Consider the following scenarios:
1. The New Labour project is dead in the water after losing the next UK General Election in 2010. They suffer devastating losses in England and Alex Salmond’s nationalists take around 20 seats at Westminster, give or take, but do not hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.
2. Many of the Scots in New Labour’s cabinet lose their parliamentary seats, including London’s Nullipotentiary for England’s last remaining colony of Scotland, Jim Murphy (above). Ex-PM Gordon Brown resigns from politics.
3. With the massive Tory victory, the demand for independence surges by 25 points in the polls. Independence looks certain to succeed. All that stands in the way is an unholy alliance of Unionist parties at Holyrood blocking the referendum. It seems only a matter of time before one of them breaks ranks and allows it to proceed.
Which party will it be?
4. With the New Labour jackboot now removed from their necks, the Scottish Labour party at Holyrood is soon in open revolt, unafraid of criticizing the former policies of London Labour.
5. A Labour ex-First Minister raises the flag of a New Scottish Party, independent of London Labour, and proclaims his support for old-fashioned socialist values in Scotland. Attacking the record of New Labour, he distances himself from the lies told to invade Iraq, politicians fiddling expenses while soldiers face enemy fire with inadequate equipment, support from the Orange Order, nuclear power stations in Scotland, Gordon Brown’s culpability for the UK economic crash, subsequent banking bonuses, and the idea of Trident on the Clyde.
All of which resonates strongly around Scotland.
6. Scottish trade unions announce that they will fund the New Scottish Party directly, rather than sending their donations through London Labour.
7. Seeing this as their only chance of avoiding the political oblivion of their UK counterparts, Scottish Labour MSPs declare their support for the New Scottish Party en masse.
8. What is left of New Labour cries foul, only to be ignored by the New Scottish Party.
9. The nationalist lead in the polls is wiped out overnight. The New Scottish Party is immediately neck and neck with the SNP, and independence is no longer inevitable.
10. The New Scottish Party leader calls Salmond’s bluff and declares his desire for a referendum to settle the matter once and for all. “Independence is a matter for the Scottish people to decide,” he says. “We must respect their democratic will.” Both the Unions and the Scottish media, seeing the chance to kill off independence, immediately back the challenge.
11. London Labour protests, and, now seen as a separate party, is again ignored.
12. Salmond accepts the challenge and the referendum is on.
13. The whole country gets behind it, seeing it as an exercise in democracy that will settle the independence question for a generation. The other Holyrood parties are beside themselves with panic.
14. The referendum is held and one of two things happens:
Scenario A: Scotland votes NO to independence. The debate is passionate but the poll is seen as fair, and Salmond’s central policy is shown to be a fizzer. In 2011 the Scottish electorate, recognizing the old fashioned socialist values the New Scottish Party now represents, and the leader's toughness in taking the fight to Salmond, elect the New Scottish Party as the next devolved Scottish government in 2011, with the SNP in opposition.
Result: the members of the New Scottish Party are back in power and Scottish independence is averted.
Scenario B: Scotland votes YES to independence. Salmond and his nationalist government negotiate an end to the Union, and Scotland becomes an independent country. The first election in an independent Scotland for over 300 years is called in 2011. Similar to what happened to Churchill after WW2, the Scottish electorate sees Salmond as having done his job and vote him out of power, and the New Scottish Party becomes the first government of Scotland, with the SNP in opposition.
Result: the New Scottish Party is the party of power in a newly independent Scotland. Salmond gains his place in history as the deliverer of independence, but not as the architect of the independent Scottish state. The Tory and LibDem parties are suspected by the electorate of still being part of their UK parent parties and their support is obliterated for opposing the referendum.
RESULT EITHER WAY: after the Tories are elected in 2010, the best chance Scottish Labour have got of keeping their jobs in Holyrood is to distance themselves from London Labour and to agree to the referendum.
Scenario C: In May 2011, with the Tories having been in power in London for a year, the SNP appears as the only party that has stood up to the them and fought Scotland's corner. Labour's attacks on the Tories have sounded impotent, and have only served to underline what a mess they left for the Tories to sort out. After years of the Unionist parties point-blank refusing to hold the referendum, the May 2011 Holyrood election becomes a de facto referendum on independence, and Labour, the Tories and the LibDems ALL lose A LOT of seats to the SNP.
The SNP is very close to forming a majority government and independence draws even closer.
UPDATEUnion poll shows majority in favour of independence