Thanks to Lallands Peat Worrier who draws my attention to this quite er….graphic illustration of the SNP and Labour’s (dramatically different) respective fortunes in the polls since September 2010.
I couldn’t find any graphs or charts relating to the Scottish election so I made my own. Here is the constituency vote of the four major parties. Election 1 is 2003, 2 is 2007 and 3 is 2011
Here is a rough view of the Regional List vote. I haven’t included every party because that would be impossible to portray. The 2003 data I have simply lists others outside the main parties. Please make allowances for 1) My fledgling attempts to make charts with Openoffice and 2) The limitations in saving said charts! Click on either chart for a clearer view and if I can just remind that the chart above is for constituency and the chart below is for the Regional List vote.
Considering that at the turn of the year the SNP were trailing Labour in the polls, the outcome of the Scottish election looks like being a quite stunning success for the party.
In places like Glasgow and Paisley which have been Labour for as long as there has been a Labour party, there were huge swings to the Nats.
I’m delighted that the positive campaigning of the SNP won over the negative ‘fearmongering’ of Labour.
The Liberal vote as expected collapsed and the Tories continue their mediocrity.
The way that the Scottish parliament voting system was set up, it makes the achievement of an overall majority a very difficult task for any party but with swings of 10% being recorded in constituencies via first past the post, pending the results on the regional lists, an overall majority looks like a possibility.
Locally Jackie Baillie managed to hold on to the Dumbarton seat for Labour and bucking the trend she actually increased her majority. She will now no doubt be one of the candidates to succeed Iain Gray.
Back at referendum time in 1997, I voted no on both counts. No to a Scottish parliament and no to giving that parliament tax varying powers. I was very much of the opinion in those days that I had grown up with one parliament churning out laws and that was a sufficiency of the bastards.
Here we were in Scotland about to vote a third legislature (In addition to Westminster and Strasbourg) into existence. Much as I have derided George Robertson for his comment that devolution would kill nationalism stone dead, actually at the time it had some validity. After all, Scottish politics had been dominated by the Labour party since the 70s and in the central belt it was very difficult to see Labour’s domination diminishing any time soon.
The devolution bill was Labour’s project or rather it was seen very much as Donald Dewar’s project. All that ‘Father of the nation stuff’ made me want to boak because it seemed to me that history had been extremely kind to Donald. Fair play to him though, unlike his contemporaries who chose the glittering career path with Blair in London, he made the establishing of the parliament his priority.
As time went on I became more convinced that my initial instincts had been right. Spiralling costs for the parliament building, (Dewar and co proving they hadn’t a clue about such projects) second rate representation, failed Westminster candidates and jumped up cooncilors all taking part in a big talking shop as far as I could see.
Tommy Sheridan’s SSP made a reasonable impact by having seven MSPs at one stage. Their bill to end warrant sales garnered enough support for it to become law. The idea of humiliating families who had fallen into poverty and irretrievable debt by selling off their remaining possessions for a pittance was never a good one in the most egalitarian part of the UK. That legislation was Tommy and the SSP’s legacy.
There was a horrible inevitability of what happened to him and them. The 2010 perjury trial revealed that quite apart from Tommy’s personal shenanigans, the left were doing what the left always do – i.e. arguing amongst themselves on idealistic minutiae, significant only to a tiny minority.
Something changed in 2007. Against all odds the SNP became the largest single party in the Scottish parliament. They formed a minority administration and gradually began to introduce quite radical legislation.
The thing which has wrong footed the opposition is that the Nats don’t appear to be working to some idealistic agenda for one particular section of society. They genuinely seem to be trying to help the ordinary voter and delivering measures which help them and their communities. That might read like naive bullshit, but with the council tax freeze, the small business bonus scheme (before anyone seizes on that my business did not benefit from it), the abolishing of student fees and prescription charges and 1000 more police on the beat what conclusion is one to come to?
There’s also the Town Centres regeneration fund and serious climate change legislation amongst other measures.
The Nats also identified early on what a disaster the Edinburgh trams project was going to be and they tried unsuccessfully to scrap it. However with the combined opposition of the other parties, that failed.
Alex Salmond has I think proved himself to be the most able political leader, not only in Scotland but in the UK as a whole.
The other parties are floundering seriously. Labour are almost impossible to parody. They criticise the SNP for broken promises despite the fact that much of the stuff they couldn’t deliver was because they were a minority government and it was voted down by the other parties of which the biggest is er….Labour. The popular SNP policies they have nabbed for themselves.
Iain Gray and Labour seemed to wake up half way through the campaign to the fact that this wasn’t a UK election. The guns they then turned on the SNP were as effective as a water pistol.
The Tories’ campaign has been beyond satire. One broadcast I heard was claiming credit for much of the SNP programme. “Without the help of Scottish Conservatives, these measures would not have gone through” which as a statement of fact I suppose is true but of course not in the way they are suggesting.
The Liberals? lets just leave it there.
I’m still not entirely convinced about independence and it will be interesting to see if, as looks likely, the SNP form a working majority government (perhaps with the help of the Greens) how they will handle the referendum issue? I wouldn’t be surprised to see that commitment kicked into the long grass and some compromise being reached on more powers for Holyrood. However, Eck, bold as brass, has said that the referendum will be held in the second half of the next parliament.
If pushed and despite many misgivings, I’d probably vote yes to that. It’d at least get rid of one lot of politicians.
So I’ll be voting SNP today and I can only hope that if they are elected they continue on the promising path of the last few years.
If you are in Scotland and whoever you intend voting for, then please at least vote
Oh aye, there’s the AV vote today as well. This was the Libdem’s pay off for supporting the Tories in the coalition.
Poor old Nick eh?