Friday, 7 November 2008

Glenrothes: A Sassenach Suspicion

So Labour won. & the Labour blogosphere seems both joyful and, to be frank, pretty surprised. Is everything in the garden rosy now, then?

Labour have certainly stopped the rot - but whether they have just halted, rather than completely reversed, their decline in the polls remains to be seen. It is instructive that the Labour vote went up - but the SNP vote went up nine times more in absolute terms. There was also a collapse of both Tory (down 48% on the general election) and Lib-Dem (down 80% on general election) votes. I wonder where those votes went? I doubt many Tories, for whom Unionism is the big question in Scotland, went directly over to the SNP. At least one was interviewed on the TV last night saying he had voted Labour to keep the SNP out. I do wonder if there has been a 'double shuffle' of voters: ex Tory and Lib Dem unionists voting Labour to stay British, and ex-Labour working class voters deciding that, actually, it doesn't matter whether their social democratic party of choice wears the red braces of Gordon Gecko Brown or a kilt. In any event, I don't think Labour can count on a collapse of the Tory or Lib-Dem vote in England.

As for the Scottish nationalism thing: it's not going away, it's just suffered a tactical defeat, as all political currents do from time to time. Alex Salmond in particular must regret waxing lyrical about an arc of prosperity including, ahem, Iceland...
But they know that the Tory claim that there is a fundamental democratic deficit in the UK's current lop-side devolution is basically true. So the SNP can wait till that question raises its' head again, and make sufficient hay when the time comes, because any attempt to fix our strange and creakingly mis-constructed constitutional arrangements plays straight onto their home turf.

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