Irish Republican News · May 8, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Scottish nationalist triumph challenges union

Scotland moved closer to independence after the Scottish National Party (SNP) became the largest party in the Scottish parliament this week.

The Scottish nationalists ended 50 years of dominance by Tony Blair’s Labour in Scotland after final election results were tallied on Saturday. Labour also suffered heavy losses in local council elections in England and Wales.

The London government now faces the tricky problem of dealing with surging support for the SNP, which has pledged to hold a referendum in three years on independence from Britain.

“This is a historic moment,” SNP leader Alex Salmond said. “The Labour Party has no moral authority left to govern Scotland.”

Labour, a staunch supporter of Scottish union with England, has attacked the SNP’s referendum plan, saying it could lead to uncertainty and undermine Scotland’s economy.

Final results showed the SNP with 47 seats to Labour’s 46 in the 129-member Scottish parliament, which has power over issues such as health and education.

The SNP’s astounding gain of 20 seats compared with the 2003 election left it short of an absolute majority.

The SNP is detested by the English establishment, with Salmond either ignored or treated as a hate figure by London’s mainstream media. Rival parties, with the exception of the Greens, have refused to enter negotiations for a coalition for Scotland’s devolved parliament without a guarantee that the SNP will drop its plan for a referendum.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News