It is hard to believe that in just under two months from now, the next UK General Election will be taking place and a new group of MP’s will be elected to Westminster. And it is even more hard to believe in the current context following last year’s Scottish independence referendum.
But we are rapidly heading towards polling day and, quite potentially, an absolutely seismic result in Scotland. The nation was absolutely transformed by the independence referendum and it is very accurate to believe that politics is now very different to previous times. Nearly everybody predicted the demise of the Scottish National Party in the event of a No vote. But the reality couldn’t be any more different.
The Yes side, who lost the vote last September, are with the greatest sense of irony the winners. Although not every Yes supporter is necessarily an SNP voter, there has never been a greater sense of optimism over Scotland’s future and this is clearly reflected in the current state of the polls. If the SNP continue to dominate, then they will by a huge margin return more representatives wearing bright yellow rosettes to Westminster.
It will be Scottish Labour who will face a ghastly fall from grace, alongside the Scottish Liberal Democrats. And yet, David Cameron could face a humiliating scenario of having absolutely no Scottish Conservative MP’s if David Mundell loses his seat in Dumfriessshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale – the current Prime Minister’s legitimacy of governing Scotland as UK Prime Minister will be severely questioned.
But in a way, have we almost been here before? Let’s not forget that Alex Salmond led the SNP to an overall majority for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2011. An SNP dominated result in May will not lead to independence in the immediate aftermath and could have some sense of a feeling of déjà vu. Time and time again, SNP representatives have stated that the way to achieve independence is to gain a Yes vote in any prospective referendum.
It is without doubt that the SNP’s ultimate objective is independence for Scotland. That could yet well become a reality within five to ten years. But in the context of things, there is a danger that this forthcoming UK General Election could be soon forgotten about swiftly if Scotland’s home rule journey is severely disrupted. And it’s worth not forgetting about what the referendum caused in Scotland last year – an elevation in awareness of the issues, an increasing interest in politics and an extraordinary enlightenment of the whole nation and it’s democracy. It’s also worth remembering that since the methods of registering to vote has changed recently, there is a danger that some people may end up finding out that their chance to vote may disappear.
With all that in mind, there is a chance that the General Election in May could end up becoming the disappointing sequel to last year’s independence referendum.