With the votes counted, the ballot boxes packed away and the tears of both winners and losers all but dried it’s time to put a wrap on the General Election of 2015. A campaign which for so long seemed to be leading towards a hung parliament, and ensuing minority government, instead ended in a clear cut victory for the incumbent Conservatives. The Exit polls which beamed out of our televisions at 10:00pm on Thursday were initially met with scoffs and collective shaking of heads from most politicians. Sadly for them, and happily for the Exit pollsters, and David Cameron, the figures were all but bang on.
In my own constituency of Falkirk I spent several afternoons and evenings leafleting for the SNP candidate, John McNally. As it turned out I could probably have saved on shoe leather as he romped home with an incredible majority of nearly 20,000. However, I wanted to be part of the process, and even if just one person was persuaded to vote SNP because of a leaflet I delivered then I’m more than happy. In Scotland as a whole the SNP captured 56 out of the 59 seats. In years to come the names of Emma Harper, Neil Hay and Danus Skene will probably be an answer in pub quizzes. The question of course being which three SNP candidates failed to get elected at GE2015! However, let’s not dwell on negatives. Prior to the election, the SNP had six MPs; their record was 11. These unprecedented numbers make it clear what a momentous result this was for the inspirational Nicola Sturgeon and her party.
However, the net result of it all is that David Cameron and the Tories are back for another five years. Some had hoped that the SNP might align with UK Labour to prop up a minority government with Ed Miliband as PM. For that to happen Labour had to make ground in England. Having failed to do that the results in Scotland meant nothing to the overall picture. Even if they had won all 59 seats in Scotland, David Cameron would still have been back inside No 10. Downing Street. The reality is of course that Labour could never actually win all the seats in Scotland. Unlike the SNP they aren’t able to take on LibDem and Tory candidates in rural areas.
So what now?
For the 56 SNP MPs there is the task of standing up to a Tory Government undoubtedly cock-a-hoop at getting re-elected. However, the scale of the SNP vote surely makes it implausible, if not impossible, that David Cameron won’t realise that the Scottish people have spoken for change. We therefore wait to see what emerges over the next few days, weeks and months. Let’s not also forget that as the 3rd largest party the SNP will now get unprecedented access to the mythical “corridors of power” i.e. on more committees, even chairing committees, plus two questions at PMQs etc. It’s up to the SNP to make best use of this advantage. Under Nicola’s stewardship I’m sure they will
As for Scottish Labour, well, it’s a case of asking where it all went wrong – a process which might take a lot of soul searching and uncomfortable truths. Bottom line is their capitulation on election night has been a long time in the making. They have been out of government in Scotland since 2007 and their alliance with the Tories as part of Better Together sealed their fate. The hapless LibDems were also all but wiped out in both Scotland and the UK. For Nick Clegg it was a clear thanks, but no thanks from the voters for their decision to go into coalition with the Tories. As for the Tories themselves, they’ll keep on doing what they’ve always done. Govern for their own self interest and interests of those who back them. Some things just never change.
Thanks for reading.