A Farce

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 PinBall Wizard.
  • 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.

Election Time – Too Close to Call?

This Thursday sees Scottish Parliament Elections and Local Council Elections and for the first time in ages the elections are actually interesting and forecasting a shift in power or at the very least a very close fight between SNP and Labour.

ToriesThe SNP have run a great campaign. Removing the independence question, slickening up the campaign and ‘hiding’ some of the more dubious members of the party and their views has certainly helped their cause. Alex Salmond has also turned down the cheek and smarm that I often associate with him – he’s looked like someone who could run the country which I’ve never thought before. I struggle to see how they’ll pay for their promises – the maths are still an issue for me.

The SNP campaign has also been relatively positive in total contrast to Labour. On the back of Iraq and sleaze they were always going to have a tough time but the repeated bashing of SNP rather than focussing on their own achievements and future plans, apart from education, is annoying and patronising. A poll tonight shows them neck and neck with the SNP but in so many ways they don’t deserve a third term. I’ve generally been a Labour voter but in reviewing what the parties are offering that’s in real doubt.

Lib Dems…anonymous and an almost public embarrassment at using Menzies Campbell. Charles Kennedy was seen and heard more than their leader. Nicol Stephen hasn’t done anything wrong but he appears a bit timid, quiet and he really has to drop the word passionate, especially when it’s said with so little conviction.

Tories. A party I’ll never vote for due to their actions in the past but hats off to Annabel Goldie who I think has done really well. Appears to answer questions honestly, to the point and at least they aren’t plotting a power share before the election has even taken place. Still, like the photo, I can only see them slipping down the polls.

I’ve also had so much propaganda through the front door, not just from the mainstream parties but also some I’ve never heard off. The 9% Growth party? Scottish Christian Party?

No matter who wins on Thursday (although I reckon it will take days to sort out) the shape of the parliament will be very different to the last four years and I’m looking forward to the next few days and how it all shakes out. I just hope the turnout is a lot higher – one vote could make a big difference.