In a bizarre twist, the Orange Order in Scotland – or rather its Grand Wizard Master – has decided to back Labour against the SNP. Ian Wilson of the OO thinks that Labour is the best hope to defend the Union against moves by the SNP to dismantle it. Labour, meanwhile, is a bit sniffy about the endorsement of a sectarian organisation that claims to have 50,000 members – more than any of the political parties in Scotland.
The OO has traditionally distanced itself from Labour because of the number of Catholic members of Scottish Labour. According to this article in The Times, however, it is understood that many OO members already vote Labour anyway because they tend to be from working class communities that would be more Labour-inclined.
In all likelihood the OO, and Ian Wilson, will be ignored by the electorate. But it’s kinda interesting that Mr Wilson, in turn, is choosing to ignore any ideological rationale for his Party allegiance. Presumably he’d be at one with those Ulster Unionists in South Belfast who don’t like Tories – except in the case of the South Belfast UUs, they seem to be motivated more by determination to keep a Catholic out of office at all costs. At least Mr Wilson is thinking at a more constitutional level than his Ulster brethren.
Ironically, the DUP seems to be more aligned to the SNP than Scottish Labour. The SNP and the DUP have a lot in common - an ‘ourselves alone’ perspective, and a distrust of anything emanating from London – a den of vice and lasciviousness as far as most DUP elders are concerned.
It does seem to be the case that in Scotland there is a growing perception that Labour is the predominant Unionist brand. This says something about the Conservative Party’s strategy for Scotland.