I caught the tail end of last week’s Sunday Edition, and
heard Luke Skipper’s attempts at a Scottish burr. The Walrus wrote this piece on him, the Canadian chief of staff for the Scottish National Party’s Westminster team. It gives a brief look at the new Scottish Independence movement (contrasting it favourably with Québec’s exclusionary and history-saddled effort) that I thought would make for interesting reading on this Burns Day.
He and his boss, Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP’s Westminster caucus, have spent the past four years downplaying “kilts, bloodstained faces, Jacobite rule, and Prince Charlie,” as Skipper put it. The SNP wants to appeal to voters’ heads, not their hearts. That strategy worked wonders during the election campaign, which delivered a relentlessly upbeat message about the party’s fiscal management during the previous four years of minority government. The SNP strongly favours immigration as a way of supporting economic growth, which has made it popular with South Asian communities in urban areas, and it is the only party to elect visible minority members to the Scottish Parliament.
“What affects peoples’ lives is not necessarily some battle that happened 300 or 400 years ago,” Skipper said. “It’s the issues that come up in day-to-day life right now, and we’re saying that as an independent country we could make some of those things better. That’s what gets people to vote for a political party.”