Friday, January 12, 2007

Gordon Brown and the Scots

It is pretty widely held that being Scottish is a handicap for Gordon Brown in securing the English vote. This should be at least partially compensated for by enthusing Scottish voters, shouldn't it? That would certainly be the logic in the US where southern John Edwards, for example, was supposed to offer the chance of delivering a Republican safe seat.

However, it seems implausible in Scotland for two reasons. Firstly, most Scottish seats are Labour's to lose. The key Conservative-Labour marginals are in England. Any influence Brown might have in helping to beat the SNP or Liberal Democrats is of less electoral importance than his impact in the South though still significant.

More importantly I have the vague impression that although Scots are often very nationalistic they aren't exactly overly keen on each other. They're a contentious people and express their nationalism more in a disdain for other nationalities, in particular the English, than in some great enthusiasm for their own.

At a time of such nationalistic fervour they also might see a Scot running to be leader of the United Kingdom as something of a turncoat. Especially if he constantly celebrates how British he is in an effort to get on the good side of the English. In fact, I imagine they might find an actual Englishman far less offensive.

I guess we'll see.

1 comment:

Gracchi said...

Its interesting- the real test for Brown could be the May elections for teh Scottish Parliament which will test out his appeal there. I do think you are right that this isn't going to be a strength but personally I think it could be a weakness. Incidentally my own opinion is that this week- Bush dealt a real blow to Brown with the Iraq speech- Brown would have liked a quick withdrawel and there that plan went.