Wendy is still on a writing deadline so Jack is standing in again –
Tsunami by Iain MacWhirter
Health warning: this is a book about Scottish politics, specifically the landslide victory by the Scottish National Party in Scottish constituencies during the 2015 UK election.
I have a great deal of respect for Iain MacWhirter, a thought-provoking political commentator who works for the BBC. MacWhirter has a long and honorable pedigree as an observer of UK and Scottish politics, not to mention the respect of his peers. That’s not to say that he hasn’t penned a few newspaper articles with which I’ve taken issue, just that his voice carries weight.
Tsunami is a follow up to an earlier book by the author about the Scottish referendum on independence the previous year, Disunited Kingdom.
Regardless of my occasional disagreements with him I recommend both of these books to anyone with an interest in the incredibly fast-moving political scene in the UK right now. Of course the arrival of ‘Brexit’ means that Iain will probably have to write another book about the second referendum on Scottish independence next year.
For those unfamiliar, Scotland wanted to stay in the EU and since there was a vote recently on Scotland leaving the UK, Scottish politicians are ready to take advantage of the mood and the timing to try again. Scottish voters declined to declare themselves independent of the UK, and then pretty much found that the promises made to them if they stayed had been false. As a result, the vote that McWhirter writes about in Tsunami was expected to swing so overwhelmingly toward the Scottish National Party candidates that the leaders of the party began to caution people not to have unrealistic expectations.
Tsunami captures the flow of the various parties’ campaigns in the lead-up to the UK election. A big part of its thrill is McWhirter’s description of the atmosphere in the BBC green room, and the responses of the various spin doctors, that election night, as the SNP finished with 56 out of 59 Scottish seats. Watching the events, I remember one political commentator saying, “This isn’t an election. It’s a rout.”
The book finishes with the overwhelmingly triumphant SNP members of parliament arriving at the House of Commons in London to find themselves disregarded within a parliament of 650 members, despite being the third biggest party there.
MacWhirter captures with humor and insight a strange time in Scottish politics, and sets the tone for the stranger times yet to befall the UK as the full implications of Brexit become clear to all parties.
Better read this before it’s completely out of date; books will be coming out soon on Brexit.