It took over 300 years for Scotland’s parliament to obtain independence from Westminster, and elections are only a few days ahead. On Thursday May 5 approximately 5.5 million voters will choose 129 MPs for the next five-year term. There are two ballot papers: the first for the constituency in which the winner is the candidate who gets the most votes with a “first past the post system”, and the second for the regions, which adopt the proportional system.
A landslide victory is predicted. According to re-election polls forecasts the Scottish National Party (SNP) will win a landslide victory in the constituency, leaving the leftovers to the Labour, Conservative, Liberal-Democrat and Green parties, thereby ensuring parliamentary representatives to the various Parties, as indicated in the ballot boxes. “SNP could pick up all 73 constituencies along with several regions, thus obtaining slightly more than 70 seats in Parliament”, said Professor Michael Keating, from Aberdeen University, expert in Scottish politics, community integration and Brexit. “The Conservative and Labour Parties are expected to win 15 to 20 seats each, the Greens 7-8, the Liberal-Democrats 4 or 5”.
Conservatives and Labour. For the first time the Tories, that enjoy scant support in these lands (where, according to Scottish convictions, the then British Premier Margaret Thatcher destroyed the local industry), could arrive second. It would be an incredible result, considering the popularity of Socialist mentality in Scotland where welfare, healthcare and pension systems are better than in England, and where Labour was an undisputed leader for fifty years, before being supplanted by the Nationalist Party.
“The Conservative Party is at the same levels of the past years, while Labour suffered a veritable fall and was almost wiped out”,
Keating remarked. “Labour will benefit from the proportional system, thereby obtaining more than one seat, but the votes will mostly come from the electoral rolls and they are bound to win one, two constituencies at the most.”
Between social justice and private entrepreneurship. “It’s a veritable revolution for Scotland, considering that
This Parliament will be the first to enjoy the new powers devolved by the United Kingdom
as a result of the referendum on independence of September 2014. The Nationalist Party, the ruling Party for eight years, is bound to win again, a unique case in Europe”, said Ronnie Convery, spokesperson of the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow Msgr. Philip Tartaglia. “Although it is a nationalistic party, which aims at obtaining Scotland’s independence from England, SNP is totally unrelated with right-wing movements such as the Front National of Marine Le Pen. In fact, SNP is a social-democrat centre-left Party, similar to the New Labour, a middle ground between social justice and private enterprise, which neither the poor nor the rich disdain.”
There will be no more excuses… Competent, very popular, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was brought up in an ordinary family and regularly travels by bus. She always prevails in public debates and leads a government that is considered very well-prepared. Sturgeon’s commitment is bound to grow difficult after the victory of May 5. “Until now the nationalists had blamed Westminster for any form of malfunctioning in the healthcare or education systems”, Convery added.
“With the recent powers devolved to Edinburgh, which the new Parliament is called to exert in the areas of healthcare, education, social security and taxation, Holyrood’s parliament will have no more excuses.”
SNP will have the responsibility to intervene whenever something goes wrong. London will be left only with the defence sector and some responsibilities in the area of taxation.” The major political issue of the referendum, scheduled to take place next June 23, when voters will be asked whether they want to remain in the EU, is in the background. This is an extremely delicate issue that could have heavy repercussions on the relations between Scotland (traditionally pro-EU) and London.
The problem of abortion. Also a high number of the 800 thousand Catholics, like the rest of the Scottish population, will vote for the nationalist Party. “In the next two years responsibilities on abortion will be devolved to Edinburgh. The Catholic bishops and pro-life movements hope to progress in reducing the number of voluntary pregnancy interruptions”, said Fr Tom Boyle, assistant to the General Secretary of the Scottish Bishops’ Conference. “We also hope that the new parliament will continue supporting the schools run by the Catholic Church with public funding. There is a movement that opposes these schools, but luckily the major parties intend to continue with the current system. For the bishops it’s important that the poor, old people, the disabled, continue receiving all the treatment they need as is happening today.”