The Tory Moral Hazard Of Scottish Independence

The Labourites Love Caledonian Seats in Parliament.
The Labourites Love Caledonian Seats in Parliament.

Scotland will hold a referendum on 18 September 2014 to determine whether or not they will secede from Great Britain. Gordon Brown, David Cameron and numerous other leading politicians are loudly declaiming the idea and pleading with the Scots to vote “No.” Cameron even asked the Scots not to “give the effing Tories a kick,” claiming that “I care for my country more than my party.” This is perhaps what Cameron has to do as Prime Minister. Another part of his brain has to be thinking “Start kicking now you haggis-munching socialists. Don’t stop kicking until you’ve swam North of Selway Firth so we can rebuild Old Hadrian’s Wall.” This would be mean, this would be petty, this would solidify Tory electoral chances in what would then be left of the
British Parliament.

The current House of Commons of The British Parliament consists of 650* voting seats. 59 of these seats are Scottish. The Labour Party holds 41 of these seats in the current Parliament. To form the next government and make their lead parliamentarian Ed Miliband the next PM, Labour would have to gain 68 seats out of 650, or a gain of 10.5% of the House of Commons. Without Scotland, Labour would need to possess 91 more seats than they currently do today in a Parliament with only 591 MPs in The House of Commons. This would require a landslide gain of 15.4% of the available seats.

To put this in proper perspective, when the GOP took The House of Representatives in 2010, they gained 63 seats out of 435 for a change of 14.5%. In the 2006 Democratic Party victory, the Democrats gained 31 seats or 7% of the House of Representatives. The GOP currently holds a 39 seat majority. This would require the Democrats to swing the caucus strength by 9% to take over. Since 1963, **only 8 of the 20 majorities were greater than 10%. What this all means, is that if Ed Miliband were an American Democrat; he would have swing enough seats to proportionally overcome 17 out of the last 20 majorities in the House of Representatives.

British House of Commons votes are more fluid. A gain of +91 Seats in a 650 Member House of Commons would have overturned 4 out of the last 8 governments. However, a gain of 91 seats in a 591 seat House of Commons would be roughly equivalent to gain of 100 seats in a 650 Member House of Commons. Making victory this much harder in British Elections since 1950, would have reversed the results of the Parliamentary Elections in 1950, 1951, 1964, 1970, 1974 and in 1992. This would equate to Al Gore and Joe Liebermann having “found” about 2,000 more votes in Florida back in November 2000 in all six of these elections.

Somewhere a number-cruncher in the Tory political back offices is running his Excel Spreadsheet and experiencing a electric tingle of Moral Hazard over this Scottish Independence Referendum. Kicking the Scottish heirs to James Keir Hardie’s intellectual and political legacy out of the British Parliament would be a significant setback to the Labour Party for many elections to come. Prime Minister Cameron sounds sincere in both his concern and his patriotism. In so being, he could very well have to play Abe Lincoln to his own party’s George McClellans. Scottish Independence has a lot to offer the cynical, hardball realist who votes Tory in The British Electoral System.

*As of 10 Sep 14, 648 seats are filled by Members of Parliament (MPs)..
**The year the House was pegged at 435 voting members.