While there was no cursing of “Money and the Ethnic Vote” after the Scots voted to keep the United Kingdom united, Scottish First Minister and leader of the separatist movement, Alex Salmond resigned his post. Although he will continue to serve as a Member of Scottish Parliament, he has stepped down as First Minister and will not seek the nomination when his party meets later this year. Two weeks ago, when asked if he would resign in the event of a No vote, Salmond said simply “No.” This political waffling seems to have surprised the British media, but it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to us.
We’re used to our leaders resigning after they fail. Look at Tim Hudak (leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives) when his party lost the election a few months ago. Look back farther to the 2011 federal election, which saw the leaders of two major parties resign: Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe. Yes, resignations are a common thing for Canadian politicians (I guess our leaders are sore losers) except for those who never had a chance in hell at winning a government. By far the most regular resignations come from the leaders of Separatist parties after they lose a referendum. See: Pauline Marois’ resignation as PQ leader in April. We also have to remember the resignations that abounded after the NO victory in 1995.
After blaming the narrow loss on everyone except the Parti-Quebecois’ poorly thought out policy beliefs, Jacques Parizeau begrudgingly decided to step down, despite having a firm mandate in the National Assembly of Quebec.
Then began the race to become the next future King of Quebec! Lucien Bouchard became the obvious front runner and, once he won the premiership, the animosity between him and Parizeau was made into the butt of frequent jokes. The question on the minds of everyone who cares about the future career of the former Scottish First Minister is who will succeed him. It is suggested that Nicola Sturgeon (Deputy Scottish First Minister) may be Salmond’s Bouchard. She’s only been elected as a representative of a constituency twice, but she has the power hungry drive we see in so many Quebec politicians who suckle at the teat of power until they are ready to throw off the bonds of alliance which tied them to their mentors. Granted, in some cases their mentor died, but Sturgeon is smart, ambitious, and Salmond’s second in command. She’ll be perfect to lead the SNP as it works with David Cameron’s government (and the subsequent ministry) to devolve further powers to Scotland. However another potential candidate could be Groundskeeper Willie.
Although he only expressed interest in ruling and independent Scotland he could still be interested in holding power in a Scotland with devolved powers.
I wonder if the potential candidates will stick up for Wales, Northern Ireland, Cornwall, Yorkshire, and other regions of the UK who want devolution. As Canada’s “Mother Country” embarks on the path that all of her more successful colonies undertook over a century ago, it shall be interesting to see how things work out in this modern world of ours. Britain, I must tell you that Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, and (to a lesser degree) the United States salute you. You’ll have a lot of fun working on hammering out a constitution for a modern western power. We certainly did.