Spain’s Rajoy Pours Cold Water on Scottish EU Hopes

Mariano Rajoy
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy looks out the window of a cable car in Sóller, Majorca, June 22 (PP)

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has poured cold water on Scotland’s hopes of staying in the EU without leaving the United Kingdom.

“The United Kingdom leaves and with it all those who make up the United Kingdom,” Rajoy said on Wednesday after meeting with other leaders in Brussels.

I want to be very clear: Scotland does not have the competence to negotiate with the European Union.

Rajoy, a Spanish nationalist, worries about setting a precedent that would encourage the independence movement in Catalonia. Read more “Spain’s Rajoy Pours Cold Water on Scottish EU Hopes”

Gibraltar and Scotland in Talks to Stay in European Union

Gibraltar
Gibraltar at dusk (Shutterstock/Philip Lange)

Gibraltar is in talks with Scotland to find a way for both to stay in the European Union, the BBC has learned.

One possibility under discussion is for Gibraltar and Scotland, which both voted to stay in the EU, to maintain the United Kingdom’s membership of the bloc.

Northern Ireland, which also voted to remain, could potentially be included in the talks.

Majorities in England and Wales voted in a referendum on Thursday to leave the EU. Read more “Gibraltar and Scotland in Talks to Stay in European Union”

Both Conservatives, Labour Should Have Done Better

The sun rises over London, England
The sun rises over London, England (Uncoated)

Local elections in the United Kingdom on Thursday provided the biggest litmus test of the parties’ popularity since the 2015 general election.

The results were mixed.

After so many surveys called the last election wrong, pollsters and pundits were more cautious this time around. But two assumptions were nevertheless made: that the English council elections would follow the pattern of punishing the national governing party and that the Scottish National Party would keep its majority north of the border, possibly even wipe out Labour.

Neither of these predictions quite came to pass. Read more “Both Conservatives, Labour Should Have Done Better”

Scots Largely Overlook Ruling Party’s Failures

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland gives a speech in Tweedbank, September 9, 2015 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish National Party took a small beating in local elections on Thursday but still came out way ahead of the other parties in the region, winning 63 out of 129 seats in the legislature.

That is down six from the last election and means the SNP no longer has a majority of its own. But it is still more than the Conservatives and Labour won combined.

The result comes despite low oil prices throwing serious doubts on the party’s plans for independence and an unimpressive record in education, health care and policing. Read more “Scots Largely Overlook Ruling Party’s Failures”

Scottish Nationalists Take Advantage of Labour Upheaval

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland gives a speech in Tweedbank, September 9
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland gives a speech in Tweedbank, September 9 (Scottish Government)

Nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon told Scots on Saturday that with Labour in disarray, her party was the only thing standing between them and “another decade of Tory government.”

In doing so, she may have reignited the debate about Scottish independence that Britain’s ruling Conservatives had hoped to put to rest with a referendum last year. Read more “Scottish Nationalists Take Advantage of Labour Upheaval”

Scots Indifferent to Nationalist Party’s Failures

View of the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, November 16, 2011
View of the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, November 16, 2011 (Wikimedia Commons/Ronnie Macdonald)

Most Scottish voters seem indifferent to their ruling party’s policy failures. An Ipsos Mori survey for STV released this week suggested that the Scottish National Party could win an even bigger majority in next year’s regional elections while 71 percent approve of First Minister Nicolas Sturgeon’s job performance.

By contrast, only 28 percent of Scots say the British prime minister, David Cameron, is doing a good job. Read more “Scots Indifferent to Nationalist Party’s Failures”

Conservatives: No More Powers for Scotland Than Promised

The flag of Scotland
The flag of Scotland (Paul Morgan)

Britain’s Conservatives will not devolve more powers to Scotland than they’ve already promised, Prime Minister David Cameron’s new Scotland secretary has said.

The Financial Times reports that David Mundell, the only Conservative Party member elected north of the border, will seek to enact within months a series of reforms Britain’s major parties — including the Scottish nationalists — agreed to last year.

But there will not be anything close to federalization, he said, which would give Scotland not only spending but full tax powers.

“Full fiscal autonomy is not in Scotland’s interest or in the United Kingdom’s interest,” according to Mundell. “It would leave a £7 billion black hole in Scotland’s finances.” Read more “Conservatives: No More Powers for Scotland Than Promised”

Scottish Nationalists Bound to Disappoint Supporters

Edinburgh Scotland
View of the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, November 16, 2011 (Wikimedia Commons/Ronnie Macdonald)

Despite winning 56 out of Scotland’s 59 seats in Britain’s general election on Thursday, the Scottish National Party is almost certain to disappoint its supporters.

The nationalists were expecting to play kingmakers in the new Parliament. Polls had shown neither Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives nor the opposition Labour Party winning an outright majority. With the SNP set to take over almost all of Labour’s seats in Scotland, it was projected to be able to give the socialists a majority.

But the Conservatives eked out a majority of their own while Labour did worse than expected. It went down from 257 to 232 seats when 323 are needed for a working majority. Read more “Scottish Nationalists Bound to Disappoint Supporters”

Scottish Nationalists Less Progressive Than They Claim

David Cameron Alex Salmond
British prime minister David Cameron and Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, shakes hands in Edinburgh, October 15, 2012 (Scottish Government)

Stories published in the Financial Times and New Statesman this weekend argue that the Scottish National Party is actually more corporatist than socialist and that Labour voters may in for a disappointment if the two go into coalition together.

With polls showing the nationalists winning as many as 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in the general election next week, a minority Labour government would probably need their support to stay in power.

Some leftwingers relish the prospect, seeing the SNP as a less compromising progressive party that would presumably tug Labour to the left. Nicola Sturgeon, the party leader and Scottish first minister, has taken Labour’s Ed Miliband to task for accepting many of the Conservative-led government’s austerity measures and often reminds voters the National Health Service north of the border is more generously funded.

Left-wing voters should be careful what they wish for, though, argues the New Statesman, a magazine that supports Labour. The SNP “has no ideological core” and is first and foremost a separatist movement. Read more “Scottish Nationalists Less Progressive Than They Claim”

Scottish Nationalists Set to Divide Britain in May Election

Alex Salmond
Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond attends a meeting in Sacramento, California, June 19, 2012 (Scottish Government/Feature Photo Service/Matt Petit)

Even if only 45 percent of Scots voted for independence last year, they could still divide the United Kingdom in May’s election.

Polls conducted by the Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft and released on Friday confirm that the Scottish National Party is set for a landslide victory next month. Read more “Scottish Nationalists Set to Divide Britain in May Election”