Searching through the 16 page election supplement in the Sunday Herald devoted to analysis and comment was a remarkable experience. It was not remarkable for what was said, rather for what was not said. The paper helpfully also ran a free poster with the new political map of Scotland. On the obverse of this poster were the details of all 73 constituencies. Plenty of facts barring one. The turnout for Scotland. Constituency turnouts were recorded in small print under each seat. In parts of Glasgow just over a third of the electorate voted. The highest turnout was 63% with the average being 53%.
So what? With headlines such as ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Salmond’s Scottish Triumph’ there is much talk among the chattering classes about a referendum on Scottish independence and its impact on the UK. This could be the first step towards a very different United Kingdom. There are calls for a UK-wide referendum on the matter. Better to let the Scots vote first, as there is every chance they will reject the call. That is, if they can be bothered getting to a polling station. At that point the issue drops off the radar.
The national press in England are very congratulatory towards Cameron and the Tories. There is agreement that last Thursday was very good for Cameron.The one blot has largely gone unreported. The Tories in Scotland recorded their worst result ever. It is worth repeating. The Tories had their worst result ...ever. Even worse than the rout of 1997. Their vote share fell to barely 13%. Thanks to PR (a system opposed by Tories in Westminster) they will still get 15 seats. Without the PR ‘Top up’ they would have held only 3 seats.
The LibDem vote collapsed as it did elsewhere. Scottish Labour had a nightmare but still ended up with 37 seats. Many of these came from the list system. As the Herald put it, “Many of the party list candidates who have stumbled into the Parliament, far from following in the tradition of Donald Dewar, Robin Cook and Gordon Brown, are a motley crue of Parliamentary assistants , relatives of MSPs and nonentities.”
Doesn’t bode well for rigorous and informed debate. There are interesting times ahead.