Well, I Guess That’s Over…

…And after all the speculation from betting shops, opinion polls, and even Twitter, it turns out we’re still stuck with the Tories. Disappointing? You bet. At least now I know what that ominous building dread I’ve been feeling over the past week was for.

With very few seats left to announce, it’s already certain that the next five years will see Britain under the rule of the Etonites once more – 5 more years of hacking away at public services, 5 more years of NHS privatisation, and 5 more years of David Cameron’s insufferably shiny forehead glaring down at us through the TV. But why did they win? Was it the intense campaign of negativity they’ve been hauling around the country? Their assertions that Labour would ‘destroy’ all the ‘progress’ they’ve made since 2010? Perhaps it was the fact that Rupert Murdoch, notorious Tory lapdog and owner of a 5th of all news media broadcast in the UK, has been doing little more than belittling the Labour Party since the campaigning really started, or a combination of some of these factors. Whatever the reason, the case remains that policies of austerity which are designed to crippled the disadvantaged while David Cameron, George Osborne and all their banker friends get on with hiding their money in tax-havens, and securing the hold that big business interests have over UK politics will be what we’re facing for the foreseeable future. Yay. Let’s just hope that the alleged proposal to raise tuition fees again won’t come in until after I’m at uni.

I suppose some of the blame can be attributed to Nicola Sturgeon – I expect David Cameron will be sending her flowers to thank her for killing Labour support in Scotland, without which, Ed Miliband’s party had pretty much zero chance of success. Even though I’m feeling a little bitter towards them right now (“vote SNP to keep out the Tories” wasn’t such a great strategy, was it, Nicola?) it will be interesting to see what the strong presence of the SNP will mean for the future of the UK, though – as much as Sturgeon insists that she has little intention of holding another in/out referendum, it seems there are only few who believe her. Cameron once again has a shot at being the Prime Minister to preside over the breakup of the union, something I’m sure he’s thrilled about.

Actually, I’m sure he is thrilled, regardless of the big yellow question mark over Scotland’s future in the UK. Every sign indicates that Ed Miliband, the most leftist Labour leader we’ve seen in decades, is giving up the leadership, pretty much guaranteeing that whoever his successor will be is going to resemble no-one so much as Blair. Wonderful that we’re moving the centre-ground of politics to the right again. God forbid we ever try to do something that might benefit someone other than the elite, right?

(The one good thing that’s come out of this election – Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, didn’t win his seat in South Thanet. It’s a small mercy, but I have to admit, the schadenfreude is strong with this one.)

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics


The Final Countdown – Scotland’s Big Decision

As anyone who has ever met me will know, I am far from a staunch, patriotic Unionist. I am, however, extremely concerned about the very real possibility that by this time next week, Scotland will no longer be able to call itself part of the UK.

As the referendum – lovingly dubbed #IndyRef on twitter – has drawn closer, we’ve all watched the campaigning on both sides heat up, with Westminster’s major party leaders (and the slightly less important Nigel Farage) rushing northwards in panic to plead with the Scottish people on the UK’s behalf. Everything from scare tactics about the economy to Gordon Brown’s DevoMax compromise to outright begging has been deployed from the ‘No’ campaign in the run up to tomorrow’s big vote, and yet, we won’t know if any of it has been to any effect until the votes have been cast and counted.

This is probably the biggest challenge to the constitution the UK has ever seen, so no wonder everyone’s talking about it – my question, though, is how many people really understand the impact a ‘Yes’ result will have.

One of the biggest weapons in the ‘No’ campaign’s arsenal is the uncertain future of Scotland’s economy in the event of independence. There’s been a lot of talk about whether an independent Scotland will be allowed to use the pound sterling as their national currency, and some, too, about large employers like Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, BP and Standard Life relocating their business to London if Scotland decides to call it quits with the UK. Now, as unemployment is already a problem in Scotland – though, granted, less of a problem than elsewhere in the UK –  one would assume that the people voting tomorrow wouldn’t want to risk losing the few jobs they have by making some of their largest employers relocate. If the Bank of England decides to stop Scotland from using the pound, as they’ve hinted they will, the fate of Scotland’s economy looks very bleak indeed, especially as Spain and Belgium – facing similar mutinies from within their own borders – will surely try to block any appeal from the Scots to join the Eurozone.

And that’s not all. An independent Scotland would not receive any tax income from Westminster – how, then, I wonder, will they possibly be able to continue to allow students free tuition? How will they afford to subsidise free prescriptions, and on that note, how will the NHS survive at all? It seems that Alex Salmond and his ilk are playing a very risky game with their country’s – and, of course, their party’s – future.

I understand that a lot of Scottish citizens keenly feel that there is a democratic deficit in the UK today, and I’m inclined to agree with them – I was too young to vote in 2011, but I certainly wouldn’t have voted for the Tory/Lib Dem coalition we’re stuck with now – but even so, the underdog spirit which is driving people to vote ‘Yes’ will not a country make.

Like the rest of the UK, I can only sit and wait in anticipation for tomorrow’s result to be announced, but I hope – for the sake of Scotland as much as for the sake of preserving a historic union between nations – that voters will think very carefully before they cast their votes tomorrow. After all, there will be no coming back from a ‘Yes’ result, and gambling the future of a nation on the slimy promises of the SNP seems a dangerous risk to take.

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics

Independence or Bust?

The issue of Scottish Independence has been increasingly found time in the news recently. From whether the nation would stay apart of the EU, to would 16 year old get the vote, the potential break-up of the union remains at the heart of British politics. What makes this issue so interesting is that the answer is ambiguous. It will either go one way, or the other. But as of yet no one really knows.

The first argument for Scotland to become an independent state is the core principle in politics that a nation should control its own political and legal destiny. The nation state has been at the heart of modern Western politics, with revolutions being fought for national self-determination and liberation since the 18th century. As a proud and distinct community with a shared sense of culture, history and identity, the Scots have a clear political right to be independent of Britain. There is nothing strange or unreasonable in this demand- it is the bedrock of democracy.

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