The emerging picture

So, could this be the dawn of a new era? Personally, I’m too knackered to be excited right at the moment – I was up til 3am watching the results on TV, then woke at 7am to listen to the radio coverage.

As I write, around 80 of the 129 seats have been declared, and it’s still too close to call. The main headlines are:

  • There’s a big swing to the SNP, who win many (but not all) of their target seats
  • SNP and Labour are neck and neck at the moment, on both votes and seats
  • The SSP and Solidarity have split the socialist vote and neutralised each other – other minor parties such as the SSCUP and Greens look to be squeezed badly too
  • And of course, there’s the shocking problems in the counts – technical difficulties, fog in the Western Isles, violence in an Edinburgh polling station, and the unprecedented numbers of spoilt papers

Looking at the updates from BBC News, it appears that Labour are on 32 seats and the SNP on 31. However most of the constituency results (where Labour are stronger) are already in, while most of the list votes (where the SNP have more to gain) are yet to come. So the SNP could well just nose it. We won’t know until perhaps the afternoon.

A quick word on the spoilt papers. Many analysts are saying that it’s confusing having the Additional Member System (two Xs) for the parliament and the Single Transferable Vote for the council elections, accounting for most of the spoils. I am sure that’s true. But rather than putting the two votes on separate days as some are arguing, the solution is simply to change the parliament to STV. But that’s a blog for another day.

So it’s still all to play for, and as I say there’s just one seat in it at the moment. And key marginal seat the Western Isles is still to declare because the helicopter taking votes from Barra up to Stornoway was fog bound. Consequently it may be the last seat to declare – which means the people of Barra might end up finally deciding who becomes the largest party.

I’ll maybe blog again at the end of the day…

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