The stunning SNP results in Scotland and the slaughter of Labour and the Lib Dems in Scotland and elsewhere make this an election completely different from any in my lifetime.
First, there seems to be a lot of chat about the SNP forcing a second referendum over independence. Inevitably that will happen. Hollyrood is there and functioning, and there is a a load of discussion over the types and limits of the devolved powers. However, like pregnancy, you can’t only be a bit independent. The people are way ahead of the politicians. Scotland has turned it’s back on Westminster. All the politicians can do now is catch up.
If that means leaving Westminster after the inevitable falling out with the Tories and raising the Saltire above Hollyrood, then that is what will happen. The signs are already there, Human Rights has caused a major rift this week. England will vote to abolish the EU legislation, Scotland will vote against abolition. We haven’t even started talking about Europe, money, submarines or austerity versus welfare spending.
I felt at the time of the referendum that the process said more about England than Scotland. Scots have a clear sense of identity, the English need to find one. While everything continues to be defined in terms of distance from Mayfair and the Civil Service geography of “London and the Provinces” lives on, that is where their problem will lie.
Time will tell.