This is a brilliant disaster. Congratulations to all of the fine candidates who swept away a derelict and bankrupt force in Scotland, whether that be the useless Charles Kennedy, the hapless Douglas Alexander or the derisory Ian Davidson.
It was brilliant to see the charlatan George Galloway dispatched in Bradford, Danny Alexander dismissed in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey and of course Jim Murphy in East Renfrewshire. My own constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath was won by 10,000 votes – an incredible result and congratulations to all that worked so hard to make that happen.
The obliteration of the Liberal Democrats is a moment of pure political karma, and we have just witnessed an extinction event for Scottish Labour. Those discussing who will replace Jim Murphy are missing the point. The party is over and will need to reinvent itself not just appoint a new leader. There is nothing to lead.
As Paul Mason writes today: “Scottish Labour convinced itself that the separatist mood was being driven by economic grievance. But most journalists who covered the Indyref quickly realised it was about a positive identity, total rejection of the austerity politics that Labour had signed up to, and essentially a form of plebeian national leftism.”
There is a fresh energy in Scotland today after a brilliant campaign backed by an army of Yes voters and a country ready for real change. That it was not matched by a Labour party unfit to govern and uninspiring in every aspect is not the fault of SNP.
But we now face a series of massive challenges.
An emboldened Conservative government are now going to assert an austerity agenda with a further £12 billion unaccounted cuts that will devastate the most vulnerable in society. The disabled, the bereaved, the old, the unemployed, carers, those needing housing support, all will be affected by the ideological changes that are coming. Make no mistake as we celebrate victories be sober to the daunting manifesto they have ahead of them. They will also charge on with a European referendum that will be a disaster for Britain.
As Hari Kunzru wrote: “Now comes the period of purely ideological austerity: the project of dismantling postwar social democracy.”
Two huge challenges present themselves.
First we will need now to create an opposition and a wider extra-parliamentary movement that can resist this and bring the constitutional change that’s required so we get the government we elect. We will need to show solidarity with the people of England who also face the social and economic disaster of a Tory government. We should create a mass movement to resist Trident and shut-down Faslane.
But second we all need to work now to create a radical alternative in Holyrood that can do whatever it can to resist and repel the Westminster government.
Today the campaign to elect a Scottish alternative government begins.
The Conservative government that will rule us for the next five years has no legitimacy here and must be resisted. We will need to build a network of resistance that connects the parliamentary opposition to the grassroots movement. We will need to explore creative ways to resist the punishing economic measures that will be enforced on us against our will.
If England is divided and unsure Scotland is united in opposition. We have spirit but we need strategy. This is a massive massive victory, but it’s also a difficult one.