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The Westminster Wheel

What will England decide for you this year? Find out now.

In 2016, Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit, and in the general elections of 2017 and 2019, Scotland rejected pro-Brexit parties emphatically. Despite this, in the 2024 general election, Scottish voters will be confronted by an unalterable fate: no matter how they vote, Brexit will be enforced. This is a symptom of the Westminster electoral system which causes Scotland’s voice to be continually overruled and forces the Scottish electorate to bear the effects of policies implemented by governments that they did not vote for.

Political parties in the UK do not need the backing of Scotland to win general elections; since 1955 eleven Tory governments have been elected despite every single one of them being majorly opposed in Scotland. In 2019, every single Scot could have voted for Labour without making a difference. Scotland elects only 9% of Westminster MPs, meaning that UK parties do not need to act in the interests of the Scottish electorate to gain power. Naturally then, the Westminster electoral system produces parties which pander to masses of centre right English swing voters who largely dictate the outcomes of elections. The pandering party that wins at Westminster then becomes free to exert its will on the Scottish electorate without ever gaining their approval.

This is perfectly illustrated by Brexit. The vast majority of the Scottish electorate were overruled by the English electorate in the initial referendum, and are now being ignored by UK parties when they formulate policy positions relative to Brexit. This is because as part of the UK, Scotland could not unilaterally decide to stay in the EU in 2016 and cannot unilaterally elect a party which commits to rejoining the EU in 2024.

Westminster is set up to fail Scotland. It is no coincidence that there are less and less differences between Westminster’s major parties, and Brexit is just the tip of the iceberg.



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