Scotland, NO means NO?

Alex Salmond, the luck runs out and there never was a plan, sunk?

Salmond and the SNP sunk?Salmond and the SNP sunk?
So Scotland voted NO? In general when dealing with politics it's wise to stick to facts. Over on EUReferendum Richard North has crunched the numbers and neither David Cameron nor Alex Salmond can claim they have the full support of their people and so act 'on their behalf'.

The trigger for the current referendum was, of course, David Cameron, who became prime minister in 2010 on the back of a 36.1 percent Conservative vote, on a turnout of 65.1 percent, giving him a mandate of 23.5 percent. 

In the Scottish Parliament election, though, the turnout was a mere 50 percent, and Mr Salmond with his SNP, the driver of yesterday's referendum, snuck in on a list vote of 44 percent, picking up a mandate of 22 percent. 

This blog has always had doubts about a Scottish referendum with Salmond involved. Back in 2007 we published this, all these years later what we wrote then still holds -

Surely an independent country responsible for its own affairs is also responsible for its own revenue? Relying on taxpayers from abroad, the English, would not be an option.

And yet in what appears to be a fit of panic in the last days of a two year campaign Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg made such a promise.

From the start of the rise of the SNP at Holyrood the party and Salmond have become as one. Much as the trick question asks: 'name five famous Belgians'? The ability to name four other big names from the SNP eludes most people. So once the Nats lost the vote, what would happen to Salmond became the big question? Just days ago another rather dodgy Scot, George Galloway, suggested that had Salmond won he would have stayed in office 'for ever', like Eamon de Valera Well that could have been the most sensible and helpful thing uttered by Galloway in years as Salmond promptly resigned!

The influence of de Valera upon the foundation of Ireland is obvious what is less clear are the benefits he brought. As we wrote in the 2007 post -

Perhaps it is also practical to have a look at the SNP's own history; formed in 1934 from an amalgamation of political enthusiasts, it contained a broad mixture, with many former Liberal and Labour party members, some of whom were besotted by Irish politics and in awe of Sinn Féin.

Had Salmond stayed the SNP would have faced huge difficulties in surmounting its failure in the referendum whilst keeping the old leader. For make no mistake Salmond as leader was not that much of a benefit as might be thought -

Perhaps the most telling statistics of the night come from Salmond's own constituency of Aberdeenshire. Even there, he was convincingly defeated, with 108,606 votes backing the "no" campaign (60.4 percent), compared to 71,337 voting "yes" (39.6 percent). This was on an 87.2 percent turnout, which means that only one in three of Alex Salmond's own constituents (34.5 percent) voted for independence.

But what of the other big beast in this battle, what of Cameron? His supporters may hope that seeing Salmond off will help him in both the long and short term. This we doubt. For Salmond has dropped the problem onto Cameron's shoulders. It is Cameron who must now make those rash promises come true; and he could well fail. The promises were made in the dying days of the campaign with the same sort of bluster favoured by Salmond and we now see they need not have been made. The YES side were never that well up with only one poll putting them ahead. Cameron has been foolish.

And what of the smaller beasts, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg? It will suit both Labour and the LibDems to pretend that Salmond has sunk, Cameron is at risk of damage and they can sail on as before; not so. In aiming to reshape the United Kingdom, which is an entirely valid thing to try to do, the SNP chose a flawed approach and lost. For many people, not just Scots, change is still on the agenda. Failure to face this, so far the reaction of Labour and the LibDems, is yet another flawed approach. Cameron has rather loftily declared that -

the subject of independence is off the agenda for a generation

This is, Tony Blair style, an aspiration rather than a certainty. As if to wrap the whole thing up other people are asking what, if anything, the SNP achieved? Well considering how poorly structured their campaign was quite a lot. So the SNP, dead in the water? Going back to Blair for a quote, the idiot who did so much to create the referendum bandwagon, 'it's too early to say'!

Footnote -

The suitably named Independent has a very fair summary of Salmond HERE