Well, finally last night the last result crawled in from Thursday’s elections (for local councils and also the Scottish Parliament) – there was a huge mess in counting votes because of a new syste, exacerbated by running both parliamentary and local elections at the same time, meaning three sets for folks to fill in (the parliament has two votes, one for constituency MSPs and another for the list vote, which gives independents a chance) and using two different methods. I found it clear enough to use, but I actually took a few minutes to read the instructions, I suspect a lot of the spoiled papers are a result of people simply not paying attention or because they are so used to the older system they never realised it was now different.
Still, with tens of thousands of spoiled papers and a counting breakdown which delayed everything it is little wonder Scottish political commentators are calling it a ‘guddle’ (there’s a good old Scots term for you). And it means a large number of people have been disenfranchised; since in some places the winner only got in by the skin of their teeth (sometimes as low as 40-odd votes) but the number of spoiled ballot papers was higher than their majority it effectively means there can’t be much confidence in their election. Between electoral mess-ups, disenfranchised voters and the recent bout of sunny weather it is just like being in Florida…
So after being neck and neck all day yesterday the final result has come down to the Scottish National Party under Alex Salmond winning by a single seat, to be the biggest party in the Scots parliament. But with such a tiny majority they can’t form a proper government without going into coalition, most likely with the Liberal Democrats. The Libs bland leader in Scotland already ruled out doing a deal with the SNP if they stick to their guns to set up a referendum for the people to vote on whether we should pursue independence or not, which I really don’t understand. I can understand the Libs may be against independence (I am far from convinced myself since no-one has really, properly explained how we can work it) but to be against the most democratic of things, a public referendum where all the people are asked what they think is simply foolish and undemocratic and, in my opinion, a betrayal of Liberal values, which is another reason why I have no faith in the Scottish Liberals anymore. Agree or disagree with the idea of independence by all means, but how can you be against allowing the people to vote on it??
It is also a big shocker to Labour – Scotland has been a huge block of Labour votes for generations, something they could take for granted, even in the bad old days of Herr Thatchler’s evil dictatorship from London in the 80s when Labour lost tons of support they still had a huge block here. Now they have blown that after decades, which speaks volumes for how much people are pissed off with their cronyism, nepotism, corruption and utter inept handling of government. A lot of it was also because of what the Labour party has done in power in the London parliament under Blair – clearly a lot of us thought yeah, we know that isn’t the fault of the Scottish parliament, but neither have you stood up and criticised them, so you are tarred with the same brush.
Still, such a small majority means it looks like people didn’t vote so much for a march to independence as vote against Labour in disgust. It does means that when the notorious war criminal Blair steps down from the London parliament and Gordon Brown takes over (as seems likely) he is going to be a Labour prime minister in London dealing with a Scottish parliament run by his political opponents (embarassingly the constituency right next to Brown’s own in Fife also went to the SNP) which means the relationship between London and Edinburgh is going to be rather interesting in coming months and years – which I am sure Salmond will exploit to push the independence agenda. I wonder if I should declare my own Independent Republic of Woolamaloo and offer to make it the free homeland for bloggerdom?