Brexit – The Scottish Independence Deception!

For some time I have felt that the Brexit vote is being used as a proxy to take momentum away from Scotland’s independence movement.  Some of you may agree, so of you may not.  It’s difficult for me to describe exactly why I believe that is the case without much verifiable information, but I shall attempt to below.

final-map

First we need to look at the historical SNP vote.  I use the SNP as they are ultimately the political party of Scottish Nationalists (myself included), although I must say not explicitly.  For the sake of argument, I will use their numbers.  I will look at their vote count in General Elections (Blue) from 1950 to 2017 and their vote count in Holyrood elections (Red), since devolution.  At the same time I will insert important markers into the time line that relate to the SNP, devolution and ultimately the desire of Scots to govern themselves.

GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

YEAR

VOTE COUNT

1951

7,299

1955

12,112 up

1959

21,738 up

1964

69,507 up

1966

128,474 up

Due to surge in SNP votes, the Kilbrandon Commission was established to set up a blue-print for the establishment of a devolved Scottish Assembly. It also forced Edward Heath to announce that if he was elected PM, he would set up a Scottish Assembly.

1970

306,802 up

1974

633,180 up

The SNP ran a hugely successful campaign called ‘Its Scotland’s Oil’ after the huge discoveries were made.  This campaign focussed on how best to use it for the people of Scotland.

1979

504,259 down

The party was accused of paranoia when its leaders claimed it was being spied upon by government agents, but this belief was eventually substantiated by declassified government files. These files proved that the government had in fact spied on the SNP in the 1950s.  During the 1970s, the British government used both police and agents placed within trade unions to limit the growth of the SNP the best it could.  The Labour Party, which controlled the government at the time and drew a great deal of support from Scotland, saw that the SNP had become much more than a protest vote. It is alleged that government interference is part of what helped bring about the collapse in support for the party in 1979.  Labour continues to ridicule the SNP for their claims of government interference. “The SNP appears totally paranoid. All the evidence shows they are absolutely no threat whatsoever to the British state,” said a Labour spokesperson in response to the SNP’s complaints. Despite these words, the Labour government has had several files on the SNP sealed for fifty years, citing reasons of national security

1983

497,128 down

1987

416,473 down

Jim Sillars victory provoked great alarm amongst the Labour Party hierarchy in Scotland, much as Ewing’s had in the 1960s. Fearing that their strong Scottish electoral base was under threat, they helped establish the Scottish Constitutional Convention to set out a blueprint for devolution. Initially the SNP looked as though they would get involved and party leader Gordon Wilson and Sillars attended an initial meeting of the convention. However, the convention’s unwillingness to contemplate independence as a constitutional option persuaded Sillars in particular against getting involved and the SNP did not take part.

1992

629,564 up

1997

621,550 down

Referendum on Scottish Devolution, (Scotland votes for Devolution by 74% to 26%).

1999

1,311,401 (Constituency and Regional)

2001

464,314 down

2003

849,135 (Constituency and Regional) down

2005

412,267 down

2007

1,297,628 (Constituency and Regional) up

2010

491,386 up

2011

1,779,336 (Constituency and Regional) up

Scottish Independence Referendum (Scotland votes to remain in the UK by 55% to 45%).  The day after, David Cameron announced the proposal of English Votes for English Laws.  This was announced after promising Scotland ‘Near Federalism’.

2015

1,454,436 up

2016

2,013,484 (Constituency and Regional) up

EU Referendum. (Scotland votes Remain by 62% to 38%).

2017

977,569 down

Between 1950 and 1966, the SNP gained votes every year.  As history teaches us, the main political parties feared the SNP as they realised the nationalist vote was possibly no longer just a protest vote (I doubt it ever was).  As recent history has taught us, the government of the time promised Scotland a national assembly and subsequently the Kilbrandon Commission was established to set up a blue-print for the establishment of a devolved Scottish Assembly. It also forced Edward Heath to announce that if he was elected PM, he would set up a Scottish Assembly.

Between 1966 and 1974, the SNP again continued to gain votes every General Election.  Their first decline came in the 1979 election.  In 1979, the SNP Parliamentary Group voted against the Labour Government in a Vote of No Confidence, causing the dissolution of the government and subsequent election. The then Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan famously described this decision by the SNP as that of “turkeys voting for Christmas”. After the 1979 general election, the SNP had only two seats, representing a net loss of nine seats. Margaret Thatcher became the UK’s Prime Minister.

After the 1979 election, the British media ran smear campaigns against the SNP.  The party was accused of paranoia when its leaders claimed it was being spied upon by government agents, but this belief was eventually substantiated by declassified government files. These files proved that the government had in fact spied on the SNP in the 1950s during the rise of the nationalist vote.  During the 1970s, the British government used both police and agents placed within trade unions to limit the growth of the SNP the best it could.  The Labour Party, which controlled the government at the time and drew a great deal of support from Scotland, saw that the SNP had become much more than a protest vote. It is alleged that government interference is part of what helped bring about the collapse in support for the party in 1979.  Labour continues to ridicule the SNP for their claims of government interference. “The SNP appears totally paranoid. All the evidence shows they are absolutely no threat whatsoever to the British state,” said a Labour spokesperson in response to the SNP’s complaints. Despite these words, the Labour government has had several files on the SNP sealed for fifty years, citing reasons of national security.

Their vote throughout the 1980’s remained steady at about 500,000.  The following decade, in the 1990s saw a revival of the party when they advocated a drive for Scottish devolution along with Labour and Lib Dems.  The Conservative party, of course, was against devolution.  Just as they are today!

Between 2000 and 2005, their vote share again remained steady, again around the 500,000 mark.  On the Holyrood vote side, they gained in all years except one (2003).  From the start of devolution where they gained a total of 1,311,401, right through to today on a total of 2,013,484.  Their popularity when it comes to Scotland and matters effecting Scotland are second to none and they have polled high since Devolution started.

From 2005 right through until 2017 their vote share in both General Elections and Holyrood elections has risen.  They managed a hugely impressive result in the 2015 General Election, the year after the independence referendum.  My opinion here is that this is because of the act by David Cameron the day after the referendum where in the lead up to the referendum, he and the leaders of the other Unionist parties told Scotland that if they voted No to independence, they would be given ‘Devo-Max, or Near Federalism’.  Neither of which occurred via the Smith Commission, instead at around 8am, the day after turning out a No vote, David Cameron announced how unfair it was on England and that he would be introducing EVEL (English Votes for English Laws).  The controversy here of course is that it pretty much means there can never be a Scottish Prime Minister again and that the UK parliament became a defacto English parliament.

As expected, the vote in the General Election in 2015 and the Holyrood election in 2016 both increased their vote share from the previous corresponding elections.

Then the almighty disaster vote that is Brexit occurred.  The only vote to occur, at the time of writing this blog post that Scotland has participated in post the Brexit referendum in 2016 is the Snap General Election called in 2017.  The SNP lost a fair share of their vote.  It dropped from 1,454,436 to 977,569, some 476,867 votes.  There are multiple reasons for this, but tellingly, it would appear from the other political party gains in Scotland during the 2017 General Election that many of the SNP voters shifted their vote to the Pro-Brexit Conservative Party, even though they campaigned to remain in the EU.  There will have likely been an element of voter fatigue and there was a higher turnout in 2017.  The most telling part of the 2017 election was the demographics of who voted for who.  The SNP lost 21 seats, 12 going to the Conservative Party, 6 going to the Labour Party and 3 going to the Liberal Democrats.

The demographics of the 2017 vote, as conducted by YouGov illustrates that the majority of people who voted Conservative are retired, middle to upper class and above the age of 55.  This is the same group who mostly voted against Scottish Independence and who voted for Brexit.

Now is anyone telling me that Brexit is not a proxy to squash Scottish nationalism?

I have had people on my twitter account express uncertainty at my thoughts.  Many undoubtedly feel that other citizens of constituent parts of the UK wouldn’t think twice about voting for Brexit due to Scotland leaving the Union, and that is correct, and that is NOT what I am saying is occurring.

What I am saying is occurring is that the older, middle to upper class, wealthy citizens of the UK are the ones pushing for Brexit via their position in society (its not the young, poorer people).  They are the ones who want Brexit against the wishes of the younger generation, and they are the ones that just so happen to be opposed to Scottish Independence and who generally vote Conservative.

Whomever is the current Prime Minister, they are charged with keeping the Union whole, as is the opposition.  In light of the entirely skewed demographics running the Brexit line, where is the opposition?  Where is Jeremy Corbyn?  Why, when he can see the demographics as we all can is he not standing up for his core vote who do not want Brexit?  He is towing the Conservative line.

He is towing the line because he has to keep the UK whole, even if that means Brexit being forced on those that don’t want it.

Throughout the last 50-60 years, whenever the SNP have gained votes, there has always been an ‘initiative’ to take away the momentum.  That initiative has always relied on British nationalism V Scottish nationalism and the generation in Scotland that appeals to is the current generation that were born after WW2.

Brexit has changed the game a little in the eyes of those in Scotland and in the rUK.  Brexit has enabled Westminster (or may next week after the Supreme Court case on the Continuity Bill) to start the process of stripping away devolution.  The current Conservative Party, is the same party who opposed devolution and the current Secretary of State for Scotland is not standing up for Scotland because he is a Conservative.

A post Brexit UK and post EU Scotland will face challenges far greater than it has done historically.  The nationalism in Scotland, I believe is at a point where I think it’s irreversible and I believe independence is simply a matter of time.  My concern is the way in which a post-Brexit UK Government, out with EU jurisdiction handles Scotland and her people, and more importantly, how Scotland responds to a UK Government aiming at devolution being taken away.

Some of you may not see the links I am presenting, some of you may ignore them and some of you may think I am stretching it too far.  Whatever your persuasion, I just hope that one day, many days from now, you don’t look back on our history and realise that Brexit was about squashing Scottish Independence and the Holyrood we have today that stands up for Scotland is NOT just a memory of the past.

I hope many years from now i am proved wrong and we have gained independence through a simple second referendom asking the same question again…

 

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10 thoughts on “Brexit – The Scottish Independence Deception!

  1. I can see your reasoning and you could well be right. However, I think that it was after the Brexit referendum that Westminster saw the chance to save the Union and destroy the SNP and Holyrood. Personally, I think Brexit will give us the independence we long for. Saor Alba!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope you are right. I just can’t see Westminster not recognising that their historical approach to Scottish independence couldn’t work via Brexit appealing to the same demographics as their core vote and the vote that prevented a YES vote. Let’s hope you are right though!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I tend to agree with TSD, in so much as both Ruth Davidson (stridently, as usual) and Theresa May (less so) campaigned for a No vote in the Brexit referendum. I think Ruth might have genuinely believed in her arguments at the time but i suspect.TM just thought No would win and wanted to be on the winning side. Note how quickly she jumped ship thereafter, becoming one of the hawks to consolidate her power base, such as it is1
    I do think that only afterwards did the potential sink in. May at first promised to involve all the devolved *administrations*, probably again meaning it at the time. But dark forces began explaining how she could use this situation to exclude the “separatists” from all influence and thereby diminish it in the longer term.This has rapidly escalated with the power grab, the ERG proposals and challenging Holyrood legislation in so-called UK courts. I just wish I was as sanguine as TSD about the outcome!.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I respect your view but in my opinion it seems unlikely that it was by accident given the colonial mindset and experience at hand in Whitehall. I blogged about incompetence. Might be worth your time reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

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