Tuesday 12 December 2017

Scottish and English nationalists on collision course

David Cameron delivers his victory speech outside No. 10
David Cameron delivers his victory speech outside No. 10
John Bruton

John Bruton

The self-declared Conservative and Unionist Party won the General Election in England by harnessing English nationalism, and the Scottish Nationalists did the same in Scotland by harnessing Scottish nationalism. The two nations, by the rhetoric of their election campaigns, have thus set themselves on a collision course.

The Conservatives scared English voters with the prospect of a Labour government taking office with parliamentary support from the Scottish National Party (SNP). English voters were persuaded that a Labour government, dependant on Scottish Nationalists, would somehow steal English money for the benefit of Scotland. If there was deep pro-Union sentiment in England, this appeal would not have worked, but it did work.

The implication of the successful Conservative ploy, was that Scottish Nationalist MPs, although freely elected to and sitting in the United Kingdom parliament, would not be fit to have influence on the fiscal policies of the government of the UK as a whole, simply because they are Scottish Nationalists. They are thus cast in the role of "second class" MPs.

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