Managerialist Labour given a lesson in modern politics at Scottish polls..

Well, Scotland, whether it knows it yet or not, has just rocked the UK’s world. I would like to see Ian’s hypotheses that campaign’s don’t affect the outcomes of elections tested against Labour’s collapse in some of its heartland constituencies in Scotland yesterday in the face of a superb SNP campaign.

In fact, I think he’s right. The SNP did not win this election on a powerful campaign. The powr of the campaign (and the lacklustre Labour, Lib Dem and Tory efforts) were symptomatic of a change that clearly had been long under way. If the Greens and SNP can combine to form a majority administration, then a referendum on Independence will follow. There is some speculation that the SNP might even go it alone (last night they were being understandably coy with Slugger)

It is doubtful they will win that campaign, but the Scottish people will have the opportunity to be asked that question. And even if the outcome is a polite refusal, the fact that they have been asked will play well for the SNP. Something managerialist Scottish Labour never got before this election.

And according to Gerry Hassan, it was a fall that was always coming:

We knew before 2007 that Scottish Labour could not renew itself without losing an election and office. That is a universal truth across political systems the world over. You cannot remain in office indefinitely and remain uncorrupted and then change your ways.

We now know that Scottish Labour cannot renew itself without admitting it has lost and that the old ways won’t do any more. For Scottish Labour, Scottish politics and society, and the state of our democracy. That will in all probability take another defeat.

As for those other two minor parties of the Union north of the border, they must now be asking themselves: how stands the Union today? Held together with hope and the freshly titled Earl of Strathearn?

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  • pippakin

    I think its right to say Labour lost rather than the SNP won. As I understand it Scottish Labour has a pretty grim reputation, they have handled themselves as unapproachable and unquestionable for a very long time.

    Many of the best of the Scottish Labour politicians have concentrated their efforts on Westminster, treating the Scottish parliament as second best, perhaps that will now change.

  • Brian Walker

    It may have been Labour’s to lose in the last month of the campaign and the Lib Dems were always likely to be punished. But make no mistake, this was Alex Salmond’s victory. There may be a black hole in Scotland’s finances but the SNP haven’t fallen into it yet and they remain one step ahead of the posse.

    The First Minister has for a long time shown himself to be the most gifted politician in these islands. People have also been entertained by his relish for the political battle and have taken him at his word that he speaks for Scotland. At the same time, his nationalism has been of the softest and most reassuring kind, same currency, same army even, same head of state emphatically, and a “social union” – whatever that means – with the rest of us.

    In his heart, will Salmond entirely welcome having to call an independence referendum towards the end of his new term? Can he afford to dispel the underlying suspicion that the notion of a separate Scotland is more than a token of Scotland’s pride to define the SNP than a literal project? Perhaps the great maneuverer doesn’t quite know himself. We shall see. The game has a long way to go.

    Meanwhile over in Canada there’s been a dramatic result that shows the varying fortunes of a separatist party that ultimately fails to deliver. In last week’s general election, the Parti Quebecois which came within a quarter point of winning an independence referendum not many years ago, were outflanked by promises from the anglophone left and all but obliterated. However the Montreal Gazette warns that this not be all good news for Canadian unity; the separatists haven’t gone away you know and may go underground. And we don’t want that to happen do we?

  • Brian, in relation to your Canadian footnote, I received this message yesterday about noon from a Facebook friend, a native of Ontario lecturing in Montreal:

    “Just had our Federal election: Tories got majority with a surprise New Democrats in official opposition. The Bloque Quebecois got decimated in Quebec by the New Democrats and the Liberals federally are toast. Big upset as Liberals and Tory Conservatives have been the two main parties for decades.”

  • AGlassOfHine

    Pretty soon now,Alex will have to start implementing cuts in Scotland. We will see how well that one goes down.

    How stands the Union today ? Same as yesterday. Same as tomorrow.

    Labour got a bloody (good ) nose.
    Salmand has about as much chance of winning a referendum on independence,as Osama has of publishing his memoirs.

    All in all,business as usual at the RBS.

  • AGlassOfHine

    Some very god points BEFORE the results were coming in.

  • Dewi

    There’s a pile of psephological stuff to go through here – (I’ll do a post next week sometime ) but ponder this:
    The Labour vote in the constituencies was down a full…..0.5%.

  • Dewi

    “In last week’s general election, the Parti Quebecois which came within a quarter point of winning an independence referendum not many years ago, were outflanked by promises from the anglophone left and all but obliterated.”

    I know Canadian politics isn’t your area of expertise Brian but that was the Bloc Quebecois not Parti Quebecois.

  • Dewi

    “Kirkcaldy – SNP gain from Labour”

    I’m not making this up.

  • JoeBryce

    Counterfactual history: Can I point out that nationalism has achieved this stunning victory in Scotland without spilling a drop of anyone’s blood. Can I beg the more romantically inclined to ponder where Irish nationalism might be by now if it had followed a similar course. I realise of course the huge differences: but the immensity of this peaceful change surely cries out to be noticed.

  • Greenflag

    Beg all you want

    ‘Can I beg the more romantically inclined to ponder where Irish nationalism might be by now if it had followed a similar course’

    Not being romantically inclined I’d suggest that had ‘Unionism ‘ not opposed Home Rule by force of arms via the importation of German weaponry in 1912 and had accepted the democratic will of the majority of people in Ireland in 1918 -then Ireland would probably not have had a War of Independence -1916 would never have happened and the Irish Civil War would have been avoided and no doubt the later NI troubles in the 1920’s and later in the 1969 -1998 period .

    Hopefully Scottish nationalism can if that is the wish of the majority of Scottish people achieve their objective of independence without bloodshed .

    We owe our ‘bloodshed’ to ‘unionism’s ‘ long history of being opposed to Irish nationalism and independence -regardless of the consequences for the majority of people on this island and regardless also of the effect on British /Irish relations .

    Some have had their minds ‘broadened’ in recent years which is a positive but alas there are still some who have not finished unlearning and some who never will 🙁

    The extent of the SNP victory is probably the biggest ‘surprise’ in these elections . I can’t imagine too many surprises in the NI Assembly .

  • joeCanuck

    No Dewi. There are two parties, The Bloc Quebecois(Federal) and the Parti Quebecois (Provincial). It was the Parti who held the referendum..

  • Dewi

    Joe – i know my canadian stuff – it was the BQ that got stuffed?

  • Dewi

    Can I beg the more romantically inclined to ponder where Irish nationalism might be by now if it had followed a similar course’

    GF – i am romantically inclined – it’s cool..Free Scotland!

  • AGlassOfHine

    The Unionists fault ? Yet again ? I might have known.

  • JoeBryce

    GF: I always enjoy your contributions. You support the GFA, as I do, and you satirised the rejectionists on all sides with your entertaining promotion of the barking madness of re-partrition of the already partitioned Province.

    I don’t disagree with you about the Home Rule Bills, or about the way they were rejected.

    My question still stands, I suggest. Had nationalism in Ireland campaigned politicallly and peacefully in the north from 1968/9 onwards, nationalism would, I think, be further advanced than it is now, because it would have a purchase beyond its present constituency.

  • joeCanuck

    No Dewi. It was a Provincial referendum called by the premier at the time, Jacques Parizeau. leader of the Parti Quebecois. What might confuse you is that the leader of the Federal Bloc Quebecois, Lucien Bouchard, was appointed by Parizeau to be the leader of the independence voting machine.

  • joeCanuck

    The referendum was pursuant to a Sovereignty vote held in the Quebec National Assembly.

  • joeCanuck

    Oops, Dewi. I misread your comment. Yes it was the Bloc who got stuffed this week; down from 47 seats to 4.

  • Mick Fealty

    Jebus guys, you get a serious piece of analysis guys then you bring it back to out “his relish for the political battle”.. you have to bring it back to the integrity of our ongoing little quarrel…

    This is a post about Scottish politics, not ours!!!! FER FECH’s sake!!!