support Brexit and the Union, vote Tory*.

    And as you say, only one seat to lose.

    *although I might still go for: “Surely you can’t let Wee Krankie turn Scotland into East Germany, are you fucking mental or what?’ instead….

  2. @MC

    Shirley that’s Corbyn’s pitch to the scots? Appended with “Let me do it instead!”, naturally.

  3. The risk of having another couple of Tory MPs? Wee Willie Crankie sees it as a direct provocation & leads a ravening band of tartan clad demented porridge wogs south of the Wall to harrow the northern counties, stealing cattle & glittery baubles. Worse, in the film Mel Gibson again plays the lead role by acting in a trench whilst the rest of the cast stand on boxes. Reviewers comment on the eerie likeness.

  4. Because in Zoomerland every result is an endorsement for independence. It’s only a risk if you don’t understand that. Credit to May for knowing that and facing up to them.

    SNP keep all their seats? Endorsement for independence.

    SNP lose seats? Endorsement for independence – Scotland isn’t getting the government it voted for.

    The SNP are fanatics. They’ve wanted independence through the Great Depression, WWII, joining the EU, leaving the EU….They are never going to stop.

    Time for tactical voting to get as many Nat MPs out. Even if that means voting Labour.

  5. The SNP doesn’t actually want independence. It wants the country to be a prefecture of the Socialist European Union, lacking even the slightest influence never mind any actual power. A Scotchland for wee babbies.

  6. Typical article by a Scottish journalist, where only Scotland matters. Hence whether or not there is a Scottish Conservative MP is deemed to be an issue of legitimacy, irrespective of the fact that the Scots voted to be in the union and the union returned a Conservative government.

  7. If the Scots Nats wanted independence they’d just declare it, like every other tinpot nationalist movement over the last quarter century. it’s not as if anyone thinks we’ll march an army north to subdue them.

    Instead, they ask the gates English for permission to ask voters the question. Nah, they’re not serious about independence.

  8. There are at least four risks I see, if you look at it from a Conservative & Unionist point of view (ie Sindy would be a Bad Thing).

    It undermines May’s argument that indyref must be postponed until Brexit is complete due to the “uncertainty” a vote would produce.

    More importantly, the SNP will still expect to win the vast majority (though with less near a clean sweep this time) of Scottish seats, benefitting from the three-way split in Unionist votes, and they will do so on an explicitly pro-indyref ticket. This will give the SNP a hefty democratic mandate for indyref2, something they currently lack. See eg the teasing they get about how short “once in a generation” is, while the SNP’s argument that their victory in Scottish elections with a manifesto allowing for indyref2 if circumstances change relies on their own leadership’s interpretation of “changed circumstances” – now we get to hear the decision of Scottish voters. The bigger a mandate the SNP procure, the harder it will be to keep kicking the referendum can down the road, and the risks of doing so – popular resentment at Westminster and the Tories “denying us our say on our own future” – increase. To be fair, Scottish voters generally seem to have referendum fatigue at the moment, but for those with the appetite to fight one this adds another “Westminster will always ignore Scotland’s wishes” grievance to their arsenal.

    But not only does May risk losing control of the timing (her theory seems to be that the longer indyref2 can be postponed, the better the chance of independence being rejected – the economics of Sindy post-Brexit look particularly unappealing) an election also changes the circumstances it will take place in.

    For one thing it will likely make May a powerful PM with a strong majority won on her own Brexit programme, while also losing the image she had previously been trying to cultivate as an arch-pragmatist – a former, at least nominal, Remainer prepared to implement the people’s democratic will – who would put unity and the national interest above party-political advantage. Well, this election is nakedly for political advantage and if all goes to plan is going to mark her out as a Tory PM (winning mostly on English votes) rather than a “for everyone” PM. There are a lot of Scottish voters who will find this makes life in the UK less palatable, particularly the thought of May having a huge majority at her disposal. (Though ironically a large majority may serve to moderate a May premiership if it leaves her less beholden to backbench die-hards to get legislation through.)

    For another, though Tories may rejoice at the apparent evisceration of Labour as a national electoral force, it doesn’t help the unionist position in Scotland if there seems no prospect of Labour returning to office within a decade, and yet the unionist majority in Scotland depends on people who were traditionally Labour voters. The Scottish Labour party occasionally debates whether it should give up on the UK Labour party altogether (akin to the Bavaria-vs-Rest-of-Germany CSU/CDU distinction) and even whether it should adopt a position of neutrality on the Union and field pro-indy candidates. If Scottish Labour head along that road, perhaps encouraged to do so by a Labour wipe-out both sides of the border, then in the long run the unionist majority in Scotland looks very fragile indeed. (On the other hand, an election now prevents Corbyn completing a left-wing takeover of UK Labour’s apparatus, staff and constitution, and a new leader may reinvigorate the party in the polls within a couple of years if May gets bogged down with Brexit. So again, this has the potential to cut both ways.)

  9. Worth noting that in last GE, Sturgeon repeatedly asked voters who were not SNP supporters to “lend their votes” to the SNP to get a strong Scottish Westminster representation and that a vote for them on that loan principle was emphatically not a vote for independence.

    Personally it seemed transparent crap to me at the time and I hope those Unionists who believed her and voted SNP will do the decent thing this time.

  10. @BraveFart: exactly, and now that the SNP will be standing on an explicit second referendum ticket, I suspect a lot of those people who assumed that independence was off the agenda for a generation, and that they could safely vote for ‘More stuff for Scotland within the Union’ will not vote for an IndyRef2.

    I would expect the SNP vote to drop to closer to 40%, pretty much mirroring what I suspect would be the result in a second independence voye, namely a high 50s to low 40s vote to stay in the Union, maybe even 60/40.

    If the SNP don’t get 50% + on an explicit new referendum platform, and all their opponents are Unionists, then they don’t have a mandate for a new referendum, regardless of how many MPs they get via FPTP.

  11. Dear Mr Worstall

    Perhaps the risk is she might win too many seats. If she is as determined to lose the election as Mr Cameron seemed to be for the last two, Scotland could upset her plans.

    Losing the election would be perfect for EUphiliacs, and Theresa May is a remaindeer.

    DP

  12. @BraveFart:

    At a local constituency level, I’m told Ian Murray is an excellent hard-working MP.

  13. Why are we presuming that TM is dead against another Indyref? Losing Scotland would be a boost for rUK. And also incidentally her party’s position in Westminster.

    Expect IndyRef2 in exchange for EVEL or similar.

  14. “Losing Scotland would be a boost for rUK”

    This is why I utterly despise the nationalists. They’ve driven a wedge between us and trying to sell a view of Scotland as somehow morally superior and different.

    People in Scotland share the same views, language, culture as the rest of the UK. There are small regional differences of course, but we are a pretty homogeneous lot in the UK.

    A lot of people oppose free immigration because some immigrants don’t integrate, yet are happy to see the back of a fully integrated part of the UK. If you want rid of Scotland then also cast off Wales, NI, Cornwall, the North. Retreat into your London economic powerhouse, but don’t then start talking about British culture being destroyed by immigration*.

    I’m Glaswegian, adopted-Edinburgh, Scottish, British. There is no contradiction in any of this. I’m curious that the SNP are trying to destroy the UK and people elsewhere are saying “fuck em”. My job, way of life, my family’s, friends’, colleagues’ – all put at risk.

    *abacab – I’m not saying this is your view, but your comment has prompted an incoherent rant…I’m trying to debate cybernats on about four different forums this morning, so hopefully those familiar with my views will read between the lines and make allowances…

  15. @GlenDorran,

    Fair enough. But economically the point stands, and the SNP have turned me from a staunch Unionist (because tradition and shared history and … err, reasons) into someone who would be happy if they just bogged off and left the rest of us alone.

    Fundamentally, as I’ve got older I’ve reduced my philosophy to: democracy good, for better or worse, and self-determination good, for better or worse.

  16. We saw peak SNP in 2015. Unionists felt then that they could safely vote for the SNP to get more goodies/power for Scotland. That moment has passed and Sturgeon knows it and fears it. Her fox has been shot.

  17. abacab:

    But we’ve *had* the self-determination. In 2014 the overwhelming majority of Scots said they wanted to stay in the UK (either by voting No or not voting at all).

    2015 GE resulted in a lot of SNP MPs, but again the majority of Scots did not vote for them.

    2016 Holyrood: same story.

    For all their complaints about voting systems, the SNP have done pretty well out of them and used them to their advantage to try and say that they speak for Scotland.

    “…if they just bogged off and left the rest of us alone” – which is what the majority of Scots want: for the SNP to bog off and leave us alone.

  18. @GlenDorran “People in Scotland share the same views, language, culture as the rest of the UK. There are small regional differences of course, but we are a pretty homogeneous lot in the UK.”.

    Absolutely. Despite what the cretins in the SNP claim, we are pretty much the same across the country. The magic Scottishness that is somehow going to lead to a glorious future of prosperity if only we can get shot of Westminster (SNP code for English) does not actually exist.

    The problem for Scotland is that on an equal footing it loses out ; it is inherently more expensive to run because it is far more sparsely populated.

  19. @GlenDorran ; I think the regular abuse of England and the perpetual whining and so on is a deliberate tactic and it’s working ; people now associate these idiots with “Scotland” and more on more people like @abccab are getting fed up with them.

    I also think like many nationalists this will be a boom and bust scenario, and this is the peak power time for the SNP ; if they do well in June it will be very difficult to deny IndyRef2 ; but if there is a slide it may be the beginning of a big slide.

  20. “. . . the prime minister is certainly taking a risk north of the border.”

    These people must think that complete dullards are normally the sort that can take the PM’s slot.

    From what I’ve seen, PM’s only call for an early election for two reasons – 1) They’re damn confident they’ll win or 2) they’re afraid that if they don’t they’ll be swinging from a lamppost within a fortnight.

    I don’t like May’s policies in . . . almost any area – but she’s struck me as a pretty competent politician and administrator and I appreciate that she’s taking Brexit seriously (even if she herself is opposed to it) and seems to genuinely working to ensure Britain comes out in a good position – you all who are closer to this than I am can correct me if I’m wrong.

    As such, since its her arse on the line, if she’s holding an election early, its because she thinks she’ll win and that win will smackdown the backbiters (at least the ones who *count*) who keep trying to sabotage this.

  21. Paul,

    “The problem for Scotland is that on an equal footing it loses out ; it is inherently more expensive to run because it is far more sparsely populated.”

    Yes, so far as tax take is concerned, fewer people = less tax, and as far as constructing roads, distributing electric & gas, yes, longer pipelines etc. But what about all the congestion, high land prices etc in the SE? I’ll bet that a mile of motorway is much cheaper in Scotland than in Surrey. State salaries ought to be less in Scotland, and by heck, if they weren’t matched to London salaries they should be.

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