So, Alex Salmond becomes our first pro-independence First Minister. He was voted in 49 to 46 and the libdems and Tories abstained.
That breaks down as 47 Scottish National Party (SNP) Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) voting for him and the two green MSPs. The 46 labour MSPs voted against him. 16 Libdems and 17 tories did not vote at all.
What will be the practical upshot of all this with regards Scottish Independence?
Before I start, let me state that I AM a supporter of Scottish independence but I AM NOT a supporter of the SNP (or any other party for that matter).
Well in the first instance it means bollocks to you Jack McConnell, good riddance.
What is Salmond like? Well, I met him once, very briefly at the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh and he was happy to walk round with us until he found out we had opinions a great deal to the left of him at which point he made his excuses and scarpered.
He is a very good debater. That doesn’t mean he is correct, it just means he is good at arguing.
He is also a very clever politician. I have seen him one night addressing a group of radicals at anti-war meetings and then two days later speaking in a white tie affair to groups of major businesspeople. A slippery customer, in fact, a politician.
His election does not mean independence is just around the corner. Certain forces will fight tooth and nail to keep Scotland in the Disunited Kingdom (at least until the oil runs out). The viciousness of the campaign and the scaremongering in the supposedly Scottish media are proof enough of this. And without a 50% majority and the possibility of a running a minority government then, for the moment at least, it looks like the unionists might have their way.
The plans for a referendum on Scottish Independence will have to be fought for. The Unionist parties are not going to let that come to fruition without a fight.
It is a step in the right direction for Scotland, not because it is Salmond, not because its the SNP but for these reasons…
1. it is a pro-independence party, and this despite the deluge of vicious propaganda we face every day telling us we should not be independent
2. it is not labour
3. it is not labour (such a big point it was worth mentioning twice)
4. it is an anti-war party (at least in terms of Iraq)
Finally, for international readers I would hate for you to get confused between the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the British National Party (BNP).
The Scottish National Party on domestic policies are not particularly radical (though they may be marginally to the left of new labour and old tory) and they could still be termed a pro-business party. In their party they have a wide variety of ethnicities and they are an inclusive party in this respect.They believe in Scottish Independence.
The British National Party (BNP) are a bigoted group of far-right thugs that believe in making foreigners leave the UK, are sort of Britains equivalent of the KKK and have nothing to do with the SNP.