Current Affairs Politics

Scottish Parliament Election 2021. An Unpredictable Vote

Later today the people of Scotland will be heading to the polls in what could be the biggest test for the country’s broad independence movement since the failed referendum campaign of 2014. If voters decide not to back the Scottish National Party and other pro-sovereignty groups like the Scottish Green Party and Alba in sufficient numbers it’s possible that the present desire among nearly half or more of the electorate for a Scotland outside of the United Kingdom could go the same way as the once popular demand for a Quebec outside of Canada in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Certainly that’s how the UK media will present such an outcome if there is anything less than a significant separatist majority in the Scottish parliament.

So far the polling companies are presenting mixed messages from the electorate, making for no easy predictions in what has been a relatively lackluster campaign. Most observers are expecting that today’s vote will result in a slim SNP majority in Holyrood alongside an increased number of Green MSPs, as well as the presence of Alex Salmond and one or two of his followers if his upstart party can get through on the regional lists. On the other hand the main unionist groupings, Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems, will likely suffer modest losses.

However there remains the possibility that the actual counting of votes may throw up some surprises. Or even shocks. Scotland has gone through the mixed political and cultural emotions of the divisive independence plebiscite in 2014, the resentment at Greater England’s own independence-slash-Brexit vote in 2016, the frustrations with the many long years of SNP government in Edinburgh and Tory government in London, of mediocre local leaders in the pro-union parties, of a retired pro-independence leader returning in controversy from the sidelines, of internecine rancor in the ranks of nationalism, of nationalist bloggers once synonymous with the SNP now encouraging voters to vote against the SNP, and of a prolonged pandemic and staggered lockdowns. Who knows what way Scotland will turn now? Will it finally dare another stepping stone to freedom or will it baulk at the pace of the journey or even its direction and remain rooted to the spot? Or worse, retreat back the way it has come?

22 comments on “Scottish Parliament Election 2021. An Unpredictable Vote

  1. It does seem as though the impetus has stalled or at least slowed down. In these kinds of processes one needs to keep up momentum. The same thing seems to have happened in Catalonia too, where pro-independence politicians are having great difficulty in agreeing and the pandemic restrictions and dangers have kept most actions off the streets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m still hoping the SNP will lift the gloom when, as seems very likely, Johnson’s Tories romp the local elections in England. If not, it could be a depressing night all round. Re England, it makes you wonder how an electorate can stomach so much sleaze and downright corruption and still vote for Johnson’s crowd. And what extra sense of empowerment he and his cronies will take from the results.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good luck to the SNP

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  4. Conamara Colm

    Alba Saor!

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    • wonder how Salmond and his ALBA party will do

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not very well, I suspect. But better he was there, both to hoover up the disaffected SNP vote, and to save having to listen to him go on for years about how well he’d have done if only he had stood.

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        • Willie

          Interesting how hostile Irish republicans are to Scottish independence with comments like this.

          Certainly exposes how some in the Irish republican movement are in thrall to the Crown and the British state.

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          • Don’t be daft, Willie. It’s got nothing to do with Scottish independence, which I’d love to see. It’s to do with Alex Salmond, who’s an arch-narcissist (not uncommon amongst politicians, I’ll grant you) and a thoroughly dislikable person. Still, I and many others could set all of that aside if it weren’t for the other stuff.

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  5. On a brighter note than my previous: This concerns three close relatives of mine, each of whom, for different reasons, I only see occasionally. And whenever I do see one of them, politics is almost never discussed, aside maybe for a quick mutual moan about some mundanity or other. Maybe it’s the same everywhere, but here in Northern Ireland people tend not to waste precious time trampling over political ground that’s been covered a million times before, boring one another stupid. It’s a sort of “what’s left to say” attitude. Brexit, Boris Johnson and the DUP has changed all that. There’s now plenty to say that hasn’t been said before. Each of these three relatives, like myself from a solidly (non-sectarian) unionist background has, without any prompting on my part, separately declared to me that they will vote for a United Ireland the first chance they get. They have been heartily sickened by the three I listed above (while conscious of the progress there has in the rest of Ireland). Nor are any of these people the whimsical type who could change their minds again tomorrow or next week. I suspect Brexit, Johnson etc proved a tipping point to something that had been bubbling in the background of their minds for quite a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m wondering if last night’s election results in England and Wales will encourage other unionist-leaning people here in NI to consider even more their position/allegiances. The Hartlepool result in particular, where a Labour stronghold for more than six decades was flipped by a 23% increase in the Tory vote, shows that Johnson and his cabal are going nowhere anytime soon.
    As what about Labour? Is that party playing to an industrial working-class constituency that largely no longer exists? Is it falling between mutiple stools by trying to be all things to all people? Is it playing too much to a large constituency that will protest lots on the streets and on social media but doesn’t bother getting off it’s arse to vote? Do we have to face up to the fact that a large section of the lower-income class is pig-headedly racist?

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    • Willie

      Tamar. A large section of the English lower income class is indeed pig headedly racist. They are in my view very similar to many of the unionist – loyalists in Northern Ireland.

      And we have some of them too in Scotland but thankfully not very many with of course the Tories never doing well in Scotland. Maybe your distaste for Scottish patriots like Alex Salmond gives an insight into why NI is still blighted by the bigotry of the unionist loyalist vote. Scotland is not a paragon of utter virtue, but in the Yes campaign and the SNP that he led, Alex Salmond united people across the religious and social classes to the extent that all but the exceptions could work in common cause.

      Let us hope that Salmond and many others like him are returned to the next Scots Parliament.

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      • I’ll settle for referring you to my previous comment on Salmond, Willie. And listen, I know Scotland very well, and, just like everywhere else, racism is far from confined to one religious/political/age/social or any other demographic you care to mention. So, you know, I’m not some eejit who hasn’t been around the block a few times (multiple blocks, in fact). If you’ve some time on your hands and you’re interested, you might like to check out the differences between nationalism and republicanism.

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  7. Must say, I miss sitting up half the night watching the results come in. Get it sorted, Scotland. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Not looking good for Salmond.
    From the Guardian: “In a further boost to Sturgeon, her former ally and now fierce rival Alex Salmond effectively conceded he and his new hardline pro-independence party Alba would fail to win any seats.
    The new party, founded only a few weeks ago, was polling at just above 2% nationwide, well below the 5 to 6% needed to win list seats. Asked on BBC Scotland whether he anticipated a win, Salmond said: ‘I don’t think so from the results we have seen.’”

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  9. Good God, it looks like Salmond is doing fantastically well, after all.

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    • Sorry, hold that result. I was looking at the results of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. (Damn you, Google.) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Is Sturgeon by far the most impressive politician across Britain and Ireland? I think so. (Granted the bar is pretty low, but that’s hardly her fault.)

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  11. I see a narrative developing around the Scottish results that goes: “Not all of the people who voted for the SNP necessarily want independence.” Yeah, it’s the sort of thing you do, right enough. “I don’t want independence, but I think I’ll vote for the party whose raisin d’etre is independence and has promised to hold a referendum on it during the lifetime of this parliament.”
    Another one is, “Well, the SNP failed to get an overall majority.” Ignoring the fact that when you add in the Greens, who are in lock-step with the SNP on independence and the holding of a referendum during this parliamentary term, there is a very clear majority on the issue in the new parliament.

    Liked by 1 person

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