ChuYg0rWUAAcLzS.jpg largeWith Labour facing an extinction event very early on poor Thomas Docherty declared it ‘self-immolation for dummies’ in a desperate attempt to shift blame onto Labour’s ‘left-wing’ agenda. But this is rise of the sore winners, the hurting Unionist right coagulating around the Tories. Whilst the media will focus on Ruth Davidson’s wins the reality is this: a clear pro-indy majority, the Liberals knocked into fifth place, a historic third term for SNP and surge for the Scottish Green Party.

Here’s the final result: SNP: 63 MSPs (-6) CON: 31 (+16) LAB: 24 (-13) GRN: 6 (+4) LDEM: 5 (-)

Questions may now be asked about the SNP campaign, which was bland and presidential and may have been effected by premature complacency. We will also now be facing creative discussions between the Scottish Green Party and the SNP about the terms of support, case by case or supply and demand.There is much common ground and room for discussion, not least publicly owned renewable energy, affordable housing and a ban on fracking.

There’s a number of issues and highlights to consider from the night.

Labour’s nightmare was clear with key SNP constituency victories: Ash Denham beating Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale by almost 5,000 votes in Edinburgh Eastern; Clare Haughey elected MSP for Rutherglen, gaining the seat from Labour’s James Kelly who has held the seat for 9 years; Humza Youssaf taking Pollok from Johann Lamont; Ben McPherson taking Leith from Lesley Hinds by more than 7000 more votes and Ivan McKee elected the first SNP MSP for Glasgow Provan.

Karry On Kezia
It’s a mark of how far they have fallen that a Labour leader could preside over a campaign which took them to third place behind the Tories and not be forced to resign, but that is the reality for Kezia Dugdale

Tank Girl
The gloves will be off for the cherubic Tory leader. Each week she will have to stand up and take responsibility for the Westminster government we didn’t elect. While she can pick holes in the SNP programme of government (she will no doubt channel the hysteria about the Named Person legislation) she will have to do more than photo opportunities week after week at FMQs. It will be interesting to see how she fares in the harsh glare of light where she becomes for the first time more than an embarrassing media sideshow.

No UKIP
Despite wall-to-wall media coverage for Brexit, Holyrood will not be contaminated by the toxic buffonery of David Coburn’s UKIP who flopped to a dire 2.6% of the vote in the Highlands.

Green Surge
The Green party have trebled their number of MSPs m\king them Scotland’s fourth largest party with Patrick Harvie, Alison Johnstone,  Ross Greer, Andy Wightman, Mark Ruskell, with Maggie Chapman and Sarah Beattie-Smith narrowly missing out. Andy Wightman’s election means the pre-eminent expert and most respected land reform activist will be given a voice and resources to take that forward.

What does it mean for the case for independence?

It means that the case will need to be made. There’s no point just demanding a referendum now (which we’d lose). The case has to be made. The difficult questions will need to be resolved and confronted not shushed away under a blame game.The pro-indy movement needs to be nurtured and sophisticated ideas and arguments developed. Thoughtless tribalism for a party that didn’t have a referendum in its manifesto has, unsurprisingly failed.

Maybe now people will realise that the summer campaign that Sturgeon announced will need to reach out beyond the SNP and reconnect a movement of vibrant ideas. It will need to be bold and imaginative not safe and triangulated. The strategic position of the Greens could be significant in this process. The media will have you focus on the surprise Conservative gains, but this is a sideshow with no constitutional impact other than to expose them to the light of day.

 

 

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