Glenrothes and Labour

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The Labour victory in Glenrothes was about more than a bounce for Gordon Brown (Frontlines, Socialist Review, December 2008).

Politics is moving fast. This time last year I was having debates about the nature of Scottish nationalism and the break up of Britain. Today the First Minister of Scotland and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, Alex Salmond, is asking Westminster for a bailout for the Scottish economy.

In reality the SNP did not promise an end to hundreds of years of English oppression. They proposed that Scotland would join an "arc of prosperity" that included Norway, Ireland and, you guessed it, Iceland!

Scotland has always been a strong supporter, and indeed beneficiary, of British imperialism, supplying troops for the occupation of Ireland among other places. The SNP did not represent the oppressed nationalism of Scotland, but rather the opportunism of one part of the Scottish ruling class which thought there was a better deal to be had outside the Union than in.

The collapse of the Icelandic economy has put a hole in Salmond's political strategy. It is a sign of the times that such realpolitik can migrate into electoral politics so quickly.

Stewart Halforty
London