STIRLING, Scotland—The constituency of Stirling sprawls across central Scotland, stretching from the Trossachs National Park in the west to the village of Fallin, at the tip of the Firth of Forth, in the east. An old adage dating back to the 14th century and the Anglo-Scottish Wars, states: “He who holds Stirling, holds Scotland.”
In 2019, that may still be the case.
As a Labour Party MP seeking reelection in Scotland, Danielle Rowley is hoping to beat the odds.
Once the country’s dominant political force, the Scottish Labour party finds itself fighting for its life ahead of the U.K. general election on December 12.
Subtle it wasn’t. At the Scottish National Party’s conference in Aberdeen in October, the yellow stars of the European Union were projected onto a giant backdrop of the party’s initials, flanked by two Scottish flags.
The party’s in-your-face Europhilia is not just a signal to Scottish voters — who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU — that membership of the bloc is part of its vision of an independent Scotland. SNP leaders have been aggressively courting their counterparts across Europe, laying the groundwork for the next time the nation holds an independence referendum.
Next Friday morning, British voters will wake up faced with one of two stark political realities.
Either the Conservatives will have a majority in the House of Commons and Boris Johnson will return to No.10 Downing Street, primed for a full term in office and ready to trigger Brexit at the earliest possible opportunity.
In September 2014, the people of East Dunbartonshire voted by a 22 point margin in favour of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom. In June 2016, they voted by a 43 point margin against Britain leaving the European Union. At the 2015 general election, as the Labour vote collapsed, the SNP took the seat from the incumbent Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson. In 2017, Swinson won it back with a majority of 5339 votes.
In some ways, the constituency, on the northern outskirts of Glasgow, is a bellwether for Scottish middle-class opinion. Its voters may not be keen on radical constitutional change, but they aren’t immune to the appeals of Scottish nationalism.
Boris Johnson is beatable.
That’s the core lesson from the first few days of this general election campaign.
On Monday night, Canadians delivered a fractured and ambiguous election result.
Justin Trudeau, the country’s scandal-ridden Liberal prime minister, watched his parliamentary majority evaporate—but will nonetheless return to power at the head of a minority government.