Chapter

From Breakthrough to Mainstream: The Politics of Potential and Blackmail

James Mitchell

in The Modern SNP

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780748639908
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672080 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639908.003.0003
From Breakthrough to Mainstream: The Politics of Potential and Blackmail

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This chapter explores the struggle of the Scottish National Party (SNP) to be a part of mainstream of Scottish politics and the potential of blackmailing. The Hamilton by-election was an important milestone in the party's development. The election of Winnie Ewing as Hamilton's MP pronounced the beginning of a new era in Scottish politics. The SNP's blackmail potential was linked almost exclusively to its capacity to win votes from other parties. Scottish politics became polarised in the late 1980s. The SNP had succeeded in determining itself on the left by 1997. The double whammy of the referendum defeat and election losses in 1979 had a devastating effect on the SNP. The most striking feature of the SNP during the 30 years after the Hamilton by-election was that it succeeded in maintaining a parliamentary presence at all.

Keywords: Scottish National Party; Scottish politics; blackmail; Winnie Ewing; election; Hamilton

Chapter.  4778 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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