Scottish Election Sausage
I should have known better than to post something about the election. People have asked me to explain the British political system (Pamela and Alli, your curiosity is commendable) . That's like being asked to explain cricket. A visual aid is always good, so with the help of the Scottish election sausage, here goes:
The election sausage explains the political landscape in Scotland. The SNP is the Scottish National Party (nickname 'the snips'. Their leader is Alex Salmond, who is nicknamed 'Eck the Fish' - Eck is a Scottish diminutive of Alexander. Their deputy leader is a Nicola Sturgeon, thus pleasingly continuing the fish motif) They are a left-wing/social democratic party committed to Scottish independence from the rest of the UK (we have oil, I think is the basis of the argument). At the last general election they won the most seats in Scotland and now form a minority administration in the Scottish Parliament.
The Liberals are a UK wide social democratic party. They were one of the two main political parties in the UK until the Labour movement in the 1920's, when they were pushed into 3rd position. Recently they have had a resurgence, and are hoping for big gains this election, including in Scotland.
The Conservatives are our right wing party, but without for example a strong base in Christian groups as in the US. In favour of less state intervention, less European Union intervention in national affairs. Think Margaret Thatcher. They have only 1 of the 59 Scottish seats in the UK Parliament.
The Labour party is the current administration, centre left in terms of European definitions of left-wing. Not as left-wing as certain parts of the US media would have us believe.
And the Green Party is a left-wing environmentalist party which doesn't have any members of either the Scottish or UK parliaments (correct me if I'm wrong), but can make a strong local showing. Green politics is much bigger in continental Europe than here. **Edited to say that
Jacqui and Svenske Floyd have pointed out that the Greens have 2 seats in the Scottish Parliament. Which is shameful of me not to know, because I have voted Green in the past.**
Phew. On to parliaments. I'll have to speed up - I'm out of time for blogging! A referendum in 1997 led to the formation of a separate Scottish Parliament with its own members, separte from the United Kingdom Parliament in London. **Edited to say add that Wales has had an equivalent, in the National Assembly for Wales, since 1999.** The Scottish Parliament has certain powers devolved to it- among them agriculture, fisheries, environment, health, education, taxation (to an extent), legal system, economic development, sport, the arts...The UK Parliament has reserved powers which include defence, foreign affairs, social security and monetary stability. The reference to 'devolved cost' in the poster above is an in-joke about the devolution issue. And a 'porkie' is either a lie, or a pork sausage.
Just to stress - we have completely separate education and legal systems from the rest of the UK. Worth several posts in their own right.
That's it. Out of time. Please comment and fill in my woeful gaps.