Nationalists Open Up Big Lead in Scotland

On May 5, Britain votes in a referendum on a new electoral system called “alternative vote,” also used in Australia (polls show it going down to defeat), but in Scotland and Wales, there are also elections to the devolved parliaments. The Scottish National Party (SNP), which advocates independence for Scotland within the E.U., is heading up a minority administration with about 36% of the seats in the Scottish Parliament.

Now, a new poll shows the SNP opening up a big lead in the upcoming election, with 45% in the constituency vote and 42% on the party-list regional ballot. Since Scotland has a compensatory mixed-member system like Germany’s, the latter percentage is the better guide to the ultimate seat breakdown. If the SNP indeed wins north of 40% of the seats, they may have enough votes to authorize a secession referendum with the support of minor secessionist parties like the Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialists. Whether such a referendum could obtain the requisite 55% of the vote is doubtful, but such a step would be historic nonetheless.

3 thoughts on “Nationalists Open Up Big Lead in Scotland

  1. I would say that independence isn’t really a major concern for the SNP right now, their ‘national conversation’ public consultation on the idea was met with general contempt and apathy from the Scottish public. If they wasted further money on pursuing a referendum then would the voters ever forgive them?

  2. It’s the core element of their political program. If they win a majority of seats, there’s no way their activists will let them get away with not holding a referendum. They’ve been waiting for this chance for 79 years.

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