31 October, 2020

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SNP & TNA Have Shared Trajectories

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

SNP and TNA have shared trajectories; What did Scotland say in the elections?

It is surprising that most commentators, especially the UK media, seem to have drawn all the wrong conclusions form the May 7 elections. It seems a bit odd for me to say it, but the Conservative Liberal Democratic (C-LD) coalition lost ground and Labour gained. What an odd thing to say you may think but did you realise that the outgoing C-LD government jointly led by Cameron and Clegg commanded 364 seats between them in the Commons and the Tory majority government now has only 331 seats? Ok add the 8 seats the Liberal Democrats retained; the (former) coalition partners retained only 339 seats. Where did 25 seats disappear to – be patient till I let you into some secrets.

The hub of the matter is the fortunes of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Labour Party. Labour was wiped out in Scotland collapsing from 41 seats and 42% of the popular vote in 2010 to just one seat and 24% of the vote in 2015. The Tory vote in Scotland hardly changed and it hung on to its solo seat; the LD vote collapsed from 19% to 7.5% and seats from 11 to just one. So Scotland was a Labour and LD charnel house. The SNP won 56 of 59 Scottish Westminster slots and raised its poll from 20% in 2010 to 50% in 2015. Interestingly the Labour increased its overall UK poll by 1.5% but lost 26 seats. Well no, let me explain; it increased its seat tally by 14 outside Scotland but since it lost 40 in Scotland its net tally declined by 26. To repeat; Labour improved its position outside Scotland but it did so badly in Scotland that its net position was a setback.

Taking Labour and the SNP together, for reasons I will justify presently, their combined tally rose from 264 in 2010 to 288 in 2015, which almost exactly matches the decline in C-LD seats from 364 to 339. The Liberal Democrats were wiped out in Scotland to the benefit of the SNP which grabbed all but one, and in the rest of the country LD lost another 39 of which the Tories took about two-thirds and Labour the other third. Since LD and Tories were in coalition prior to the elections the shift of mainly English voters between them within the ‘home team’ is a mere rearrangement; the desertion from the alliance to Labour outside Scotland however is an anti-government protest, not large but not insignificant either. More significant as a protest against the policies of the Cameron-Clegg coalition is the shift in Scotland from Labour to SNP whose manifesto was substantially to the left of Labour’s.

What did the SNP say?

The SNP manifesto was far more an old style Labour manifesto of pre Tony Blatcher years than Labour’s own stand in the last two decades. Here are quotes from the easy to read PDF version.

MPs Scotland“The SNP will never put the Tories into power. We will offer to work with other parties to keep the Tories out of power. We do not want any more spending cuts. We would like more public spending. In our plan we would like to see more money spent on: Skills, National Health Service (NHS), public services, roads, rail, water and power. We will use our votes at Westminster to stop the NHS in England from going private. We do not want Trident nuclear weapons to be renewed”.

It does not end there; it is an anti-austerity, left social-democratic and in truth a moderately anti-capitalist programme. This flavour comes across strongly.

“We will make the tax system fairer (and) people who earn more will give a little bit more to help with free public services. The SNP will support more spending on the NHS. We want to see spending in the NHS go up by £2 billion by 2020-21. We will make sure university education in Scotland stays free. When people come to live in the UK from other countries it is called immigration. We think immigration is good for our economy and our society. We will vote to get rid of The House of Lords because it is not elected by the people. We want to stay part of the European Union; it is good for business and supports jobs”.

To this, Scotland gave an overwhelming mandate; the SMP rose to 56 in 2015 from just six in 2010. Most gains, significantly, were from Labour; the logic is that Scotland is poorer and more working class than the rest of the UK and the electorate shifted substantially leftward outflaning Labour. Commentators who read the Tory victory as an expression of support for Cameron’s small government, cuts in social welfare, and milder than Greece austerity, have got it horribly wrong in relation to Scotland and mildly wrong for the whole UK. True this policy package was not defeated in England, but even there it suffered setbacks.

Let me slip in a word about the smaller parties in Wales and Northern Ireland which mostly held their marginal positions; Democratic Unionists (8), Sinn Fein (4), Plaid Cymru (3), and Ulster Unionists (2). The non-regional (national) small parties also managed a few seats; SDLP (3), UK Independence Party or UKIP (1) and Greens (1). Ultra-right anti-immigration UKIP was expected to do much better like its sister party, Marie Le Penn’s National Front (NF) in France. It actually did poll a well, 3.9 million votes (12.6%), compared to LD’s 2.4 million (7.9%), but the vagaries of the first-past-the-post (FPP) guillotine held it down to just one seat in the Commons. [NF took 25% of the vote and came first in the 2014 European Parliament elections in France]. It may be safe to speculate that far-right UKIP/NF politics is unlikely to make headway in the UK in the foreseeable future unless there is a switch to proportional representation.

Shared trajectories with the TNA

Though it would be wrong to make too much of it, it is not far-fetched to see some shared trajectories with the rise of the TNA as monopoly power in the North after the 2013 NP Provincial Council elections where it collected 78% of the votes and bagged all but 8 of the 38 Council seats. The SNP polled only 50% but FPP gave it 56 of 59 Scottish seats. I see four parallels, not in numbers but in the political domain, as follow. The Tamils were outraged with the Rajapaksa gang for obvious reasons and Scotland rejected Conservative cost and welfare pruning austerity budgeting.

Second the flag the SNP nailed to its topmost mast was standing up for Scotland. The declaration with which its leader Nicola Sturgeon opens the PDF manifesto is: “My vow is to make Scotland stronger at Westminster. With your support, we can secure a better future for you, your family and Scotland. Voting for the SNP will bring in MPs who will stand up for Scotland’s best interests. Scotland’s voice will be heard more loudly than ever before”. Not much different from what Tamils expect of the TNA.

A third crucial reason is that the SNP makes absolutely no reference to Scottish separation. It seems that the referendum issue has been put on the backburner. The manifesto contains no mention of a repeat referendum. I see this as very similar to the TNA turning its back on Eelam and working within the framework of a unified Lanka. As with the TNA, so with the SNA, this made it possible for all Tamils and Scots who were fed-up with the Rajapaksas and the Tories, respectively, but divided on the session issue (in both instances only a minority favour separation) to vote for a nationalist but non-secessionist entity. This is of crucial importance; I am convinced that had the TNA or the SNP been perceived as secessionist by their own communities, both would have lost support. Both Tamils and Scots are in the majority opposed to secession but both want strong parties in parliament that will stand up for the interests of alienated communities.

The fourth and final reason for the SNP’s success is what it substituted for secession; a demand for real regional autonomy. Its stand: “We will make sure that promises made to Scotland during the referendum are kept. We want the Scottish Parliament to be responsible for things like employment laws. This means things like setting how much the minimum wage should be, welfare and benefits and equality laws. This means making sure things are fair in our society”.

David Cameron’s promises to Scotland at the time of the referendum were so substantial that they amounted to a promise of de facto federalism – I don’t think he used the term because of the complications of the so-called ‘English Question’ (If federalism, then what to do about England). He offered massive concessions because in civilised societies federalism can be discussed soberly and referenda conducted without riot, civil commotion and the murderous application of the military stengun. In less civilised societies mention of the right to self-determination is a worse profanity than threatening a person’s mother with dire consequences. But apart from principles, self-determination is not of practical importance at this time – Tamils are simply not interested in Eelam any longer. But they know that given federalism and a free hand to improve themselves, they can make a good job of it. The TNA is right to demand much greater autonomy and de facto federalism, but it will be a long while coming. I suspect President Sirisena and PM Ranil aren’t opposed; it’s just that they wet their pants every time they reflect on the rage of the masses stirred up by men in robes and in starched national dress.

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    Prof. Kumar David

    “Shared trajectories with the TNA:

    “Though it would be wrong to make too much of it, it is not far-fetched to see some shared trajectories with the rise of the TNA as monopoly power in the North after the 2013 NP Provincial Council elections where it collected 78% of the votes and bagged all but 8 of the 38 Council seats. The SNP polled only 50% but FPP gave it 56 of 59 Scottish seats. I see four parallels, not in numbers but in the political domain, as follow. The Tamils were outraged with the Rajapaksa gang for obvious reasons and Scotland rejected Conservative cost and welfare pruning austerity budgeting.”

    “My vow is to make Scotland stronger at Westminster. With your support, we can secure a better future for you, your family and Scotland. Voting for the SNP will bring in MPs who will stand up for Scotland’s best interests. Scotland’s voice will be heard more loudly than ever before”. Not much different from what Tamils expect of the TNA.”

    “A third crucial reason is that the SNP makes absolutely no reference to Scottish separation. It seems that the referendum issue has been put on the backburner. The manifesto contains no mention of a repeat referendum. I see this as very similar to the TNA turning its back on Eelam and working within the framework of a unified Lanka.”

    A very good analogy here.

    Looks like the Tamil Mootals who were hijacked by LTTE an dits clones are fast disappearing and the Tamils with Common Sense is beginning to prevail under Unified Sri Lanka.

    So the Sinhala do not want a Mahinad Rajapaksa Dictatorship.( Modaya MR ia beaten – Good news)

    The Tamils do not want a LTTE Dictatorship (Mootal VP is gone-Good News)

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    Prof. Kumar David

    http://www.ceylontoday.lk/51-93038-news-detail-controversial-white-flag-and-war-crimes-issues-solheim-testifies-before-un.html

    Controversial White Flag and war crimes issues Solheim testifies before UN
    Former Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim said he had testified before the UN probe panel on the events that took place during the final phase of the war and the white flag issue in Sri Lanka.

    Will the Norwegian Eric Solheim also tell UN that they Funded BBs along with LTTE Israel and USA?

    The Various Norwegian Agencies That Supported BBS Personnel

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-various-norwegian-agencies-that-supported-bbs-personnel/

    Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

    When I wrote some weeks back about the supposed Norwegian involvement with the Bodhu Bala Sena, I had not seen the clarification which the Norwegian Embassy had put on its website about the allegations. Having read it, I am more than ever convinced that the Norwegian government and its embassy have not behaved badly, but also that they, and also the Sri Lankan government, must go more carefully into the matter and check on what exactly has been going on. If they can do this together, so much the better, though I fear that neither side will have the correct skills and attitudes to ensure fruitful and productive cooperation.

    The reason I believe investigation would be useful is because of two names I noticed in the official Norwegian statement. One is that of the Worldview International Foundation, which is essentially run by a gentleman called Arne Fjiatoff, who has been in Sri Lanka now for several decades. During this period he has been involved in a range of projects with various Sri Lankan governments, which are in theory designed to benefit the Sri Lankan people, but which have also brought considerable benefits to Arne himself.

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    A good article comparing SNP and TNA.

    But Ceylon in the 1950s could not resolve these ethic problems by democratic means ( like Scotland is asking today) and that is why Sri Lanka is in this plight today.

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    Tamil seek ‘federalism’ and ‘grater autonomy’ is out of question in Sri lank is concern.

    The solution Tamil minority issued that for many years to come which was proposed Federal Party of SJV and TULF- Amthraligam ,which that currently demanded by Trotskyist theoretician of Kumar David.

    Indeed now that he( David) eject demand of Eealm and that proposed for the alternative request a’grater Autonomy’ or ‘Federal Status’.
    That is quite impossible in Sri lanka soil.
    Our nation is not guided by Anarchism of JVP, Seperatraism of TNA, LTTE & MC and Trotskyism of bunch of LSSPs.

    Tamil demand is clash and conflict with not only sovereignty of Island ,but its clash ours 2600 years civilization was build by Sinhalese Nation an Island of Sri lanka. Well Sinhalese guided by Buddhist teaching and its philosophy that race has given enough room and right so unlimited freedom to Tamil Muslims and other foreign exists side by side.

    Needless to say an invaders had been accommodated by Majority community of Island granting rights exercised their religion freedom and own cultures values to be practices.

    This is only unique of Asian mode of civilization, is set an example by Sri lank majority race. That is part and parcel of secular model and path of democracy in Sri Lankan way.
    Which is/was that NOT exist in Western model and path of Christian civilization and their ideology.

    This what US Kerry force us to do it! Similar forceful message had been delivered by BJP- Modi of RSS-Hindu nationalist that advocated during his address to our people’s chamber. Both parties imposed us to accepts Federalism and separatism by point of GUN, that as similar as LTTE gun rule politics in 30 war led by Tamil terrorist . People of Sri lanka majority has enough sacrificed their life for democracy and sovereignty. We are denied that demand and not ready surrender ours civilization rights to Tamil majority in South Indian region.

    Federalism or grater autonomy is not that secular democracy or political package or an Independence ideology; as long as Tamils theology is concern guided by Hinduism and Christian school of thought of out dated, that thought originated by which that world created by God. Tamil race is bacially backward and ideological ignorant in their outlook is outdated, and more Orthodox and Conserversity as race of social evolutionary is concern.

    Look at Tamil Nadu politicians and political class of Tamils vision and mission of DMK and ADMK. More or less TNA and LTTE is compare with Tamil Nadu politics having similar pattern of Feudal and backward politics had been valued and Practices.

    This has nothing to do any relationship with bourgeoisies concept of democracy. That way Tamil political class in north that demaned land for’ Tamils only’.

    We had worse experiences and lessons from Tamil political class and Parties due to their backward and feudal leadership of TNA and Ruthless Tamil LTTE terrorist which had been undermine our nation Territorial Integrity after Independence 1948.

    The key issues is that Tamils political class that inside and outside the Island had been worked on several years to destroy and attempted eliminated Sinhalese Race from World Map. That is tribal ideology we cannot agreed with Tamil political class in Sri lanka.

    In fact remain that proposed Tamils’ projected of Eealm state, is firstly set their footing North-east land, advocated by
    so-called “homeland”.
    Then and their 75 millions Tamil in Tamil Nadu-India was back their separatism of secession or home land in Sri lanka’s soil.
    In last resort Tamils want to be eradicated whole Sinhalese race and their civilization Island to be an occupy land of Sri lanka by Tamil great Empire. I wish to call that New politics of Tamil hegomoinism.

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      @ D nimal you must understand that the majority of sinhalese today probably came from south india. SO you calling tamils and muslims foreigners is a bit rich!!!!

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    A good article and yes, there is a lot in common between the TNA and SNP. Similarly there is also a lot in common between their political opponents too. The Conservatives in the UK are neo-liberal pro rampant capitalist ideologues. The anti-Tamil groups/parties in Sri Lanka have a different ideology, Sinhala majoritarianism (see D.Nimal’s fiction above), but like the Conservertives, want to impose their ideology on everyone.

    However, the Scots and the Tamils are in different stages of political development. Although, it maybe true the Tamils are moving away from the separatists position due to the war and the hardships that came with it (and there other reasons too), the Scots I believe will increasigly move towards splitting from the UK. The referendum failed and the SNP did not call for another referendum but the Conservatives will push their hardline neo-liberal ideology down the throats of the Scots who want something completely different. All I can say is, watch this space, the UK is heading for split.

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    D.NIMAL.

    I notice that you take on only Prof:Kumar David; Perhaps,you find it infra-dig to comment on other essays.

    Anyway,how did you manage to type this long rigmarole?

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    I have no personal grudge against Dr Kumar David. The differences of views is part and parcel of Sri lankn, democracy that accepted by our norms of freedom!

    Crux of this matter is nationally important issues of National sovereignty and Democracy of whole an Island.

    But I think that Kumar David than his a ideology not that people oriented -progressive mind set; it will serve for purposed of encourage Land occupy by Tamil expansionism by Federal policy of TNA affiliated Grand Plan of Exile Tamil Eealm diaspora.

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    Here is a recent e-mail I received. I have no authority to disclose the name.

    Interesting analysis of the recent UK election by Professor KD using the old Tamil/Scottish parallel… I cannot help but be reminded of this quote from a CT article a few years ago referring to what Lord Soulbury said in 1964:

    QUOTE
    “When as Chairman of the Commission on the reform of the Constitution of Ceylon in 1945 I studied the relations of the two communities. I was much impressed by the important contribution that the Tamils had made and were making to the economy of Ceylon – and I was aware that the Ceylon Tamils were better educated and more industrious than the Sinhalese – in many ways they were playing the part of the Scots had played and still play in the economy of England. In fact during 18th and part of 19th century – the English were rather jealous of the Scots – who were getting a greater share of the jobs going in England than their population warranted. The reason, I Think, was that the Scots were better educated and more industrious – Northern folk often work harder than Southerners; the climate and soil compel them to do so. But the English were never so stupid as to antagonise the Scots. Had they behaved like Sinhalese to the Tamils, Britain would never have achieved a tittle of her prosperity at home or overseas in the Empire.
    If at this time of the act of Union between England and Scotland at the beginning of the 18th century the English had insisted on “English only” as the language of the two nations, every Scot would have hung on to Gaelic, but the English had more sense and every Scottish Mother had her children taught English because it was England that offered the greatest opportunity of employment.

    If the Sinhalese had been as sensible, every Tamil Mother would have been anxious for her children to learn Sinhalese-for the same reason. I do not know what is now the best solution, or if there is any solution.”
    END QUOTE

    SEE:
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sinhala-stupidity-i-feel-sorry-for-the-tamil-community/

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    @ D nimal you must understand that the majority of sinhalese today probably came from south india. So you calling tamils and muslims foreigners is a bit rich!!!!

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    Prof:AKD.

    The Sinhalese Language was taught in schools in Jaffna even after 1947.Came 1956 and the Language Policy Sinhala only, all this eagerness came to a halt.Even Lord Bertrand Russel took part in the protests staged in London on the passage of this Bill in Parliament in June 1957/1958.

    England,Wales,Scotland and Ireland constituted UK-1707.
    In 1922 Ireland left the UK.
    The Referendum held recently in Scotland on 18th Sept.2014 to decide whether Scotland leaves UK HAD A NO VOTE.

    The English do have sensible approach in handling Political issues.

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    Prof:AKD.

    Dear Sir.
    You may be interested to this letter addressed to Lord Soulbury dated 6th July 1964 by Prof:Sunth.
    …..I am afraid the parallel of Ulster and Great Britain is not quite apt in the context of Ceylon conditions.Whatever the fears of the Sinhala Chauvinists,having regard even to the history of Pandya,Chola,,Chera invasions of Ceylon,the Thamils will not,I trust seek the aid of South India,if atall,except after,as I hinted in Parliament,the aid of the Devil himself failed…..

    This is also from the Dozen Documents by Prof:Sunth.

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