Tuesday, 22 September 2015

And they're off

Judging by the latest announcements, the race for the Scottish General Election next May has begun.  Yesterday Kezia Dugdale announced that The Labour Party in Scotland should have a discussion about whether Labour MPs and MSPs should be free to campaign for independence in the event of another indyref.  Then, today, Willie Rennie has said that senior Liberal Democrat MPs will be free to campaign for independence next time around.

It's an interesting move from both.  Last time around both parties were heavily involved in the Better Together campaign, on the basis that they supported the Union.  Where does this latest move leave them?  One would think it will be very confusing for their supporters if some of them are campaigning for indy and some are campaigning for the Union, never mind for the public at large.

It's a very interesting move.  They have evidently been paying attention to the recent polls, some of which have shown a slight majority in favour of independence if another indyref was to take place tomorrow.  There have also been polls that show that a majority of Scots want another indyref within 5-10 years.  Taken together, Labour and the LibDems can clearly see which way the wind is blowing and want to hop aboard the bandwagon in the hope of avoiding another embarrassing wipeout next May.

Meanwhile the SNP are following a rather interesting strategy.  Nicola Sturgeon has been actively pushing for Scotland to take Syrian refugees, to the point where some refugees, when asked which countries are likely to help them, names Scotland amongst others.  The SNP have also called for Scotland to have its own representation within Europe, something that is not likely to be looked upon with favour in Westminster.  Evidently one of the lessons learned from the last indyref was that in the international arena, Scotland was not well-understood to be a country in its own right rather than just a region of the UK.  This, of course, puts an entirely different light on the situation in comparison with, say, Catalonia.  By raising Scotland's profile as a country, the SNP appear to be aiming to get better international support the next time around.

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