Nicola Sturgeon and the Beast of Bolsover

There is no question about one of the biggest winners of the general election in the United Kingdom. The Scottish Nationalists experienced a massive swing towards them, leaving Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems holding on in Edinburgh South, Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale and Orkney and Shetland respectively. Despite my reservations about the SNP, I’m quite impressed with the result they achieved and am sure Nicola Sturgeon would have been ecstatic with the swing in Scotland.

With the House of Commons now in session again, a little problem has arisen on the opposition benches. Labour has 232 MPs in the Commons currently while the SNP hold 56 seats and a seating debacle has unfolded, and it involves the Beast of Bolsover himself, Dennis Skinner.

Since Dennis became an MP in 1970, he has occupied the seat on the bench always across from the frontbench, whichever side Labour is sitting on. It’s a great spot for heckling Tories during their speeches, including one occasion during Thatcher’s final speech in which a Liberal MP asked if she’d continue to fight against the Euro. Dennis remarked “No, she’s gonna be the governor!” causing an eruption of laughter from the benches and a good spirited chuckle from the Iron Lady herself. It was also a great position from which to call out then Shadow Chancellor George Osborne for alleged cocaine use.

The Scottish Nationalists’ newest MPs spoiling for a fight against David Cameron, some have been attempting to take Dennis Skinner’s seat in the Commons, obviously causing some conflict over seating between the two parties. The SNP are demanding a full bench for their MPs, but Dennis is refusing to give up his seat to them. This even earned the ire of interim leader of Labour Harriet Harman who said “The lion may have roared in Scotland, but you don’t mess with the Beast of Bolsover.”

Is it a big deal? No. There are better things that could be concentrated on, but surely the SNP would know better than to mess with a veteran MP in the Commons. It’s arrogance. Indeed, it’s wonderful for any party to have such a wonderful result as the SNP experienced, but that does not allow arrogance. Surely Nicola Sturgeon would not approve of this. She’s the First Minister of Scotland, she knows that the way to win votes is to act dignified and be cooperative. This is not a good look for the SNP at all and I hope Nicola does something about it.


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