Saturday, 25 April 2015 14:49

To keep Scotland, Britain must embrace the separatists

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Just as actors call Macbeth the Scottish play, so historians will for ever think of 2015 as the Scottish election. Whatever happens on 7 May – whoever ends up limping through the door of 10 Downing Street – the big, enduring fact of 2015 will be the shifting of the tectonic plates now under way in Scotland. It is nothing less than a realignment – and it will last.

As one longstanding Scottish observer puts it, the shift in allegiance from Labour to the Scottish National party is “not cyclical”. The pendulum has swung so far, it’s snapped off.

For Labour to lose Scotland is like the Tories losing "the home counties", says the former Scottish secretary Malcolm Rifkind. One Labour peer admitted to me this week that he’s placed a “cheeky bet” on the Tories emerging with more MPs in Scotland than Labour. That’s not a turnaround; that’s an earthquake, reshaping the landscape out of all recognition.

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