What an election. Corbyn confounded his detractors and gave Theresa May a run for her money.
The Conservatives have lost their House of Commons majority. Theresa May is a dead woman walking. Her party is now reduced to seeking the backing of the Democratic Unionist Party in order to form a working government. That’s Unionism.
In Scotland the big story was the widely expected gains for the Scottish Conservatives. Former SNP leader Alex Salmond lost his seat as did the SNP leader at Westminster Angus Robertson.
Pete Wishart held on by the skin of his teeth – just twenty one votes, whilst Stephen Gethins held on by an unprecedented two votes. There were unexpected gains for the Scottish Labour party. The Corbyn effect has pumped breath into the Scottish Labour corpse.
Overall the SNP lost twenty one of its seats to the combined efforts of the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems. It felt like a disaster. It felt like a loss. Indyref2 is dead according to the BBC.
But hold on. To use boxing parlance, our man was knocked down a few times but he got back up, battered his opponent black-and-blue and achieved a unanimous points win. The SNP, despite facing the dual onslaught of British Nationalist tactical voting and a Corbyn surge, maintained its majority.
The 2015 result that witnessed fifty six seats going to the SNP was a post-indyref fluke. It could never be repeated. This general election was merely the expected levelling out, some shock defeats notwithstanding.
And what of the state broadcaster?
As John Swinney rightly pointed out, Nicola Sturgeon also had to contend with a BBC which in Scotland turned this general election into a mid-term Holyrood election.
The SNP found itself relentlessly pressed on issues that had nothing to do with Westminster. Voters reacted accordingly.
The BBC has had a great deal of influence in the Scottish outcome of this general election. I myself highlighted the state broadcaster’s obsession with the constituency of Moray and the benefits to Unionists of the high-profile coverage given Unionist ‘target seats’. I’ve also noted the absolute refusal of the BBC and the rest of our media to pursue Ruth Davidson who lied her way through the campaign.
Ruth ran an effective if basic campaign. She appealed to raw British Nationalism. She used the council elections to push her general election message of no to indyref2. BBC Scotland played its part by insisting indyref2 was the single-most important issue in Scotland. It didn’t matter what Nicola Sturgeon said, the BBC was always going to run with Ruth Davidson’s inspired narrative.
It’s true that there is opposition to a second referendum, but there is also support. Remember the reasons for Indyref2 making its sooner than expected appearance was Scotland being dragged out of the EU against our will. Hard Brexit is still lurking in the background.
So where does it leave us? The SNP, I repeat, won this election in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon said a majority of Westminster seats would be seen as a ‘triple lock’ for a second independence referendum. Her party achieved this majority. She needs to honour this manifesto commitment. To roll back on her manifesto pledge will effectively send a message to the electorate that the Unionists did indeed win.
Theresa May is mortally wounded. The Tory party at Westminster has been weakened. Now is not the time for the SNP to appear on the back-foot. The party must act like the winners they are. Come out swinging.
The First Minister needs to continue with her pre-election line of compromise. Scotland voted to remain in the European Union. Nicola Sturgeon should quickly reiterate her demand for EU Single Market membership. No membership means Indyref2 is absolutely still on the table. Anything else would be seen as capitulation.
The elephant in the SNP room is of course BBC Scotland. It remains a corrupt pro-Union entity.
Pacific Quay very deliberately sought to confuse Scottish voters by shoe-horning devolved issues into every debate and discussion. A single report on Scottish education became the motif for the BBC’s Scottish campaign.
The SNP found itself defending its Holyrood record. Ruth Davidson and the other Unionist leaders made hay.
BBC Scotland continues to be the problem the SNP will not address. That said, the party cannot directly challenge the state broadcaster’s claims of impartiality. The corrupt BBC and its corrupt media allies would present the nationalists as bitter ‘losers’ looking to blame a trusted media outlet.
What the independence movement needs is a separate campaign group, a think-tank if you like, whose job it would be to highlight the excesses of Pacific Quay. And there are excesses.
On the question of the constitution we witnessed three voices against one. The SNP were outnumbered in every debate and discussion. The public was presented with a non-stop crescendo of ‘divisive referendum’ sound-bites. Even now with Nicola Sturgeon’s party having achieved a second majority of Scottish Westminster seats, the defeated Unionists are hogging the airwaves with a three-to-one advantage.
BBC Scotland needs to be challenged by people with the gravitas to mount such a challenge. We need senior figures within the Yes movement to come together on this. The independence movement needs to mount a highly visible challenge to BBC Scotland. We may be running out of time.Views: 8914