Pretty much all General Elections are described as “historic” and “the most important of our lives” etc at various points in their individual campaigns. Every once in a while, it’s actually true! December 12 2019 will undoubtedly be one of them for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it will undoubtedly lead to the UK leaving the European Union for a number of years. There is no doubt in my mind that Johnson and his tories will pass the Withdrawal Act within weeks and we will “get Brexit done” by January 31. Whatever that most vacuous of phrases actually means. The hard work of trade deals etc lies ahead but sadly that was a fact that millions did not wish to acknowledge.
Secondly, it was perhaps the election where climate and the damage we are doing to the planet actually started to matter. The very fact that a Leaders Debate even took place, albeit without the Prime Minster, was significant in moving the way people thought about the issue or even made them start to do so.
Third, because we saw a level of commitment and passion from the youth across the UK to not only take part by voting but to try and change the agenda. For generations we have watched politicians pay no more than lip service to the new generation of voters, casually assuming that they would simply follow their parents lead. This time we saw the parents begin to follow their children instead and this is a trend which will I expect continue.
Fourthly, it was the election which finally saw the London media actually realise that Scotland is indeed a very different country from England and we want to travel in a different way to a very different destination. The Unionists are finally being asked how a “Union of 4 equal countries” can see one told that it cannot decide its own future by another. That is the classic case of why the Union will end, not because of what we in the Independence movement do or say but because those who claim to be the biggest supporters of the union are intellectually incapable of seeing the inherent flaws. Strangely enough, it may well be that the threat from across the Irish Sea could well bring them to see that the current set up is unsustainable. You cannot have a future when Scotland and N Ireland are pulling away and England feels increasingly resentful of what is seen as constant carping from people who the English feel that they subsidise.
Fifthly, follows on from that point. There is an opportunity to use these results to try and force Unionist MPs in England to explain why they are not willing to listen to the voices in England who feel that they are being used as a cash cow to provide services such as free prescriptions, free university places and free care to an ungrateful lot. In Scotland especially. If Scotland is indeed such an economic basket case, why are they so desperate to hang on to us? Why are they not campaigning to have all that extra money available to provide free prescriptions etc for the hard-pressed constituents they are supposed to represent?
Finally, it is, I believe, historic in the very truest sense in that it will be recorded as the last General Election of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I do not believe that the Union will survive the lifetime of this Parliament (assuming it runs for the full 5-year term). If Johnson and the tories have a mandate because they won the majority of seats in the House of Commons how can they deny that the SNP have a mandate on the exact same basis. 365 seats out of 650 giving them 56% of the seats against the SNP 47 out of 59 giving 79%. If their mandate is based on the popular vote, well again they won 44% of the vote and the SNP won 45% of the vote.
A house, as the bible teaches us, cannot stand if it is divided against itself and the Union most certainly fits that description. History teaches us that all Empires collapse because of the failure to adapt to changing circumstances and as we listen to the Unions staunchest defenders deny the people the opportunity to choose their own destiny we are reminded that they have lost this argument each and every time across the centuries from the America to Africa.