Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Saturday, January 02, 2016


Just want to lay down a little marker:  I abhor the emergence of the Scottish National Party, and despite my affection for the Scottish people, I wish they would tell the SNP to go stuff it and return to the Labour fold (or, barring that, resume their longstanding and honorable support of Gladstonian Liberal policies, which now reside in the Labour Party, so it's much the same thing).  The Conservatives should sit on it, and must be made to do so by the voters of Scotland.


Blogger Zed said...

I find that I oscillate between various views on this.

On a short/forward-looking view, I mostly disagree. If you are a Scot looking at the 2015 results, the first thing that leaps out is that the Tory + Ukip vote share in England alone is over 60%. This 20% right-wing margin in England is larger than the entire population of Scotland. The UK are likely to leave the EU in a year or two, and the conservative govt. so far has been a disaster. Given this and the fact that Scotland is a basically cohesive unit, secession seems pretty appealing in principle. I agree the SNP seem unscrupulous but their current iteration is not exactly to the right of Scottish Labour, let alone English Labour (which has been complicit in many of the horrifying acts of the current administration).

One counter to this is that the SNP is responsible for the huge right-wing margins in England because it's been stimulating anti-Scottish sentiment in England, hurting Labour there. This is plausible but the damage has already been done. The UK is fragmenting into a bunch of regional two-party systems (SNP vs. Labour in Scotland, Labour vs. Ukip in the north of England, Tories vs. Ukip in the Southeast, Labour vs. (maybe) Lib Dems in urban England). I am skeptical that any highly centralized system of govt. will have much democratic legitimacy under these conditions. Arguably this is Thatcher's fault for actively screwing over Scotland (e.g. with the poll tax) but that is not really relevant. The point is that the UK party system is coming apart, and it seems likely that Blairite Labour was an unstable transitional phase. If the end-point of this transition is a much more federal system, rather than a dissolved UK, it is not clear to me that an SNP-Green-Lib Dem-Corbynite Labour coalition isn't a better nucleus for the sort of party you want than Blairite Labour was.

An interesting question is why the US two-party system has done so much better at surviving in a regionalized FPTP environment than the British or Canadian system. I think open primaries and presidential elections have something to do with it, though there might also be Scotland/Quebec parallels that are relevant (on this point, Australia has a two-party system even without FPTP).

7:13 PM  

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