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English Reading Comprehension Set 33

Directions (Q.1-10): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them.
Britain feels and looks very different now from only a week ago. The general election, of May 7, threw up many surprises — the re-election of a majority Conservative Government, the scale of the Scottish National Party (SNP) landslide, and Scotland and England pointing in completely opposite political directions. The SNP won 56 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies, reducing the dominant Labour Party north of the border from 41 seats at the previous election to a single seat. A whole host ofluminaries lost their seats including the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander and the Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran. How did this happen, when only months ago the SNP lost the independence referendum, and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, considered the whole issue “settled”? And what does it mean for the SNP’s aim of Scottish independence and the future, if any, of the United Kingdom?
The mood in Scotland at this time is difficult to fully convey. Scottish public opinion, despite its centre-left credentials and traditions, doesn’t do outward celebrations of victory. This isn’t the culture of a Milan or Buenos Aires where people take to the streets in their cars tooting and cheering to mark a political event.Allowing for this Scottish reticence, there is a sense of quiet satisfaction in parts of the country. Many people felt that Scottish Labour had become the political establishment — complacent, out of touch, showing little respect for its own professed values — and wanted to punish it. The explanations offered for this range from observations that “Blair destroyed the Labour Party” to “the Iraq war”, from “I don’t know what they stand for anyone” to “they are the same as the Tories” and that “Labour do not stand up for Scotland, but take their orders from London”. A mixture of public anger and disappointment exists towards Labour in Scotland that has built up over decades. It began to find voice when Labour lost the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections to the SNP, by the thinnest of margins, leading to a SNP minority government under Alex Salmond. There then followed the 2011 Scottish Parliament election SNP landslide, and the May 7 Nationalist triumph. There is a general air of goodwill towards the SNP and its record as the Scottish Government. People like the sense that the Nationalists talk Scotland up, think positively about the potential of a self-governing nation, and are competent and credible in how they administer devolved services. The SNP has now been in office for eight years, and yet is still able to present itself as insurgents and outsiders, particularly in relation to Westminster. This is strengthened by Labour still being perceived as incumbents and insiders — responsible for many of the shortcomings of modern Scotland. This may not be altogether fair, but it undoubtedly had traction in the recent May election — with both Labour and Westminster being held to account by many voters for what is wrong in Scotland, and the SNP rewarded. This state of affairs cannot last indefinitely.
A critical factor in all of this was the experience of the independence referendum. Scotland voted 55:45 to stay in the union last September. Just as important, for three years Scotland’s constitutional status was debated up and down the country resulting in an unprecedented 85.6 per cent turnout. The referendum question — “Should Scotland be an independent country?” — allowed for two simultaneous debates, one on the constitution, the other on what kind of country and society people wanted to live in. This emboldened the SNP and independence opinion. The degree and depth of the pro-democratic engagement altered the parameters of Scottish society. This was combined with two other factors which have worked in the SNP’s favour. First, when the campaign began, strategists in “Yes Scotland” (the official independence organisation) felt that the voters had no mental map of what an independent Scotland would like and thus presented a conditional vision of independence, retaining many key institutions of the U.K. (the Treasury, the monarchy). However, over the course of the campaign, the constant discussion of independence meant that it became normalised, and by the end, the “idea” of independence had moved centre stage, so much so that after the vote, one poll showed 69 per cent of Scots believing independence was inevitable. Second, on the morning after the September 18 vote, Alex Salmond took responsibility for the defeat and resigned as SNP leader, handing over the baton to Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon. This allowed the SNP a seamless transition, the chance to renew, and, importantly, to change tone from Mr. Salmond’s abrasive style to Ms. Sturgeon’s more conciliatory manner. All of this is magnified by longer-term factors: the decline of the Scottish Tories, Labour’s hollowing out and replacement by the SNP as the dominant party, the secularisation of society and weakening of religion, and changing patterns of work, economy and industry.
Scotland, in many respects in the last 40 years, has become more like elsewhere in Western Europe, and with this, people increasingly wish to emphasise their distinctiveness in national identities and cultures. The SNP has played all of this well — nurturing a soft civic nationalism and social democratic sentiment, which sits at ease with most Scots, and is far removed from the right-wing populism of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which won the 2014 European elections across the U.K., as could be imagined. Success brings with it its own pressures. The SNP’s near-clean sweep of Scottish Westminster constituencies means that many supporters now expect immediate change. The SNP campaigned on three main themes: an end to U.K. austerity, opposition to the ‘Trident’ nuclear weapons system and more devolution of powers to Scotland. No substantive concessions will be forthcoming on the first two. But on the third, with Prime Minister Cameron conscious that his Conservative Party won 14.9 per cent of the vote and one seat in Scotland — the former, their lowest vote in 150 years — a more pragmatic line may well be evident from Westminster. The big issue underneath all this is the independence question. Some Nationalist supporters are hoping for progress on this very soon, or more realistically, a SNP manifesto commitment in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections to a second referendum.
-Source The Hindu, Delhi Edition, 16th May

Q.1.Choose an appropriate title for the passage.
1) After Reaction
2) The Parties
3) None Elected, Everyone Rejected
4) Scotland’s Peaceful Revolution
5) None of the above

Q.2. Which of the following is true according to the passage?
A) The real and new experience for the Scotland was the Referendum.
B) The degree and depth of the pro-democratic engagement altered the parameters of Scottish society.
C) The SNP’s near-clean sweep of Scottish Westminster constituencies means that many supporters now don’t expect any immediate change.

1) Only A and C
2) Only A and B
3) Only B and C
4) All A, B and C
5) None of these

Q.3.In the above passage, SNP is embarked with certain themes that it banked upon. What are the themes?
A) To end the difficult situation and authority of UK.
B) Opposition to the ‘Trident’ nuclear weapons system and more devolution of powers to Scotland.
C) The demand for the permanent status to the Govt. employees.
1) A and B
2) A and C
3) B and C
4) A, B and C
5) None

Q.4.Which of the following is not true according to the passage?
1) A mixture of public anger and disappointment exists towards Labour in Scotland that has built up over decades.
2) There is a general air of goodwill towards the SNP and its record as the Scottish Government.
3) The degree and depth of the pro-democratic engagement altered the parameters of Scottish society
4) All of the above
5) None of the above

Q.5.What does the author mean by the phrase “tooting and cheering to mark a political event”.
1) Demonstration against certain policy of Govt.
2) Protesting and making noise being a political rival.
3) Celebrating and cheering the success in the election.
4) Happy and Cheerful demonstration in the election.
5) None of the above.

Q.6.What is the synonym of the word “baton”?
1) Anodyne
2) Aver
3) Wand
4) Coda
5) None

Q.7.Which of the following is the synonym of the word “insurgents”?
1) Credo
2) Multineer
3) Deride
4) Poseur
5) None

Q.8.Which of the following is the antonym of the word “reticence”?
1) Zealot
2) Whimsy
3) Venal
4) Travail
5) Talkative

Q.9.Which of the following is the antonym of the word “professed”?
1) Repudiate
2) Suffrage
3) Rue
4) All of the above
5) Recluse

Q.10.Which of the following is the synonym of the word “luminaries”?
1) Presage
2) Quail
3) All of these
4) Dignitary
5) None

1. (4)
2. (2)
3. (1)
4. (5)
5. (3)
6. (3)
7. (2)
8. (5)
9. (1)
10. (4)

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