Contributed by Doc Rutherford
There are two important factors to consider in the outcome. Firstly, while the Tory minority government relies on the right wing DUP for its existence, the reality in the North of Ireland is that the progressive republican party, Sinn Fein, continued to consolidate its growing political strength – and has won only one seat less that the DUP . The rival republican SDLP lost all its seats to SF. Given the treacherous role of the British State in Ireland, SF has a long standing policy of not taking up the Westminster seats it consistently wins. And even the DUP opposes the Tory “hard Brexit” strategy (the North of Ireland voted against Brexit and to stay in the EU with open borders). The political momentum for reunification of Ireland has not been affected by the election outcome – indeed it has probably been strengthened by the chaos in England.
Secondly, the hysteria in the mass media about the demise of the Scottish National Party needs to be seen in the context of such statements being little more than wishful thinking on behalf of the English parties (Tory and Labour). The reality is that the SNP again won substantially more seats in Scotland than all the other parties (Tory, Labour and LibDems) combined and still has a healthy majority. This is the third election in a row that in which the SNP has been the clear winner.
The consequences of a weak minority English Tory government dependent on far right Unionist from Northern Ireland will not take long to sink in to those Scottish voters who were seduced into backing Labour. Indeed within a day of the election, the Scottish Conservatives have said they will ‘break away’ from the Tory head office in London and become an ‘índependent’ Scottish conservative party. The Scottish Conservatives are not natural allies of the Irish DUP and indeed have little time for the far right religious bigotry of their new DUP “partners”. The Scottish Conservatives’ relatively successful election campaign, was led by an openly gay protestant woman in a long-term relationship with a catholic woman. The sort of thing the DUP bigots believe is enough to condemn her to hell!
It is fairly clear that the election outcome will seriously weaken the Tory Brexit agenda and destroy any remaining bargaining power with the EU on the terms of Brexit. The “United” Kingdom is, post election, even more fractured and is now most likely entering into a period of historically rapid break up. There is little sense in which the winners of the election can be said to be the English parties – Conservatives or Tories – already there are signs of erupting factional battles within each.
What the election has done is significantly play into the hands of the progressive national struggles within the geographic territory of the British Isles.
The hand of Sinn Fein in its campaign for Irish Unification is almost certainly strengthened by the inevitable conflation of the Northern Ireland politics and the dependence of Westminster on the DUP to govern.
Once the dust settles, it will become clear that very little of any fundamental importance has changed with regard to Scotland’s struggle for regaining its independence. The SNP is still in a strong position and the rise of an even more reactionary Tory regime will do nothing to change that.
Without a new election, Labour will find it near impossible to form a government, unless the Tory-DUP deal collapses. To survive Labour will increasingly be forced to accept that it must focus on becoming a progressive representative of the English in their struggle against neo-liberal austerity. To have a chance of doing so, Labour will need to understand it can no longer play the “Great Britain” chauvinist card and must no longer stand in the way of Scottish independence or Irish unity within the EU.