LONDON/EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Just weeks after seeing their dream of an independent Scotland wiped out in an historic referendum defeat, Scottish nationalists have turned failure into a revival which could transform British politics at next year’s UK general election.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) may have failed to persuade voters to back independence from Britain, but appears to be winning the argument that it can do a better job fighting for Scottish interests than Scottish branches of London parties.
The result could be a wipe-out for the Scottish chapter of Britain’s centre-left Labour Party, which has dominated Scotland’s delegation to the UK parliament for generations, and a thumping SNP victory that could make it kingmakers in London.
According to a poll by Ipsos-MORI last week, the SNP which now has just six seats in the House of Commons in London, would win 54 of the 59 Scottish seats in the UK parliament next year.
That would potentially turn it into the Britain’s third party, able to pick which of the UK-wide parties could form a government to rule Britain, the country it tried to leave.
Labour’s Scottish delegation, meanwhile, would collapse from 41 Scottish seats to just four, according to the poll.
“It’s a bizarre situation,” Alan Massie, a veteran Scottish commentator, wrote in The Scotsman. “The party that was defeated in the referendum and rejected over most of Scotland is full of confidence and behaving as if it had won.”
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