So the Scottish elections have come and gone and the new session of the parliament will resume looking very different. Some quick highs and low for me:
- Bye bye Tommy Sheridan. No doubt he’ll write a book – Tommy:The Real
- It was also goodbye to the SSP. No real loss methinks and their implosion last year coupled with lack of impact was their undoing.
- STV system allowed me to rank the tories at the bottom. Puerile but oh so funny.
- Having two votes on the same day with two different voting systems was a disaster. Easy to say with hindsight but someone has to take responsibility for this.
- Over 100,000 spoiled ballot papers. Lot’s of people mocked American elections and how Bush got it – are we any better?
- Having Alex Salmond for First Minister Scottish National Party on the regional list vote was a great trick by the SNP and undoubtedly won them some votes but I think added to the confusion. In future only party names should be allowed in the regional list vote or we’ll end up with stunts to make sure parties come first in the list.
- Alex Salmond…first minister? His smugness could reach unprecedented levels.
- Independents almost wiped out. It was good to hear a voice that wasn’t tied to party lines.
So what now? To get a majority in the Scottish Parliament you need 65 seats. SNP plus the Liberals equals 63 putting the Greens in a very strong position as potential coalition partners. I always favoured the way the parliament was setup as I thought it would encourage politics that represent a wider range of viewpoints rather than one party controlling everything. But now the Greens could get a disproportionate say in the running of Scotland, especially as they polled only 0.2% of the constituency vote (although they only stood in Glasgow Kelvin so this percentage isn’t representative) and 4% of the regional vote. Is that fair? 4% of people have voted for policies that could soon be passed in parliament. I guess it depends on the deals that are done over the next few days.
Despite these failings at least interest in politics has risen, or has it? Lost amongst the voting issues was that turnout was again very low at 51.8%. Just 2.5% higher than four years ago but given the large amount of spoiled papers it can be argued that those elected have the smallest public mandate in modern times. Considering how keenly fought this election was that is disappointing.
Still…interesting and potentially very different times ahead.