It is 5.30 am and I haven’t been to bed. I intended to watch the first few results from the elections and to turn in around 2 am, but the first Scottish results were so riveting, I have been unable even to think of leaving. And just a moment ago “SNP gain Paisley” flashed up. Paisley!!
The SNP so far have won 28 constituencies on the first past the post part of the election, with many still to come. Compared to seven of these last time. If this were a first past the post election, the SNP would have a thumping absolute majority. But I reckon the regional lists wil still result in an overall majority to the SNP. As Scottish independence remains the practical political goal to which I am most attached, I am absolutely delighted.
Alex Salmond has already indicated that he will use his mandate to push for more powers for the Scottish parliament – most crucially, the power to borrow money so Scotland can run a more Keynsian economic policy, and the power to vary corporation tax. These will be resisted by the Tories, which will set up precisely the confrontation needed over the next four years to prepare for a referendum on independence.
I vote Lib Dem when in England and SNP in Scotland. I am sorry in a sense to see the collapse of the Lib Dem vote in Scotland, not least because Tavish Scott is a very decent person and a genuine liberal. But the atavistic unionism of the Scottish Lib Dems in recent years deserves a kicking, not least because it is the precise opposite of the party’s historical and philosophical roots, and would have Gladstone and Rosebery spinning in their graves. Any real Liberal in Scotland in 2011 should want Scottish independence, and it was only recently in my adult life that the view started to be taken that belief in Scottish independence is incompatible with being a Liberal Democrat.
That Liberals were prepared in Scotland to spend years in coalition with war criminals, but would not enter a coalition with the SNP because of opposition to letting people have a referendum on independence, was so stupid and illiberal, that bluntly the Scottish Lib Dems deserved their virtual annihilation.
New Labour will get an enormous raft of MSPs on the regional list system, having lost 75% of their constituency MSPs. By and large these list candidates are not the same people as the defeated New Labour MSPs. Amazingly, they are on the whole even less talented than the obnoxious numpties the electorate have just sent packing. There is not going to be any effective opposition in the new Scottish parliament, and I hope that the horrible regional list system at least throws up some greens and independents to liven things up,