The postponement of the 2015 General Election
Of course the thoughts of anybody from the Glasgow area are with the victims of the Clutha helicopter crash today.
However, there’s another story in the news today that needs commenting on, namely Angus Robertson’s call for a delay to the 2015 General Election:
That is actually an issue for the UK Government to consider. I think there is a very good case for putting the UK general election back by a year.
The reason why I say that is because of course a Yes result in Scotland will lead to a very, very intense period of negotiation between the UK Government and the Scottish Government — transitioning Scotland from a position within the UK into the EU, Nato, the United Nations and agreeing a whole series of other important measures.
I think it is going to be very important for decision makers at Westminster to wake up to the consequences of the Yes vote and why it will be in their interests to have a grown-up relationship with the government and the people of Scotland.
And perhaps being diverted by a general election in the middle of that process is certainly something one should be thinking about.
Predictably, the Unionists are trying to portray this as an evil Nationalist ploy:
Margaret Curran, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary, said: “The SNP want another year of the Tories. Another year of the bedroom tax, austerity and David Cameron and if they win they’d rather negotiate with David Cameron than Ed Miliband. […]”
A UK Government spokesman said: “Parliament has legislated for fixed-term parliaments and the next general election will be in May 2015. The Scottish Government knew this when they chose the referendum date.”
It’s important to reiterate that this isn’t a Scottish problem. Angus Robertson is just pointing out what the rUK politicians should already be thinking about for their own sake.
Does any rUK politician really want to conduct a general election campaign six months after a Scottish Yes vote (which would have to take place in Scotland, too)? Will Labour want to write a manifesto while the Scottish politicians are still an integral part of their party structure? Would they not all prefer to get the Scottish independence issue dealt with first, and only then elect a new rUK parliament without any interference from Scottish politicians?
To be honest, it might be in Scotland’s interest for the 2015 election to go ahead, simply because the Scottish negotiation team will find it much easier to run circles round the newly elected rUK government than to deal with one negotiation partner throughout.
However, it’s definitely not in the rUK’s interest, and I think Angus Robertson should be praised for pointing this out to them, not abused as if he was trying to score party-political points.
23 thoughts on “The postponement of the 2015 General Election”
RT @arcofprosperity: New blog post: The postponement of the 2015 General Election http://t.co/IJ2x3QPCU6 #indyref
Madness not to, if you think about it: The postponement of the 2015 General Election http://t.co/lErRdlL5V8
RT @naebD: Madness not to, if you think about it: The postponement of the 2015 General Election http://t.co/lErRdlL5V8
It would set a horrible precedent. I’m really not in favour of this idea at all. The only time a parliament has been extended since 1688 was during WW2.
It’s true it’s not something that has happened frequently, and it’s not a decision that should be made lightly, but surely the dissolution of the country is such a grave event that it might require radical solutions.
I think the decision whether to postpone it should be made on the merits of the arguments, not purely on a lack of precedents.
I don’t believe true anti-Scottish feeling is really a big thing in England (it always puzzled me that people assumed there was) but this would really piss people off in England big time and I think it would backfire badly on Scotland. You really don’t want to piss off the party you’re negotiating with right?
As I wrote in the article, this is not a decision for Scotland to make. All Angus Robertson and I are saying is that the date of the next rUK general election is unfortunate if Scotland votes for independence, and that rUK politicians perhaps should consider whether there are any solutions. It’s not a problem for Scotland. We’re perfectly happy for the rUK to hold an election in 2015 (so long as it doesn’t lead to delays in the negotiation schedule).
Obviously a decision to postpone the next general election would need to have the support of all the main rUK parties, not just the government parties. I also think all Scottish MPs should abstain from that vote.
I lose my expat voting rights next year.
I do not think it would make much difference. The “real” negotiation’s will be done by civil servant’s who probably don’t take any notice of which political class hold’s the titles of power at any point in time…
To some extent this is true, but a new government could give the civil servants new instructions. All the big decisions will have to be vetted by the politicians, too.
I disagree Paul. I think a ‘Yes’ vote would mean that the 2015 election will be fought on the twin issues of getting the best deal for England out of the Scottish negotiations and the EU. I think the referendum will result in a massive up-swell of English nationalism as British patriotic feeling has to be redirected somewhere. Animosity towards Scotland is fairly non-existent in England at the moment but I think that would change after a ‘Yes’ vote because it would be seen as a rejection of Britishness and a giving of the finger to England. A ‘Yes’ vote is likely to improve Nigel Farage’s and Hannanite tories’ chances in the 2015 election. The negotiations would be between the SNP and a highly populist set of politicians in Westminster.
“Animosity towards Scotland is fairly non-existent in England”. I would have to disagree strongly… BTW Will UKIP exist in post UK landscape? I think of them as southern’s who might do OK in the Home Counties but are nothing more than a distraction… Remember what happen when Nigel popped into Scotland…
It’s not that strong in my part of England but it has always been strong in North-East England.
I get the impression that UKIP are pulling a lot of disaffected Labour voters in northern England their way.
I could imagine UKIP becoming an “English National Party”. It could get ugly.
In my part of England, though, there is considerable animosity towards the French …
By England, I mean England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed:
Was there some story about BNP activists joining UKIP as you say could become ugly…
On a more serious note win or lose depending on your position the whole independence thing becomes a game changer in intra_UK relations…
Yes, I think so. I actually think it could get ugly 🙁
Wales would feel extra dominated.