Political Promise

The ‘Wind of Change’ may merely just be a puff in Scotland

In Graeme Morrison on January 27, 2010 at 5:18 pm

It is astonishing how quickly time has flown. In my pre-occupation with following Gordon Brown’s recent (mis) fortunes as he so desperately tries to cling to the crown which he has coveted since his adolescence, it has barely registered with me that in a year’s time, Scotland will go back to the polls to give our verdict on Alex Salmond’s four years of governance. In what was a historic moment for the Scots, the Labour Party was ousted from power in Holyrood in 2007 as the new First Minister declared that there was “a wind of change blowing through Scottish politics” as he launched his ‘national conversation.’ A ‘draught’ would be a more appropriate term as the SNP’s flagship policy of independence has gained little momentum both in public and unsurprisingly in Parliament. Most recent polling in support for independence has averaged in the mid-20s – hardly a striking endorsement. When we consider that the SNP in Holyrood polling consistently hold a comfortable lead over Labour, we must question the lack of support for independence. Of course, in the 2007 campaign Labour were the party who initiated the constitutional agenda as the SNP placed it behind other domestic matters on the agenda.The economic crisis has certainly contributed to this lack of confidence in the Nats’ policy. We can remember Alex Salmond citing Iceland as an economically sustainable nation whose footsteps we would be well advised to follow in. Indeed, that comment was humiliating and has undoubtedly, in my mind, weakened trust in the constitutional stance of his party (as if it was not already weak). The reluctance of the Labour Party, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats to back the referendum left only the Greens and Margo MacDonald in support – a minority which perhaps mirrors the popularity of separation. By the time we go to the polls in 2011, there will have been no referendum and Salmond, who will in all likelihood be back for a second term, will look to another four years of unsuccessfully trying to fulfil his nationalist ambitions. The ‘national conversation’? Hardly. The conversation most likely revolve around where the SNP’s future ambitions lie.

Graeme Morrison

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