Do the English really want the Union…

Simon Heffer in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph has some interesting ‘anti Union’ thoughts... As a colleague here today pointed out, there is a natural Tory majority in England, float Scotland off, and it could be the coup some Tories are looking for. And as Michael White points out, Alex Salmond is making a better cut at being a statesman than his erstwhile Labour rival Jack McConnell. And Alex Bell wonders why, with a strong showing for the SNP, no major Scottish newspaper will back them?

To be a nationalist is to occupy a strange place in Scottish society. At the vote on Thursday to our devolved parliament, it is likely more people will vote for the main nationalist party than any other single party. Taking a broad sweep over the statistical shrapnel from the opinion polls, it would appear that the Scottish National Party may get about 35% of the vote, with Labour on 30%, while the Tories and Lib Dems tussle amid the high teens.

Despite this possibility, and the significant change of political direction it signals, no newspaper seems capable of reporting this phenomenon with any degree of neutrality. Instead, the press has set itself against nationalism, the SNP and the next likely government of Scotland. Imagine the 1997 UK election with every paper actively hostile to Labour and you have a sense of how strange this is.


  • Two Nations

    Maybe the SNP will be the majority party but 35% is not a ringing endorsement for independence. The majority of Scots will still be voting for pro-Union parties.

  • Prince Eoghan

    In fact all of the pro-independence parties together (Greens ,SSP, Solidarity) are expected to take over 40% of the vote. Given the fact that this has been achieved with the full force, and I mean full force of the British media reigned against them, is no small achievement!

    Today’s newspaper front pages were by and large a disgrace. The two tabloids in the so-called ‘Scottish’ Sun and Daily record had all the imagery and subliminal message worthy of Goebbles himself. It is tantamount to being a one party state in the way that not one major newspaper has come out for the SNP. Of the 4 main Scottish newspapers only one (Herald) has even deigned to state in an editorial that you will not die or become bankrupt on friday morning if you voted for the SNP.

    The Daily Record has always been a mouthpiece of the labour party and their scare stories are truly ludicrous. In the past week though the ‘Scottish Sun’ Has gone in with both feet, in a way only they no how. I would not be surprised if the SNP complain to the press complaint commission regarding the disgraceful biased scaremongering that passed for reporting.

    The labour party are desperate to hold onto Scotland. Hold Scotland and they hold England!

  • Jocky

    First time I’ve heard Jack being called erstwhile, for most of the election he’s been called things that couldn’t been printed on this blog.

    Labours big problem is they can no longer the Tories for the state Scotland is in. So they have resorted to an entirely negtive campaign, which can be summed up as you are too stupid to run your own country. Which is pretty dumb way of expecting folk to vote for you.

    Blairs and browns visits did far more harm than good, Scotland is old, old, old Labour.

    I think salmond would be a good statesmen for scotland, a short, fat, cheeky b’stard seems apt. At least he has a sharp wit, McConnell isn’t even a halfwit.

  • Jocky

    sorry, to the point of the blog, Labour entire campaign is not based on what’s best for scotland, it’s based on what’s best for the labour party. there’s democracy in action, party policitical interest above national interest.

  • Cap’n Bob

    England run by Armed, Irish, Papists? NEVER!

  • heck

    “Imagine the 1997 UK election with every paper actively hostile to Labour and you have a sense of how strange this is”

    Imagine a nor Iron election with every newspaper against SF!! (and having them banned from the broadcast media!)

    na -that only happens in scotland

  • slug

    I think the problem with Jack is he’s too much the friend of Labour leadership. Somehow I think Morgan in Wales and Livingstone in London do better becaure they have distanced themselves effectively.

  • Dewi

    Morgan has distanced himself but his party is screwed. Everyone else in Wales wants progress apart from the Labour elephants……

  • As a colleague here today pointed out, there is a natural Tory majority in England, float Scotland off, and it could be the coup some Tories are looking for.

    Some Tories are thinking along those lines, and it has definitely shaped Labour’s approach.

    However, it’s worth remembering that under first past the post, Labour won the most seats in England at the last election, and an alternative system would not necessarily favour the Tories more.

    Labour wouldn’t necessarily lose out in an English Parliament. Gordon Brown and the Ministers who sit for Scottish constituencies would. Maybe that explains the cul-de-sac they have got themselves into on the West Lothian Question.

  • PS – Labour are doing respectably well in Scotland in the real marginals with swings of around 6%, but in some of their ‘safe’ seats there are enormous swings to the SNP (15% in Motherwell) which has big implications for the list votes. The counting is a complete fiasco and this election won’t be close to being decided until the list votes are declared sometime around dawn. Or even later.

  • Ian Sectar

    I reckon all the fuss is over nothing. The Scots will go the same way as Australia and Canada in previous elections and referenda, and they’ll chicken out, bottle it etc. They haven’t the guts to run their own country. It’s too easy to have someone else do it for you even if you’re bullied into standing in someone else’s shadow the whole time and a wee bit more of this ‘you’ll never survive on your own’ shite from the British media and they’ll cave in big style. That’s my prediction.

    Just like the Aussies in ’99 – a lot of tough talk about standing on their own and being proudly independent, but at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, they’re scared, they’ll p*ss in their knickers and chicken out and run back into the arms of England like the snivelling bunch of cowards they really are…(only joking, of course :-))

  • Getting back to the main point, there seems to be a growing body of opinion among several prominent English politicians, that the Union may no longer be in the best interest of English citizens. Perhaps, surprisingly, it is a number of prominenet Tories such as Michael Portillo who seem to be most vocal on the subject.

  • hotdogx

    In the article above this guy talks about gerry martin etc, as though we wanted the union in ireland at the time and that it was working for us, we were forced into it, the scots signed up. The guy ought to go and read some history. Again people in england writing about something when in fact they only know half the story.