6 political parties
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6 political parties Document Transcript

  • 1. Political parties in Scotland What you will learn - What political parties are - Who the main political parties in Scotland are - The differences between the main political parties in Scotland What is a political party? A political party is an organisation made up of people who share similar political beliefs and opinions. A political party ultimately aims to get elected by winning as many seats as possible in Parliament. The more seats that a political party wins, the more influence it can exert over the running of the country. In Scotland there are four main political parties. Three of these parties mirror the three main parties active across the UK: Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat. The fourth party is the Scottish National Party (SNP). There are also numerous smaller parties in Scotland such as the Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party. There are 129 available seats for the Scottish Parliament. In 2011, the SNP won 69 of the seats, creating the first majority government in Scottish Parliament history. Therefore the SNP currently holds political power in Scotland. The leader of the party that holds political power is called the First Minister. Political parties continuously try to win support among the general public so that when an election comes round they have a good chance of achieving votes. This can be very expensive and this is one reason why most MSPs are members of a political party rather than independents. It is very important to political parties that they have a positive public image and a likeable party leader. If the public do not like a party leader, support for the party will drop. In 2011, the Scottish Labour Party suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the SNP. Many people attributed this loss to the party leader, Iain Gray, whose public image was less than favourable. Political party SNP Labour Conservative Liberal Democrat Green Independent Total Constituencies/regions (seats) 69 37 15 5 2 1 129 1 Scottish Parliament election results 2011
  • 2. What are the differences between the political parties? Political parties have their own visions and plans for how they think the country should be run. These plans can be listed under key policy areas such as education, environment, justice, economy and health. Before an election, each political party publishes a document outlining its policies, known as a party manifesto. Each party’s manifesto is unique, and one party’s vision and plans can differ quite remarkably from another’s. The Fact file on each political party tells you a little about each party and some of the policies it believes will make Scotland a better country. The Scottish National Party The SNP’s popularity in Scotland has increased considerably in the last decade. In Alex Salmond it has a leader who has guided the party to its most successful spell in its history. The party has campaigned for Scottish independence for seven decades and is currently running the ‘Yes’ campaign in preparation for the 2014 independence referendum. The SNP holds power in Scotland and it also holds six seats in Westminster. Generally speaking, the SNP is supported by all factions and classes of Scottish society. However, as the SNP prepares for the referendum, party leaders are reviewing their policy towards NATO, the military alliance of USA and European countries. 2 Key policies - Continue to campaign for Scottish independence. - Will not introduce tuition fees or top-up fees for colleges or universities. - Make Scotland a world leader in green energy. - Introduce a minimum pricing for alcohol. - No more nuclear – oppose nuclear weapons
  • 3. The Labour Party The Labour Party, known in Scotland as Scottish Labour, is led by Johann Lamont. Labour has traditionally been a popular party in Scotland with strong support, especially among the working class. However, in 2007, Labour lost control of the Scottish Parliament, and the Party performed even worse in the 2011 Scottish election, winning only 37 seats. The party has strong links to trade unions, who influence many of their policies. Key policies - Keep Scotland part of the UK. - Introduce fees of some sort for university students, arguing that places are lost to paying foreign students. - Prioritise the creation of green jobs, aiming for up to 60,000 by 2015. - Protect NHS jobs, with no compulsory redundancies for NSH staff. - Offer a modern apprenticeship to every 16-18 year-old who wants one from 2013. The Conservative Party The Scottish Conservatives are led by Ruth Davidson and the UK party is led by Prime Minister David Cameron. In the 2010 UK election the Conservatives managed to win enough seats to enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. However, in Scotland the Scottish Conservatives have not been so successful and they only won 15 seats in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election. The Conservatives struggle in Scotland and have limited support among the Scottish people. This is mainly because of the unpopular Conservative government of the 1980’s led by Margaret Thatcher. The support the Conservatives do have in Scotland generally comes from the middle and upper classes. 3 Key policies - Keep Scotland as part of the UK. - Give head teachers more power over discipline policy, staff recruitment and budgets. - Introduce tougher jail sentences and end automatic early release from prison. - Introduce free, universal health checks for those aged between 40 and 74. - End Scottish government policy against nuclear power – consider new stations.
  • 4. The Liberal Democrat Party The Scottish Liberal Democrats are now one of the three state parties within the federal Liberal Democrats; the others being the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrats in England. The Scottish Liberal Democrats hold 5 out of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament, 11 of the 59 Scottish seats in the UK Parliament, 1 of 6 Scottish seats in the European Parliament. They are led by Willie Rennie MSP who shot to prominence in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election in 2006, taking the seat from Labour with a swing on 16%. Key policies - Keep Scotland as part of the UK but plan for more powers for the Scottish Parliament including significant control over tax levers. - Keep education free, with no tuition fees and no graduate contribution. Protect college funding. - Support early intervention work, especially in education with free childcare for 40% of 2 year olds which would help children from the most deprived background get the best start in life. - Support sustainable transport and focus on getting faster and cheaper trains to all parts of Scotland. Activities 1. What is a political party? 2. Name the four main political parties in Scotland and name their leaders. 3. Which party is in power in Scotland? 4. Why is it important that a party has a likeable leader? 5. What is a party manifesto? 6. Study the Scottish political party fact files. b. Do any parties have similar policies? If so, name them. c. How many seats did each party win in the 2011 Scottish election? 4