The strain on the unity of the UK is very great in the wake of the General Election. Scotland has voted massively for the Scottish National Party. England has reacted by backing the Conservatives. The Scots complaint that they never vote Tory but frequently get Conservative governments has been reinforced.
The fact that they ignored Labour’s warnings that a vote for the SNP would let in David Cameron, merely shows their total determination to express their frustration.
Although the SNP’s MPs have been elected to the Westminster parliament and the election was not a vote for a new independence referendum; the probable dynamics of the next few years point in that direction.
Far from being the power brokers at Westminster, the SNP will be shut out in the face of this unexpected Tory majority. Furthermore we will now have a referendum on our membership of the European Union. As I have argued before, there is a real prospect of a no vote. If the SNP isn’t already demanding a second independence referendum; they certainly will do as they are dragged out of the EU by English votes.
I thought the Tories would get the credit for the improvement in the economy but didn’t expect them to be rewarded with a majority. Nor did I expect the Lib Dems to be so brutally punished for their decision to go into coalition.
The parties performances across the North of England told the tale of the night. Labour did well in areas like Merseyside. They increased their majorities and took seats like Chester and Wirral West; although in the latter case the loss of Esther McVey as the sole Tory voice for the area may prove a disadvantage.
Around the Pennines Labour’s results were poor. Ed Balls defeat on the outskirts of Leeds attracted most attention but Labour missed target seats from Pendle to Pudsey.
The Lib Dems terrible night saw them lose their trio of seats from Withington to Hazel Grove. Ukip got impressive votes but no cigar in terms of seats.
Now we wait to see where the Tories will make twelve billions of cuts and whether the Northern Powerhouse will be fully developed across the north.