In three of the UK’s constituent parts there is at least one political party whose main focus is on national identity as it relates to their own particular locality. These nationalist parties have no desire to become the ruling party for the whole of the UK and can therefore appeal to their communities as being far more in tune with local issues than are the Conservatives or Labour.
The currently elected nationalist parties are:-
- Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP): aims to have N.Ireland leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland instead;
- Sinn Féin: has the same aims as the SDLP;
- Democratic Unionist Party (DUP): aims to keep N.Ireland in the UK;
- Ulster Unionist Party (UUP): has the same aims as the DUP;
- Scottish National Party (SNP): aims to have Scotland leave the UK and join the European Union instead;
- Plaid Cymru: aims to have more use of the Welsh language and recognition of Welsh culture, with a socialist Wales ultimately leaving the UK.
Sinn Féin MPs absent themselves from Westminster, but other nationalist MPs can hold the balance of power in ‘hung’ Parliaments and close voting situations, so the bigger parties may court them with favourable concessions.
(Image: rhysllwyd at Flickr.com / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)