Glasgow north east was an amazingly good win for Labour in the present climate. Labour learned the lesson of past defeats by dropping the pose of the party of main power and attacking the SNP as the Scottish government. But on a 32% turnout, talk of a rollback of the SNP is premature. Relief is felt that the BNP didnt cross a psychological threshold after all and pip the unloved Tories into third place, the Conservatives managing to save their deposit with just over 5% of the vote and the BNP losing theirs by a whisker. Pressure will mount on Alex to scrap the 2010 independence referendum and sniff the air again after the UK general election. With Scottish Labour still lacking clear direction and charisma, it would be a big mistake to write him off. However we can fairly conclude that the SNPs brilliant illusion of the inevitability of separatism has taken a blow.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London