If the SNP sweep to victory in the general election, crushing Scottish Labour, their dream of independence could be realisedby Peter Kellner / March 5, 2015 / Leave a comment
With the benefit of hindsight, we now know the 2015 general election was a watershed that set Scotland on the road to independence. Both the Labour and Conservative parties underestimated the hostility of Scottish voters to London’s politicians. The SNP won three in five seats in Scotland. Overnight, Labour went from being the dominant party to also-rans. It never recovered. For some years after 2015, the SNP used its strength to demand more powers for Holyrood, but eventually the demand for full independence could not be contained.
A wild prediction? Perhaps. But it’s also precisely what happened before. For Scotland, read Ireland. For Labour and SNP, read the Liberals and Home Rule League. For 2015, read 1874.
Before 1922, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Until 1868, its politics were dominated by the Liberals and Conservatives, with the Liberals usually having more MPs. William Gladstone, Prime Minister of the reforming 1868 Liberal government, responding to pressure from Ireland, passed the Irish Land Act. This gave tenant farmers more security. He also disestablished the Irish church.