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Support for SNP could impact on Ulster-Scots here

Published 07/05/2015

Most political commentators appear to assume that political events unfolding in Scotland will have no direct impact upon the Westminster election here in Northern Ireland, but are they right to do so?

The Scots are justifiably proud of their nation and of their achievements. During the September 18 independence referendum the "unionists" secured a 55% to 45% victory and, of course, the Orange Order visibly campaigned on behalf of "the Union".

But, in the aftermath of the referendum, there has been an unprecedented surge in support for the Scottish Nationalist Party that may see unionist political parties all but wiped out in Scotland.

The Ulster-Scots form one of the largest ethnic, or racial, groups here in Northern Ireland and Presbyterians are the second largest religious group.

The question going begging then is whether this anti-unionist backlash in Scotland will be reflected among some of the Ulster-Scots electorate here?

It would probably be foolhardy to think that the 55%-45% split in Scotland would be reflected in the Ulster-Scots electorate here.

However, if even some 5%-10% of Ulster-Scots withheld their vote from unionist candidates here, that would produce a seismic shift in Westminster representation to parallel that happening across the North Channel.

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast

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