Strength in Union: The Rise of the Conservative Party in Scotland

Strength in Union: The Rise of the Conservative Party in Scotland

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Strength in Union: The Rise of the Conservative Party in Scotland

According to the latest manifesto (The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto, 2017), 5 approaches for improvement of the situation within the country were proposed by the Scottish Government. They implied long-term goals. Strong economy was the first requirement. After that it was proposed to consider Brexit as a positive phenomenon and as a new step for Scotland, but not interrupt any co-operation with EU countries. Unionism was determined as the third important notion for Scotland in 2018. It was determined that there had to be no social divisions among people. Additionally, people of any age should be provided social security and there had to be decent level of health care. The last point was following the fast changing technologies on order to improve the economy for the sale of Scottish society.

Additionally, in “Localism for Growth” (2017) it was stated that devolution of extensive tax powers is needed for extensive economic growth. Personal taxation, as well as business one ought not to destroy one’s activities, but should support them. Attraction of foreign entrepreneurs was also an aim of the Scottish Conservators. In comparison with the strategies of previous years, in 2016 bigger emphasis was made on welfare level, health and education (The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto, 2016). The Government aimed at correct designing of the Scottish welfare and the reformation of tax system. Conservatives were about to oppose the increased multiplier for bands E and F. Employment issue was also brought up in terms of implementation of The Work Choice Program.

A year earlier, in 2015 the same issues were brought up as well (The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto, 2015). Scottish conservatives planned to increasing the level of medical service, provision of jobs for all, educational reforms and cutting off taxes. Analyzing the manifestoes over the past 3 years, it can be concluded that the issues of reducing taxes for the population, supporting people of all social strata, providing quality medical and educational services are the main aims for Conservatives. The situation gradually improved; however, Brexit put many new questions in the development of the economy of Scotland. It can be argued that each year they promised the same thing, but every year the allegations were repeated with minor amendments.

Scottish National Party has pursued a policy of helping families in terms of medical reforms, improving the quality of education and the availability of various compensation for the different groups of people who need them (Scottish National Party, 2017). An important point in the list of intentions of the Nation Party is the struggle against sexual violence. Conservatives, for example, did not make a big emphasis on it. A year earlier, in 2016, an increase in the number of schools and the availability of free education was aimed. Like the conservatives and the nationalists, the main issues of both the previous years and 2017 were the support of certain social groups of people and the reduction of tax pressure on both persons and business.

Additionally, in 2016 at the congress of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon stated that she and her party were about to hold consultations on a new referendum on Scotland’s independence. However, there were certain obstacles here. For example, according to the Act of Union 1707, the Scottish Parliament had no right to announce the holding of referendums. If the National Party insisted on another referendum, representatives of other parties could file a lawsuit against them with a clear conscience: on the pretext that the legislation on the first referendum said that its results would be decisive.

In 2016 the Labour Party stated that their main aims were stopping the cuts to public services and implementation of an anti-austerity pledge in general (The Scottish Labour Party, 2016). Tax cuts were other main points in their “big list” of changes in the country. The people’s welfare was also an important goal for obtaining for the party. Protection of free education as the greatest investment to the future would be paid by the richest 1% of the country that would have to pay a bit more than usually.

Additionally, according to the plan of 2016, more parents would be helped with employment and financial help would be provided. A year later, in 2017, the party aimed at creation of fair taxation system and implementation of a new employment law (The Scottish Labour Party Manifesto, 2017).  Changes in educational system implied provision of free education, free school meals, correction within the system aiming at improvement of literacy. Economy required changes and reformations as well. Infrastructure investment and helping business to develop were of great importance in the manifesto of 2017. However, the plans of politicians are just plans and ambitions. Between the parties there is also enmity for the fate of Scotland: someone claims that the state should gain independence from England and that the United Kingdom should break up into republics.

Tom Divine (2008) considered Scotland as a separate empire within a large empire in his book. “Scotland and the Union: 1707-2007”. The historian focused on religion that serves as a unifying force for the Scottish people that, however, never gave up the idea of seceding from the monarchy of England. Additionally, the author raises the issue of the history of the Scottish people in hunger and poverty. In the last decade of the 17th century, Scotland was in a terrible state. Hunger destroyed more than 10% of its population, and England, at the same time, did not allow Scotland to trade with its colonies. Nevertheless, England did not aspire to release this state from itself.

Brown at al. (1998) described their views on Tony Blair’s policies and his influence on the entire Scottish Parliament of that time. In the 80s, the Scots wanted to replace the conservatives that had been in power since 1979. Even then, there was a tendency to split Scotland and England, as well as a large number of corruption scandals. Blair was “for” business within the country, so the well-to-do Scots also supported him. At the same time, the Labor Party from the party of the working class turned into a party of one nation, intercepting this banner from the conservatives. An important feature of the policy of that time was Blair’s concentration on the relationship between the culture, identity and ethnicity of the Scots, as well as between politics and civil society.

In general, Tony Blair has achieved much during his reign. He brought the Labour Party to victory three times. However, before his retiring, he could not get rid of the reputation of a man, who has dragged Britain into the Iraq war under false pretenses. Blair sought to become famous not only for his electoral success, but also for something greater. In the past, only Harold Wilson decided to leave the Labor leaders for the early resignation of the prime minister.

Convery (2016) stated that in the 90s, Scotland, in a state of economic crisis, retained signs of former independence, such as the ones that differed from the English system of education, local government and legal proceedings, its Presbyterian church and even a monetary unit equivalent to the British pound sterling. The country was represented in London by a secretary who directed the Office of Scotland. Thus, despite the existence of the United Kingdom, Scotland had ambitions to disconnect. At the same time, the nationalists argued that Scotland's state independence is capable of providing the conditions for improving the Scottish economy. In 1973 2 documents were published: the report of the majority, rejecting the possibility of separating any part The United Kingdom and denied the principle of federalism, considering as the only possible solution to the problem of creating autonomies within a unitary state; and a memorandum of minority insisting on the decentralization of the state, but not on a national basis. According to the results, the organization of regional assemblies was planned, and for Scotland some executive and legislative freedom. But the regions were not given financial authority. Conservatives, not supporting the idea of a referendum, have achieved the establishment of the qualification, which made it difficult to adopt the corresponding bill.

Liddle (2017) described Ruth Davidson as a person, a politician and a woman. The author highlighted her biography in terms of early years, the first steps in politics and success in the leadership of Scotland. For example, in 2009 Davidson left the BBC, and entered the University of Glasgow. 2 years later, in 2011 the Scottish parliamentary election Davidson was selected in September 2010 to contest Glasgow Kelvin constituency and was originally placed only second in the Conservative’s Glasgow region list, the businessman of Glasgow and a party member for more than 30 years.

As a Scottish Conservative leader on May 9, 2011, Davidson became a rival in the election of the party leader. Its competitors later claimed that Davidson received assistance from the Party headquarters, although her supporters said that these demands were part of the slanderous campaign. Davidson supported judges given the ability to effectively convict criminals for the most violent crimes with life imprisonment with the intention that they are never exempted. Davidson also always demanded an end to the automatic release of prisoners and believes that alcohol and drug consumption should not provide a more lenient sentence to people who have committed crimes.

Kidd (2008) defined the Unionism within the United Kingdom. For example, since the end of the 20th century, the number of opponents of unionism is growing in Scotland and Wales and this trend is currently in the minority, as most citizens support the theory of secession. The Scottish National Party, having won parliamentary elections in 2011, by its actions led to the fact that in autumn 2014 a referendum on the independence of Scotland took place, at which more than 50% of the voters still spoke against the independence of the country.

Midwinter et al (1991) discussed the public policy of Britain in his book. They singled out several aspects. For example, in theory any Member of Parliament could be appointed to the First Minister. However, the government must be relevant and acceptable to Parliament to receive the supply. Also, there is no term for the first minister. Political parties are also prepared to make a lot of proposals for constitutional reform, which can affect the entire United Kingdom. Undoubtedly, such reforms are now extremely necessary. However, they cannot be developed in the course of private consultations between party members. Moreover, these reforms cannot be conducted through the House of Commons for the benefit of a particular party. Now it has become a real threat. Too many representatives of the Conservative Party are interested in the policy of England to a much greater extent than the policy of Scotland or of the United Kingdom as a whole.

Tannam (2016) said that the Conservatives received 318 seats in the House of Commons: 13 less than in the previous parliament. The Labor Party received 262 seats: 30 places more and liberal democrats - only 13 places. The representative office of the Scottish Nationalist Party SNP has significantly decreased in the British Parliament, i.e. by 19 mandates from 54 to 35 seats. In order to secure an absolute majority in the lower house of the British Parliament, the party must receive 326 seats. As a result, the next day after the early elections, Great Britain received the so-called. “A hanging parliament”, which means that no party won the majority of seats in the House of Commons, neither side has a direct mandate to form a new government. For all the post-war years, Britain had only one parliamentary term to have a coalition government. Coalitions do not fit well with the British parliamentary tradition.

References

Brown, A., McCrone, D., Paterson, L. 1998. Politics and Society in Scotland. Paperback. Palgrave Macmillan.

Carrel, Severin. 2017. Tory and SNP Positions in Scotland Suggest Surge in Tactical Voting. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/19/tory-and-snp-positions-in-scotland-suggest-surge-in-tactical-voting. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

Convery, Alan. 2016. The territorial Conservative Party. Devolution and party change in Scotland and Wales. Manchester University Press.

Devine, T.M. 2008. Scotland and the Union: 1707-2007. Edinburgh University Press.

Kidd, Colin. 2008. Union and Unionisms: Political Thought in Scotland. Paperback. Cambridge University Press.

Liddle, Andrew. 2017. Ruth Davidson: Strong Opposition. Biteback Publishing.

Midwinter, A.F., Keating, M., Mitchell, J. 1991. Politics and Public Policy in Scotland. Palgrave Macmillan.

Scottish National Party. 2016. Re-elect. Retrieved from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/thesnp/pages/5540/attachments/original/1485880018/SNP_Manifesto2016-web_(1).pdf?1485880018. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

Scottish National Party. 2017. Stronger for Scotland. Retrieved from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/thesnp/pages/9544/attachments/original/1496320559/Manifesto_06_01_17.pdf?1496320559. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

Tannam, Etain. 2016. Brexit and the Future of the United Kingdom. Instituto Affari Internazionali. Retrieved from http://www.iai.it/sites/default/files/iaiwp1616.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto. 2016. A Strong Opposition - A Stronger Scotland. Retrieved from http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Scottish-Conservative-Manifesto_2016-DIGITAL-SINGLE-PAGES.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2017. 2017. Forward Together: Our Plan for a Stronger Scotland, a Stronger Britain and Prosperous Future. Retrieved from http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GE2017_Manifesto_A5_Scottish_DIGITAL.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2017. 2017. Localism for Growth: Local Government Election Manifesto. Retrieved from http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Scottish-Conservative-Manifesto_2017_DIGITAL.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2015. 2015. Strong Leadership: A Brighter, more Secure Future. http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Scottish-Manifesto_GE15.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

The Scottish Labour Party. 2016. Invest in Scotland’s Future. Both Votes Labour. Retrieved from http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/page/-/images/Manifesto%202016/Scottish%20Labour%20Manifesto%202016.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

The Scottish Labour Party Manifesto. 2017. Together We’re Stronger. Retrieved from http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/page/-/Manifesto%202017.pdf. Accessed on 5 November, 2017.

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