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This result just deepens the democratic deficit, once again delivering a Tory government that Scotland has voted massively against. But there’s two new elements to the deficit.

First it’s been a campaign with the unionist parties clambering over themselves to ram home one simple message: we’ll stop you having another say on managing your own affairs for as long as is possible. This is a great new dimension to democracy: parties dedicated solely to excluding you from participating in democracy. The unionist parties have collectively given up on arguing why being part of Britain is good, they just argue that we shouldn’t be allowed to vote on it. To compound this they have now explained that even getting more than 50% of the vote in a general election wouldn’t give the SNP a mandate to pursue their manifesto policies.

Second, they have attempted to re-write the concept of ‘winning’. Now a massive flopping failure is re-cast as a historic victory and vindication. By this reckoning the English won Bannockburn and France were triumphant at Waterloo. The SNP with a huge 35 seats – a result that would have been considered historic and unprecedented just a few years ago is now being framed as catastrophe. The Scottish Conservatives gather a handful of seats and are portrayed as triumphant victors with Ruth Davidson as Joan d’Arc.

So now you reject the Tories across the country – then the cheeky bastards turn around and say ‘Hurrah we won!’

Winners and Losers

Everybody lost and everybody won.

The country is full of winners and losers and losers that are really winners. UKIP disappeared like yellow snow off the dyke, morphing effortlessly into a Bigger Tory Vote (and feeding Labour). Labour won the campaign but lost the election motivating thousands of people and presenting a manifesto that over-turned decades of accepted wisdom and cementing Corbyns position as leader for several years, even as the Guardian and other scribes scrabbled to find a new leader, including Angela Rayner (yeah me neither), Sir Keir Starmer and Chuka Umunna. The Corbyn Labour 10% rise is the largest ever by the party: more than 1945 or 1997, yet they still lost.

Theresa May is damaged goods, hopelessly exposed and weakened as she now enters what will be brutal and indefensible Brexit negotiations in ten days time – negotiations for which she has been revealed as being woefully personally suited to managing. By her side is the bizarre Boris and the ineffectual David Davis.

For Ruth Davidson the sun continues to shine, but again she is a winner who lost. For how long can she really just continue to say the same lines over and over? If her entire raison d’etre is to ‘stop the SNP’ won’t this, eventually tire her and her followers out? Won’t this just become exhaustingly dull? What else do they have to say other than distance themselves from the toxic policies emanating from their colleagues down south?

The Scottish Tories meagre gains will be drooled over by an expectant press who have lapped up the pre-result framing and are more than willing to ascribe a pathetic loss as a historic victory. All this does is cement a remarkably limited leader in place. And just repeating on a loop ‘you will not have your say again’ may play well to the harcore unionist bloc but I’m not sure where it takes them. How do you expand or develop a politics that is essentially saying we don’t want to hear your views?

As a new poll suggests support for Scottish independence would soar if Theresa May wins today’s General Election, it adds poison to Ruth’s chalice. The Tories are now stuck with an unlikable and damaged leader in London, and a leader in Edinburgh who everyone loves but has little to say. Theresa May will now face internal recriminations after one of the worst general election campaigns in post-war history just as she enters the Brexit process.

But there are other deeper shifts that this election has revealed.

Death of Blatcherism



Corbyn’s team have re-written British politics in the face of relentless hostility.

They have had a massive impact on the SNP, who ran a lacklustre campaign and have been exposed by the radicalism of Corbyn’s manifesto, even if Scottish Labour as an entity is widely derided. But this leaves problems for SLAB too. As Robin McAlpine noted yesterday:

“It is by far the biggest irony of this election that Scottish Labour has seen a substantial bump in the polls derived almost entirely from a surge in public interest in a UK leadership that the Scottish leadership has done everything it can to undermine. The only Scottish messaging I’ve heard from Labour seems to be focused on the SNP’s education record, a subject not even up for grabs in this election.”

What we now have is something that has been absent for years: an alternative.

But we also have is a Game of Thrones style ‘UK’ electoral map with enclaves and zones of influence across the country but with little or no consensus or mandate.

London and the north of England are like different lands. Urban and rural Scotland are culturally distant. Wales oscillates incoherently between UKIPism and Labour.


72% turnout for 18-25 yr olds.
Diane Abbott increased her majority by 11,000. : Diane Abbott’s majority is as almost as big as Theresa May’s entire vote.
Westminster will host the largest number of woman MPs . But in Scotland number of women MPs has DECREASED from 34% to 29% 12 SNP; 2 Lab; 2 LD; ONE Tory.
David Coburn came last and lost his deposit (again). 540 people voted for him in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
The Corbyn Labour 10% rise is the largest ever by the party: more than 1945 or 1997, yet they still lost.


What does this mean for the SNP?

The SNP won 35 seats, 977, 568 votes and remain the UK’s third largest party. The SNP won more seats than the three unionists parties combined. That is an incredible achievement for a party thats been in office for a decade. You can also argue that the unionist bloc vote united to vote tactically and still failed.

Yet this was a disappointing election with little larger vision beyond mouthing platitudes ‘oppose the Tories’ and ‘a stronger voice for Scotland’. With big beasts like Salmond and Robertson being lost this is a massive wake-up call to the party. SNP sources say there’ll be “questions” tomorrow over the Sturgeon/Murrell leadership of the party.

It will be telling to see whether the party and the wider movement is capable of the self-reflection that has been conspicuously lacking in the wake of these results. I suggest that this is unlikely but the remnants of the indy movement are now likely to divide further into ‘Circle the Wagon Loyalists’ and critical voices looking for new paths forward.

35 out of 59 is an astonishing result, but equally the SNP have lost control of the narrative.

The Labour victories in Scotland are not as Dugdale and her colleagues immediately claimed about their cringeworthy campaign about loyalty to the union, it is people inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto, a programme Scottish Labour hate.

Labour has just had the biggest increase in popular support during campaign by any party in British political history. This by a leader vilified by most of his own MPs and relentlessly smeared by the media.

At 10 am we have no idea who is going to be running the country, whether May can hang on and are still trying to make sense of what this election means.

Comments (17)

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  1. CathyW says:

    Chin up, Mike! This is a humiliating catastrophe for the Tories in the UK and we should enjoy to the full the spectacle of them tearing themselves apart. Scotland always used to have a cluster of Tory seats before the anomalous SNP tsunami of 2015, it is neither unprecedented nor disastrous – nor of course, as you point out, is it any kind of wonderful victory. Interesting to see what will be said now about EVEL, since any UK Tory government would depend on its Scottish MPs for a majority on anything. Scottish Labour have been saved somewhat from themselves by the attraction of Corbyn, but not enough to reverse the SNP as dominant party here.

  2. David Sillars says:

    The results throw up an opportunity for bye-elections for the Scottish parliament, which must be fought ferociously maybe even with some of the former Westminster MPs to give a majority.
    Any deals with Labour must include cooperation in the Scottish parliament and an end to “SNP bad” policy, an end to the anti-immigration and deportations.
    The resources of the former MPs must be put to answering the questions of a new referendum on currency, GERs and too wee too poor.
    No more diffidence about who we are and what we want.

  3. enradgey says:

    The SNP have had their anti-establishment/ radical credentials not only pilfered by corbyn/ Mcdonnell manifesto but lost by their own reactionary behaviour such as backdoor privatization of NHS services n jobs, turmoil in FE & austerity programmes in local authorities ie they are showing signs of being infected with the same malaise that destroyed scottish labour.

    1. Legerwood says:

      This backdoor privatisation of NHS services and jobs sounds interesting. Do you have details?

      1. enradgey says:

        Hi legerwood. Email me [email protected] & i can get you info…

        1. Jim Bennett says:

          I thought the SNP had brought an end to privatisation by beginning to bring contracted out services back inhouse.
          Additionally, the SNP brought and end to PFI.
          Best publish your sources.

          1. enradgey says:

            I cant answer that without gettong myself into trouble but i have discussed with staff whose jobs have been outsourced. Ending PFI doesnt end outsourcing. The GMB inform me discussions are commenced about outsourcing all IT. There was recent issue with glasgow council IT being Outsourced…

  4. Mike McGeachy says:

    “You can also argue that the unionist bloc vote united to vote tactically and still failed.” You could, but you would be talking bollox….. 21 seats and 476,877 votes lost….one third of each total achieved in 2015….and you STILL bang on about indyref2, the very issue which gave you this disastrous result.
    Will you ever learn? Scotland does not want independence!

    1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      With a good Irish name I suppose that you also advocate the 26 Counties of the Republic pack their bags and plead to rejoin this xenophobic UK?

    2. jk.scobie says:

      It certainly is not a disastrously result, still in control in Scotland. What swung the result was a vote for Labour and that has not worked out , and also DUP will not work either. We will wait and see what happens in the next two years……. then…

  5. Abulhaq says:

    Independence has to become more than the SNP. We need a ideologically eclectic, intellectually open, imaginative, broad spectrum movement. The staid and rather ‘respectable’ linear politics of the past decade has to go and the SNP leadership has got to get rid of the propriatorial attitude. Corbyn touched on something edgy and quasi revolutionary and it worked. The concept of Scottish independence is subversive if not down right revolutionary in the eyes of the unionist reactionaries. So, what’s to be be lost by loosening that constricting strait jacket? High time independence took flight.

  6. bringiton says:

    It will be interesting to see who the Scottish Labour MPs take their lead from.
    New Labour in Scotland or Old Labour in England?
    I predict an avalanche of U-Turns from Dugdale and friends.

  7. w.b.robertson says:

    The Scottish results provided no great shock, except for the blinkered. The SNP majored on two main clangers …a) they could not accept that many punters might want rid of London control but not at the expense of becoming long distance serfs of German masters in Brussels; b) The SNP Holyrood bloc, for last two years, have been moribund, with no new ideas, no fresh programme – – hypnotised by dreaming about indy in Europe (whatever that was supposed to mean) and a second referendum. Providing a mountain of ammunition to the unionists to accuse them of neglecting the day job.

  8. Alf Baird says:

    The SNP has paid the price for giving up on the core principle of campaigning for independence at UK GE’s, its MP’s opting instead to join the Westminster club. Still, 35 MP’s is a Scottish majority and therefore sufficient to bring an end to the union of parliaments in the same way it began.

  9. Hilary Christie says:

    We need a whole new moral re-armament. I don’t remember nuclear weapons, invasions, bombings, sales of weapons being mentioned much in the campaign. Anyway they’re not popular subjects.

    We were too nice and retreated from the endless spewing out of hatred by the Tank.

    Can anyone supply me withthe totalvotes of the other parties?

  10. Eric Blair says:

    Until the snp take on neo-liberal economics and show truly how they will end austerity, the Corbynite resurgence in Labour will wake up the idiots in the Scottish Labour Party if they have a collective brain cell among them, to the reality that austerity can be ended and they will once again enter the House of Credibility they left under Blair. Do SLAB have the brains, the vision and the guts to do this? Imagine taking a risk with your career in politics?

    The entire reason behind the surge in votes for Independence was simply to end austerity by getting control of our own economy. Yet, independence does not guarantee the end of austerity, unless we have a central Scottish bank with a government strong enough to implement the right policies. The next year will show us if Labour have the people with some mettle to embrace the anti-austerity principles of Corbin. There is now a fight for the soul of democracy in these islands and whoever has the vision and intellect and trust in the brains and compassion of the people will win the support of the radically minded unselfish in Scotland. Labour in England have learned from the snp here in Scotland and the SLAB have to wake up to that reality. But where are the speakers with passion in SLAB? Wee Gaffney? An ameba has more brain cells than such a tribal Neanderthal yob. SLAb could steal their clothes back from the snp but it’s unlikely as their lot are packed with the usual cautious clowns and dummies. It’s time to open up the lexicon of hope and visualise the better world we want to create and not fall into the turgid gullies of repetitive slogans that are dead and valueless currency spent and banal. Politics is filled with bullies and steady as you go careerists who don’t want to rock the boat. But these are rocky times with tidal eddies ready to down the cautious. Where o where are the generous spirited principled people in politics who say what they mean and are smart enough to lead us through difficult times? I’m looking but I don’t see them……

  11. Shilly shallying says:

    Agree with David Sillars, -‘No more diffidence about who we are and what we want’.
    The SNP need to say YES in the same way their supporters do with no more shilly-shallying about.

    Poor SNP campaign whilst Corbyn’s labour party dominated -re-capturing past traditional labour voters who had forgotten that actually SNP, already give/have what they are offering -but no one was shouting from the roof tops to remind them.
    Didn’t even know who my local guy for SNP was, never heard from him or saw him- (Edinburgh West ) voted for him regardless – others where obviously not as generous but I do believe, could have been persuaded by a more ruthless harder fought campaign.
    As for Ruth Davidson who in the press was presented as the’ golden girl’ ( not quite sure why )- she managed to bring back to her fold the usual suspects… but now they have been identified we can relax, they are few in numbers!


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