No Democracy without Independence

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Commentary | No Comments

Vote share infographic

A belief in democracy is what lies at the root of my nationalist sentiments. Having the Tories back in power takes me back to when I first became aware of politics in the 80s and 90s, when seemingly unelectable Conservative governments were re-elected in 1987 and 1992. I couldn’t understand how this was possible, for nobody I knew had anything but contempt for them.

Years later, when I spent a few years living in Oxford I discovered that the Conservatives, and their policies,  actually did enjoy significant support. Thatcher was even idolised by earnest but clueless young men, bound for careers in the City, who lectured me that there was no north-south divide in the UK.

The winning party in a UK general election typically enjoys 40 – 45 % of the vote, but due to the peculiarities of our voting system it has a far greater proportion of the seats and is therefore able to impose its will on the nation. The infographic above shows that in Scotland the Conservative government won only about a quarter of the vote between 1979 and 1997 . The Conservatives won only 16.7 % of the vote at the last general election yet they are still in power, albeit almost imperceptibly tempered by their Lib Dem coalition partners. With each announcement of another disagreeable policy the thought occurs to me that if we had the government we voted for, none of this would be happening.

For most of my life I have been governed by people for which only a small minority of my compatriots have voted. And it will happen again, maybe in 2015 but certainly in  5, 10 or 15 years’ time. Boris as PM with 10 % of the Scottish vote? No thanks. Fortunately something can be done. We can seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity, vote for independence and get the governments we vote for.

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