The Election in Scotland – Our Voice in Crisis

Was it just me who felt triumphant last Friday morning?

Didn’t we all witness young people stand up and reject Theresa May’s cynicism and complacency? Sadly not, as my friends were quick to point out; not in this country at least. Although the SNP technically won the election north of the border, a Tory resurgence cost them powerful figures like Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson. It may have always been impossible to replicate the landslide 2015 result, but the fact remains that they are no longer the united voice of the Scottish people – which is dangerous for them but devastating for Scotland’s youth.

Truthfully, although I have never fully embraced the SNP, I deeply admire those who have backed them and independence in their fight for a fairer society. When Labour were at their weakest, their movement created a strong opposition to Tory austerity. But as support for Jeremy Corbyn’s message intensified during this election, Nicola Sturgeon’s dominance was shaken by criticisms of her government’s record and her alleged focus on the constitution. This could have resulted in many returning to a reinvigorated Labour; in fact, the First Minister may have denied such a revival fearing the damage to IndyRef2. Instead, young people either divided their vote between the two parties and the Lib Dems or just didn’t vote at all, as suggested by an allegedly lower turnout compared to England.

When a friend and I discussed our growing support for Corbyn’s vision, he explained that he would still vote SNP because of the divide between Scottish and English Labour – which encapsulates the crisis for our generation. If the SNP does not restore the trust of the faithful, there isn’t an adequate replacement through Kezia Dugdale. She has yet to shake her party’s image as the dreaded “Red Tories”, and her disdain for Corbyn is obvious.

However, it is Corbyn who commands the momentum of a newly socialist Labour Party; some have already expressed their preference to be governed by him in Westminster than by Sturgeon in Holyrood. And yet Dugdale’s camp shows little sign of joining him, and if this continues, Scotland’s youth will be alienated from politics – leaving the Tories to take full advantage of any cracks in SNP support.

[Dominic Miller]

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