“Nothing will ever be the same again”…

Elections have a habit of raising as much uncertainty as they create. This was an election of firsts – the first time one party has achieved a majority at Holyrood, the first time nationalist MSPs have outnumbered their Unionist counterparts (72 to 57) and the first time Scotland has rejected the Labour party so emphatically. This election was an endorsement of the SNP, not independence. However, it does show one important thing: Scotland is ready to talk about its constitutional future. The “Don’t vote SNP because they might try and make you independent” argument has been met with the “No Shit Sherlock” response. The political parties of Scotland have new pitfalls to avoid and new challenges to face. Eusafishes will don the Hat of Foresight to the sift through the sludge of uncertainty.

Conservative party

What Happened: 15 seats (-5)

The Tories in Scotland saw a decrease in both votes and seats but were spared the slaughter of their Clegg shaped coalition shield. Undoubtedly their biggest disappointment will be losing a large chunk of their relatively small but traditionally steady support base in Dumfriesshire

What they should do:

The Party has a strong leader in Annabel Goldie and should continue to promote their “common sense” approach in order to mask their right-wing desires…or alternatively stop being Conservatives.

If this fails…

It won’t fail, but neither will it succeed. The Conservatives will never win an election in Scotland but they will always manage to colour a minority of seats blue.

Green Party

What Happened: 2 seats (+0)

Polls showed the Greens attaining as many as eight seats in this election, however these hopes were scuppered by a surge in SNP support. The election was by no means a disaster for the Greens though, and they still hold one of the more charismatic MSPs in the infinitely likeable Patrick Harvie.

What they should do:

The Greens have to hound the SNP on their renewables commitments, all the while playing up the green future of  Scotland and how this can translate into jobs. Standing in even one constituency would help remove the stigma of a fringe party, and establish themselves as a permanent fixture in Holyrood. The potential of the Greens far outweighs their parliamentary presence.

If that fails…

Cycle to Denmark

Labour

What Happened: 37 seats (-7)

This result was nothing less than catastrophic for Labour in Scotland. If Labour have proven anything it is that there are no safe seats, losing some of their most experienced parliamentarians and centres of support. Labour can no longer rely on entrenched votes.

What they should do:

Firstly they have to acknowledge this as a failure, not a freak result and abandon negative politics to prevent this happening again. Labour have the unenviable task of turning the fresh faces of an inexperienced back-bench into an effective opposition. However, they must see this as a chance to unearth new talent and re-establish their social-democratic principles. Labour must pull their head out of the sand and realise the support is there but their complacent and arrogant actions have alienated their traditional core. More importantly, they need to be prepared to challenge the SNP not just when it suits them politically, but when it is in the interest of the nation.

If this fails…

There is no alternative for the Labour party in Scotland. Labour must fight for every vote if they wish to govern Scotland again.

Liberal Democrats

What happened: 5 seats (-12).

Clegg fail = utter collapse. Tavish Scott had the near impossible task of compensating for the actions of his Westminster colleagues. The Lib Dems as it stands are not a major force in Holyrood. Their traditional base in the Highlands with its large public sector rightly ousted them from one of their precious few areas of support. They have been hit in the face by the SNP swing. Having gained no constituencies on the mainland the Lib Dems have been embarrassed and humiliated. On the plus side the Lib Dems did their bit for the deficit by losing 25 deposits, a total of £12,500.

What they should do:

If the Lib Dems are to have any future in Scotland they must turn their back on Nick Clegg. If Tavish Scott truly believes in the principles of federalism he must strongly assert the independence of his party from the toxic coalition. In the debate over Scotland’s future the Lib Dems would do well to portray themselves as the party of a third way for Scotland, pushing for fiscal autonomy and devolution to its maximum extent.

If that fails…

Send Tavish Scott and Chaz Kennedy to find Clegg and kick him in the back until they either break the coalition,  or verify the claim that he is spineless.

Scottish National Party

What happened: 69 seats (+23)

This election marks the single greatest achievement of the SNP to date, attaining a majority government in a system designed specifically to prevent this. Voters flocked to the party in droves with  an amount of swing rarely seen outside of major golf tournaments and Tommy Sheridan’s “soirees”.

What they should do:

The SNP can no longer hide behind the constraints of minority government. If it fails to enact the policies entailed in its manifesto  its tenure will ultimately be seen as a failure. Vitally, they should handle their decreased budget in a fair way, all the while pursuing their commitment to “no compulsory redundancies” and ring-fencing the NHS. Clearly the SNP have a mandate for pushing for significantly greater powers for Holyrood, such as borrowing and tax raising powers. The party must use the (potential) new powers of the upcoming Scotland Bill to translate Party support into support for independence. The SNP should hold any independence referendum later in their term, to give time for an informed debate to avoid the insult to intelligence that was the AV clusterfuck. This is the single greatest opportunity in the Party’s history. All they have to do now is what they said they would do.

If that fails…

Annex Berwick to stir up nationalist sentiment (Isle of Man too if they’re feeling funky).

And so the Hat of Foresight concludes…

Every party is facing challenges they have never encountered before in the Holyrood arena, and how they rise to them will be the most important factor in their immediate futures.

The independence issue is now inescapable. The inevitable referendum will represent the most significant domestic event in the recent history of the United Kingdom. Lines of debate must be drawn in order for a genuinely informed and fair discussion to take place. The people of Scotland deserve better than a political shouting match and “your lie is bigger than my lie” will not stand up. If this occurs the parties should be punished accordingly. Our constitutional future is too important to play politics with.

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About medeusa

glaring at Edinburgh student politics
This entry was posted in conservatives, elections, greens, labour, lib dems, scotland, snp. Bookmark the permalink.

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