I am starting this blog at 6.30am having stayed up most of the night watching the results come in. So far I am not overly surprised with the results to be honest.
The Conservatives have done slightly better than I think many of us thought they would, gaining 16 seats, giving them 31 seats in total, to become the second largest party. It looks like many of the voters who deserted them for New Labour have returned bolstering their result a bit. Ruth ‘nasty’ Davidson has surprisingly won her constituency seat in Edinburgh and they have won a few others. Jackson Carlow, Murdo Fraser etc. have been returned via the pain in the arse list system. The media are portraying this as a Conservative recovery in Scotland, it is in some ways as basically Scotland has divided along the constitutional question of YES and NO as many of us said it would in our blogs, myself included (maybe I’m not as thick as I thought). But I do think this is down to returning labour voters in the main.
The Labour Party have had a total disaster losing 13 seats, giving them 24 in total,nothing else can describe this result for them other than a total nightmare. It is really sad that people like Lamont, Kelly, and Findlay have been returned via the list. Even sadder for me is that the plank Anus Sarwar has been elected via the list after being rejected in the General Election last year and saying that Holyrood is an undemocratic place. The fact that people like Sarwar get elected shows how much trouble British Labour in Scotland is in right now. Baillie keeping her seat is a real disappointment, 109 votes; she is such a vacuous and nasty individual that Scotland would be better without her in politics in our country. Where do they go from here, probably further down I suspect. Dugdale will remain as leader, not winning her constituency damages her, but the party is in such a mess they just can’t have another branch manager contest right now. There is a civil war going on in the Labour Party between right and left, who wins nobody knows and even probably less care.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have not done well overall,staying on 5 seats, but maybe not as bad as I certainly thought they would. Willie Rennie winning his constituency has surprised me but they will have lost out on the list because of it so no real gain. Alex Cole Hamilton winning in Edinburgh is a slight surprise as I find him to be dim to say the least and one of the most uninspiring wannabes I have ever heard. He is no gain to the Scottish Parliament. The Liberals have gained two constituency seats so they will portray this as some kind of victory. I suppose in some ways it is a personal victory for Willie Rennie as he won in his constituency, he will of course blow it out of all proportion, they are now behind the Greens so overall the Liberals have not really done that well. What I would say though is that there has been no LibDemFightback. Rennie will survive to fight another day but the party is going nowhere fast.
The Greens will be very happy with how they have done on the list and may work with the SNP in parliament and hopefully continue to support the independence cause. Getting 6 seats and becoming the fourth party will give them a boost. The Greens split opinion with some thinking they are light on independence, and Patrick Harvie loving himself a bit too much but I am not sure. I have always had a soft spot for them as I agree with some of their policies but I do think it is a party with a mixed membership coming at their positions from different political strands.
I said in my previous blog that I thought the SNP would be one or two seats short of a majority and so it has turned out to be, they have 63 seats. This was based on the various blogs I read, opinion polls, talking to people etc. but they won’t be disappointed too much. They will form the next Scottish Government; they will have to do some deals here and there but won’t get any opposition from the Tories on tax specifically as both ran on not raising taxes, so they should get their budget through with a tweak here and there. Nicola Sturgeon will remain First Minster and that is a good thing as she is by far the best person for the job at this time.
Overall in my opinion a good result for the SNP, a historic third term in Holyrood. They now have to try to balance out the cuts that are coming our way and that won’t be easy. The Conservatives will be delighted, the media will scream that independence is dead (wrongly) but they will be the main opposition in parliament which does surprise me as I thought British Labour in Scotland would just hold onto second. The Greens will be delighted with the inroads they have made on the list and will have some role in the years ahead as far as influencing policy. The Scottish Liberal Democrats will be happy I suspect even though they have stood still and are now the fifth party in parliament. RISE etc. have not done anything as we knew they wouldn’t and the SSP have to really re-consider their involvement as they made a huge mistake joining RISE in the first place when there was potentially a place for them with the voters. Solidarity are finished.
Personally I had hoped the SNP would get a majority based on my belief in independence. We will have a more gender balanced parliament, but with so many successful candidates coming from all women short lists it always feels a little tokenistic and hollow in some ways to me. I’m glad it’s over as I have pretty much had enough for a few weeks until the EU Referendum really kicks in and Project Fear Two takes hold. There won’t be another referendum anytime soon unless England votes us out of the EU and even then it will not be guaranteed, however lets just wait and see on that one.
I continue to feel underwhelmed by the campaign, the ambition of the various parties and the result in most ways. I am disappointed that the Tories have made some inroads as they remain a disgusting party of scumbags in my opinion and the parliament will still have few personalities and too many drones. Hopefully the more passionate supporters on the YES side won’t start blaming everyone and their aunty for the SNP’s failure to win a majority but I suspect they will but let’s not lose sight of the fact we live in a democracy and people should vote for what they want and how they feel, that is a good thing.
Sorry for this being a long blog but I would love to hear what you think.