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Shout of joy for SNP

Brian Taylor | 14:12 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

On the occasion of his first victory, Alex Salmond declared: "I heard a rumour. I think we won the election."

No single seat victory this time. No murmured rumour, even expressed ironically.

This is a yell, a holler.

For the SNP, a shout of joy.

For Labour and others, a shriek of pain.

This is a magnificent victory for the SNP: Scotland-wide, deep and embedded.

The Borders, Caithness, the whole of the North-east. Glasgow Shettleston. Everywhere.

The reasons? A concatenation of circumstances which, combined, have given the SNP the most convincing and stunning victory in their history.

Firstly, the SNP and Alex Salmond fought a good campaign. Focused, planned, sustained, based upon record, team and vision - as they promised.

Secondly, voters preferred Mr Salmond to Labour's Iain Gray. It is futile Labour complaining that the SNP featured Mr Salmond's name as a subsidiary element on the list ballot paper.

Had Labour chosen, they could have advanced Iain Gray in the same fashion. Head to head, folk opted for Alex Salmond by a mile.

Thirdly, there was a collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote in particular, driven by distrust of their role in the UK coalition.

But that vanishing vote had to be garnered. The SNP succeeded. Labour failed.

Fourthly, there was a decline in the Tory vote. But Labour could not contrive to make sufficient headway from that to counter their catastophic failings elsewhere.

Fifthly, Labour's strategy was misplaced.

It was perhaps summed up by the speech delivered by Ed Miliband to the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow at the outset of the campaign.

Yes, Mr Miliband talked about the SNP. But his prime focus was to assure his colleagues that they were about to take the first step (by winning in Scotland) towards victory for Labour (and, thus, E. Miliband) at the next UK general election.

That was wrong on two counts.

One, it talked about party prospects, not popular concerns.

Two, it over-emphasised the subsidiary nature of the contest.

Folk in Scotland understand devolution. They get the concept. But they believed that they were voting in a parliamentary election - a Scottish Parliamentary election. Not a rehearsal, not a dry run.

In similar vein, Labour's opening strategy misfired. "Now that the Tories are back.." was the totemic line.

From that, Scots were invited to infer that only Labour could defend them from this externalised evil, as posited by Iain Gray.

But, even if Scots entirely bought that rhetoric, they looked around and concluded that, just perhaps, the Scottish National Party could be trusted to stand up for Scottish interests.

The more Labour reminded people that the main Unionist party was back in Westminster power, the more folk in Scotland appeared to calculate that they could counter that by voting for the SNP.

In the latter stage of the campaign, Mr Gray modified that to lay a greater stress on attacking independence directly.

Different problem, same outcome. Voters were not sufficiently frightened, if at all, by these tactics.

Final thought. To amend a phrase from the Scotland Act, "there shall be a Scottish referendum". It will happen during the forthcoming parliament - still towards the second half, according to the all-potent SNP.

Will people say "I like that" - as Donald Dewar did of devolution? Maybe. Today does not tell us definitively.

People were voting for a government. A government whose record they found acceptable.

They were not voting directly for independence. Mr Salmond openly acknowledges that.

But a referendum there will be.

I can just hear Alex Salmond now.

They told us, he will say, there would never be a Scottish Parliament.

Then never an SNP Government.

Then never an SNP majority.

Now they will tell us, he will add, that Scots will never vote for independence.

Perhaps, perhaps. That referendum campaign has yet to be called, let alone decided.

But right now Mr Salmond is entitled - fully entitled - to bask in the delight of a simply stunning victory.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Hope over fear, fabulous result for Scotland!

    Now the real work begins - more powers for Holyrood now!. Onwards and upwards Scotland!

  • Comment number 2.

    Well done SNP. They fought well and deserve their chance. Alex Salmond must be playing a long game and you know what? It might just be working...

  • Comment number 3.

    Well, I was prepared to be unimpressed whatever happened - "it's still only a wee pretend parliament, who cares who gets to spend our sweetie money?"

    But watching the results coming in I changed my mind. I've rarely enjoyed anything so much as seeing some of the Labour defeats in Glasgow, but also seeing some of the SNP victories from people I've always had a lot of time for (Kenny McAskill, Fiona Hyslop, etc.) made it even better. So instead of just briefly checking out the tv before bed I was glued to the screen until long after the sun came up.

    Because now there WILL be a referendum on independence. I've been highly critical of the SNP for years for wasting time with things other than campaigning for independence, citing the flatlining support in the polls for independence. (Yes, the party has done a very good job in the Scottish Parliament and in a lot of councils around the country - but none of our problems can really be tackled while Westminster retains ultimate control over us).

    There's going to be a massive campaign to try and scare us out of it - from all the unionist parties and the media.

    Labour have already been heavily criticised for trying it again in the last week of the campaign - using the spectre of looming independence to scare people away from voting SNP. But why shouldn't they have tried it - it's always worked in the past.

    But not this time. Support for independence still seems to be running at around 35% - most of the people who need to be convinced already are convinced. I used to say that if we could all persuade just one person of the desperate need for independence that would be enough. Now we just need half a person each ;)

    How hard can it be?

  • Comment number 4.

    Congratulations to the SNP and Scotland - here's to independence and good luck.

    How long can MPs representing English seats in Westminster still go on ignoring England?

  • Comment number 5.

    Well Done Alex Salmond.

    But please don't make the mistake of confusing that being rewarded for a good job done over the last few years is the same as a positive endorsement for independence.

    It certainly isn't for this voter.

    And if you have the referendum, and it gets a yes vote, I'll be moving south.

    Ask the Irish, Greek, Portugese, Spanish and Italians just how great it is to stand alone at the periphery of Europe when the magic money evaporates.... Scotland will quickly become another begging bowl.

  • Comment number 6.

    Alex Salmond told National Council last year. They (the pundits)
    were wrong in 2007 and they are wrong now. It is a matter of
    self belief. Now the hard work begins. Alba gu Brath

  • Comment number 7.

    I have waited all my life for a result like this, it seems my skepticism of my fellow electorate was misplaced.
    Let's hope that this will be the norm rather than the exception for the foreseeable future.
    Next step full self determination !

  • Comment number 8.

    An excellent day for Scotland!
    The SNP Government will now need to get to grips with Westminster's cuts - and strive to protect Scotland from their worst excesses.
    As well as protecting the NHS, they need to both protect jobs and nurture conditions for economic growth.
    The next few years are about building national confidence and self-esteem.
    A clear vision of what a Better Scotland will look like.
    A Better Scotland for Scotland's Children.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 9.

    Absolutely stunning victory! Devolution was supposed to be the death of the SNP. They even designed the electoral system specifically to make a majority all but impossible - up steps Alex Salmond!

  • Comment number 10.

    A fantastic day for this wonderful country...The people of Scotland have spoken...The times they are a changin....

  • Comment number 11.

    Thank You, Brian. Yours is the most fairly put, moderate and unbiased account of the Scottish Parliamentary Elections and we appreciate your candour.

    Now as a Nat allow me a little more partisan in my response.

    If David Cameron and Nick Clegg were sleeping soundly last night, they must be giving birth to toilet bricks today.

  • Comment number 12.

    How ironic - Labour largely ignored the regional element of the poll, but will end up getting most of its MSPs from the regional lists.

  • Comment number 13.

    Brian,

    Following your negative campaigning of the last few weeks, it it time for your braces to be hung up?

    I understand a certain Mr Gray is looking for someone to share a sandwich bar franchise with.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well done SNP! Look forward to another term of good governance. And eventually independence.

  • Comment number 15.

    Brian listed five reasons for SNP victory, I'll sum it up in one -


    "union is no longer relevant"


    Why are Scots having to emmigrate in increasing numbers why westminster spends our taxes on Trident and military campaigns?

    Why are our resources in the North Sea being plundered for same when we have greater priorites at home in Scotland?

    Scots have answered these questions today - we do not have to!

    Stunning recsult, congratulations to all those who have worked so hard to put Scotland back on the map, rejoice today, then the hard work of winning the referendum begins!

    C McK

  • Comment number 16.

    You must be shreiking louder than anyone brian. I feel your pain. A wonderful victory for the people, all the people of Scotland. Face it, imagine waking up to a future under some cobbled together labour coalition. Same old same old, jobs for the boys, and stuff the people.
    We woke to hope of better. What a night.

  • Comment number 17.

    4 "How long can MPs representing English seats in Westminster still go on ignoring England?"

    Excellent point - England needs to find its political voice to the same extent as your country men and women did in celebrating the marriage of your future king. Good luck in your endevours!

    Union does not work for England either!

    C McK

  • Comment number 18.

    Well done Mister Salmond. Proof that positive campaigning works, proof that the impossible is not! I look forward to the referendum, how it goes depends more on Cameron down south though. Either he makes huge concessions to appease Salmond, or Salmond beats him over the head with cuts, maltreatment, and cold-shouldering Scotland. The referendum is Cameron's to lose.

  • Comment number 19.

    From an Englishman who was brought up in Scotland - good luck. If you want independence, you should have it.

    In fact, I think that we should have a referendum as well, and the union should only persist if BOTH sides want it.

    I sense a growing feeling in England that both countries would benefit from dissolving the union.

  • Comment number 20.

    For years the Labour party have taken their Scottish vote for granted and prior to the loss of many widely respected Scottish Labour politicians John Smith, Donald Dewar and Robin Cook to name a few and the rise of Blairite New Labour this may not have been without reason. However "new" Labour lost credibility in Scotland by pandering to Westminster and forgetting why they had the popular vote in the first place. The Libdems should have learned from this. The Scottish people are not stupid and have spoken with their votes. The SNP have done a good job thus far and the electorate anticipates that this will continue. Hopefully when the dust settles the capable politicians of this country will work together to the benefit of all.....the numpties will disappear and Scotland will be a better place......OK a bit naive but at least there should be no doubt that if the elected fail to please they will not be returned. Well done SNP please do not let us down.

  • Comment number 21.

    One of the most emotional days of my life....must say i dont mind saying i had a few tears in my eyes....

    God bless Alex Salmond and our National Scottish Party.....

  • Comment number 22.

    And God Bless the Scottish Nation....

  • Comment number 23.

    Brian, would you please ask your editor to allow Glen Campbell to show the Keith Brown acceptance speech. Many thanks.

  • Comment number 24.

    So - we (people who live in Scotland - note not Scots) now have an SNP 'government' in Edinburgh and a coalition in London. I'm not Scottish, but I am one of the many British people who contribute to the Scottish economy and its wider society. Will there be a referendum on independence - it seems so. In the event of a yes vote - will I be one of the many highly-qualified people who packs his bags and heads South and takes my intellectual capital and socio-economic contribution with me - you bet! I may be old fashioned but I do still believe in Great Britain and what it once stood for - that 'Great' bit was and is still important... I have no interest in being part of a society that wishes to destroy that. Good luck to Salmond and his band of nationalists - they'll need it.

  • Comment number 25.

    Congratulations SNP congratulations Scotland

  • Comment number 26.

    Congratulations SNP. Congratulations Scotland.

  • Comment number 27.

    Congratulations to Alex Salmond and his SNP colleagues in the wake of such a stunning victory.

    Sad too in that Willie Wolfe who died last March would have been so proud of the outcome of this election.

  • Comment number 28.


    In my opinion the unionist parties did badly because they conducted themselves in such a negative manner in the last parliament - oppose for the sake of it irrespective of the merits of the matter and benefit to Scotland - and during the election itself relied so heavily on " heavy weights " from Westminster presumably because they recognised themselves the generally pathetic quality of their MSPs and would be MSPs. Let's hope the unionist parties now realise that these outside "heavy weights" have no role in domestic Scottish politics and that their party branches in Scotland must have proper autonomy ( independence ? ) to formulate/support policies in the interest of Scotland. That's what devolution is about !

    Please stop talking down Scotland. We're not a begging bowl nation or a nation of idiots and the sooner the unionists recognise this and rid themselves of this ridiculous stance the better ( let's hope the media in Scotland also recognises this fact and has a sea change in its ignore/denigrate Scotland attitude - and that includes BBC Scotland !!! ).

  • Comment number 29.

    [1. At 14:48pm 6th May 2011, forfar-loon wrote:
    Hope over fear, fabulous result for Scotland!

    Now the real work begins - more powers for Holyrood now!. Onwards and upwards Scotland!]

    That will be difficult given the large numbers of Scottish civil servants who have recently left the Service. They're already struggling to deal with work generated by the powers we have now, let alone take on even more work with no extra staff! And no, before the usual comments are posted, the vast majority of them don't spend all their time at work drinking tea and gossiping - they work very hard. Shame they don't get the recognition they deserve, either from the public, or from their government.

  • Comment number 30.

    The people of Scotland and people who live and work in Scotland have nothing to fear from independence, absolutely nothing at all.

    In this election that unionist fox was shot right between the eyes by the voters.

    Nothing can and will scare the Scots now.

  • Comment number 31.

    It is quite a shame this victory is spoiled by the anti-SNP/anti-independence whines and moans.

  • Comment number 32.

    GOBSMACKING!!

    JUST UTTERLY GOBSMACKING!!

  • Comment number 33.

    # 4. englandrise

    "Congratulations to the SNP and Scotland - here's to independence and good luck."

    Thank you.

    "How long can MPs representing English seats in Westminster still go on ignoring England?"

    Exactly, I hope you strive towards independence too.

    Good article Brian. Nice to see you writing an unbiased blog [not that I would dare to insinuate that a fellow 'Arab' would do differently]. Maybe Pacific Quay can see which way the wind is blowing and bend with it.
    Well done to Iain Gray for stepping down. You have to be some man to totally decimate Labour's stranglehold in Scotland's industrial belt, by the way, I'm not talking about Alex Salmond. Hopefully the Labour led Councils will see that it isn't worth playing politics with taxpayer's money and get down to running the councils for the benefit of the people and not for the benefit of the party and/or themselves. Maybe this is what Labour needed to get them back to being the party of the working classes. I suspect not but one can never tell what the future will bring.

  • Comment number 34.

    24 "who packs his bags and heads South and takes my intellectual capital and socio-economic contribution with me"

    So your commitment to the country that clothes and feeds you is maintained only if the country you were born in rules Scotland.

    Does not appear your departure would be a great loss.

    Scotland needs people who are commited to her future, not the faint hearted or those who look back to empire and conquest!

    Bon voyage!

    C McK

  • Comment number 35.

    5 Rational Viewpoint and 24 betamax63

    Flora McDonald's man said exactly the same thing (except he moved north) when those pesky Americans thought they could run their own affairs.

    btw "Great Britain" is a geographical term describing the big island, as opposed to "Lesser Britain" which is Brittany.

    Great Britain won't go away because it is occupied by different states any more than Ireland did.

  • Comment number 36.

    Wow have had tars of joy in my eyes and felt like i was floating on air all day. :-)

  • Comment number 37.

    24 Betamax63
    If it is what you really wish, then head South.
    Personally, I hope that you stay - if you have talent of any kind - I hope that you'll continue to contribute to our Society.
    Perhaps you've viewed yourself as a "colonial" all along?
    Did you try to convert us - or bring us civilisation?
    Many colonials headed "Back to Blighty" once the pesky natives throughout the "great" British Empire sought self-determination?
    Whatever - the decision is yours. Just think what you'd be giving up afore ye go.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 38.

    24. At 16:16pm 6th May 2011, betamax63 wrote:

    "In the event of a yes vote - will I be one of the many highly-qualified people who packs his bags and heads South and takes my intellectual capital and socio-economic contribution with me - you bet!"

    As a previous contributor to Scotland's economy, you will be sadly missed. Are you selling your bike?

  • Comment number 39.

    HISTORIC election for the SNP. It is hard to grasp what a ground changing election this is. Some of the people who post here have worked a lifetime, or near enough, for this day. Congratulations to them.

    Yesterday went better for you than I even dreamed it could.

    Slainte mhor.

  • Comment number 40.

    hint for the labour party if you still don`t get it, elections are about what is best for the country not what is best for labour,ruining the countrys finances to buy votes for the labour party is what got you into this mess and until you get it into your heads that it is scotlands future that counts not the labour partys future that counts and if labour really wanted what is best for scotland they should stop trying to put party before country as they have been doing for the last fifty years people have got wise to them

  • Comment number 41.

    Greetings from Wales - many, many congratulations on a wonderful result. The SNP fought a positive campaign under a strong, well liked leader, using a combination of their track record and their possibilities. We will be looking to Holyrood to see where you are going and what lessons we can draw from this.

  • Comment number 42.

    The SNP should be careful in the afterglow of this tremendous result not to interpret the swing in their favour as a vote for independence. It was not. Timing of the referendum is going to be critical to its outcome so bide your time Mr. Salmond. It's always been a long game.

  • Comment number 43.

    Awesome. This has the feeling of the days of Aly MacLeod pre Argentina. I know, I know, but surely Alex can keep more control, after all he is allowed to play, while Aly had to sit on the side lines during the matches.

    Anyway, just one thought, and I am not sure why I really care. Must be the good in me, but Ian Gray might be able to get himself out of his wee predicament sooner rather than later.

    Anyone fancy the current retiring Labour leader as the new presiding officer in the parliament? He gets out of the job he wants to give up. It's Labours turn if I remember previous conversations here. I means he doesn't do a Gordon Brown and actually turns up each day for parlaimentary business. And it would just be nice to hear him have to announce the resuts of minimum pricing votes, etc. and see his jolly reaction to the progress made.

  • Comment number 44.

    Alex Salmond rightly points to the failed scare tactics of Labour and some of the press. But you ain't seen nothin yet - just wait for the politics of fear that will be engaged when the referendum campaign comes around. There were plenty ridiculous examples in the 2007 election campaign -my own personal favourite was the claim in a major Edinburgh-based Sunday broadsheet that there would not be credit cards in an independent Scotland...

    The SNP needs to work out how to deal with the fear tactics. At the same time, I hope the unionist parties accept from the start that Scotland COULD of course be a viable, healthy independent nation, and focus instead on whether - given that fact - it actually WANTS to be or not. To his credit, this is the line usually taken by David Cameron so far.

    After all, an independent Scotland would be approximately the world's 30th biggest national economy (out of a total of 194 independent nations) - i.e. bigger in economic terms than around 3/4 of the world's independent countries. We are living in interesting times...

  • Comment number 45.

    @Betamax63, if you want to take your ball and awa' hame, then dinnae let us stop you. In fact I'll give you a lift as far as Carlisle, your on your own from there. Every begrudging chairfiller that leaves is a spot that a believer in Scotland, someone who supports his or her nation whole-heartedly, can fill. You'll be helping fuel out growth. Who uses Betamax these days anyway?

  • Comment number 46.

    Re betamax63, I am sure your move to Scotland was not philanthropic. Feel free to take your intellectual capital south, we have many highly educated and less self absorbed inhabitants living in Scotland that could do your job. You are old fashioned - "Great Britain" is now more a memory than a country....

  • Comment number 47.

    I voted for SNP for several reasons;
    1. They have been largely true to their word.
    2. They fought the campaign on facts, objectivity and apparent sincerity.
    3. They didn't treat the voters as idiots.
    4. They are a Scottish Party with a Scottish agenda, unlike the other Parties who
    one feels have a predominantly Westminster agenda.
    5. They fought the campaign on a theme of Hope and not Fear.

  • Comment number 48.

    Huge congratulations to the SNP team for a campaign well run and an historic victory.

    Yes the hard work starts here but, for today, lets all SNP supporters sit back and enjoy the moment!

  • Comment number 49.

    Many Labour leaders and members seem unacquainted with the concept of grace in the face of defeat. Mind you some aren't: Malcolm Chisholm, for example. But the ability to say, "We lost and we will do everything possible to work with the SNP for the good of Scotland" would have looked a lot better than the cringe inducing venom I've seen here and elsewhere.

    This attitude, as shown yesterday, no longer wins elections in Scotland.

  • Comment number 50.

    Congratulations to Alex Salmond, all the returned SNP MSPs and all the hard working party activists behind the scenes who have made this a great day for Scotland.

    I doubt many would have anticipated that a majority could be achieved but the people of Scotland have spoken and given a huge thumbs up to the SNP. The hard work starts now in giving Scotland a voice about the direction for the future whether that is more powers for Scotland or even full Independence down the road.

  • Comment number 51.

    A very worrying day for Scotland now that we face a majority SNP government.

  • Comment number 52.

    #24. betamax63 wrote:
    "I have no interest in being part of a society that wishes to destroy that... [the union]"

    But are you sure that it is the Scottish society part that wants to destroy that? Maybe if there had been a little bit more respect from the 'Great' Britain parliament in the last 300 years, and less focus on using and abusing us, maybe there would be less interest in us wanting to grow up. There again maybe not. I have never researched the reasons, I just have a heartfelt good feeling about running our own affairs without asking permission to do anything. Maybe people in Scotland now feel the same about the London control of us as the London governemnt feel about the EU government controlling parts of the UK. Maybe the cause originates from the area of the union you want to return to, and maybe any changes should originate from there if people want to protect the status quo.

    However, as one who will opt to emigrate back to your original roots, how many do you think would want to vote with their feet in the other direction. Assuming that things work out as we all hope they would, how many would consider imigrating because of the positive attitudes to running the country, the better quality health care, the lower costs of further education, etc etc.?

    I also wonder if there are any emigrants from here who went South who will feel the same way as you in reverse and think that now we are heading towards more control of our own lives, it would be a good time to return and help out the mother country.

    Just a thought.

    Oooppss! Here comes Saltire 1 so time to pay attention to our leaders message to the populus

    Then it's off for a wee (nah! make it a very large caffeine free) dram.

  • Comment number 53.

    So just the soixante neuf then. Even the rogue polls and outliers didn't suggest that we dared hope that far.

    Any root and branch review of the politics strategy for PQ for the next five years Brian?

    What a night, what a day, what a future. Well done Scotland, more to follow.

    Let's hear what Alex has to say.

  • Comment number 54.

    Superb blog Brian....but....

    "A concatenation of circumstances"?....learn something new everyday!

  • Comment number 55.

    This Englishman is extremely pleased because English independence from the shower at Westminster also took a tiny step forward with this result.

    The SNP and its supporters are the thinking English persons' best friends.

    Maybe our respective nations will be free sooner than any of us thought.

  • Comment number 56.

    All interesting comments - but aside from the main issues of the day, what's with using the word 'concatenation' in a BBC article? Using long words does not make you clever - it shows you to be arrogant and pretentious.

  • Comment number 57.

    52. skoubhie_dubh

    Couldn't agree more. Quite frankly all Westminster governments of recent years are responsible for the desruction of the Union. They've used the Union and bled it dry in order to feed London, instead of running the Union for the purpose of mutual benefit for all the nations of the UK.

    The SNP have come in with a positive attitude, ambition, and long term proposals for the benefit of all of Scotland. When opposing parties who's agenda is to scare Scotland from independance, and to keep fuelling London whilst operating the rest of the UK under the public sector from London's 'wealth'; it's no surprise the SNP have come up tops.

    I write as someone who was born in england, lived in england all my life and a firm believer in the Union. But if Scotland do obtain independance then I will be very tempted indeed to move north of the border due to the positive outlook and positive action that seems to be coming out of the Scottish parliament.

  • Comment number 58.

    As an nth generation Englishman, I say to the SNP "WELL DONE". Now maybe we can undo the injustice of the Act of Union and let Scotland be governed by Scots and England be governed by the English.

    It's Scotland's oil. Let them spend the revenues how they want.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm with Betamax - and I'm Scots. I respect Salmond, and the SNP for their performance during the last 4 years and in this campaign, but if the vote goes for independence, I'm also off. All those crowing about this now - and as I say, the SNP have done a good job during the current parliament - need to stop and think about what independence actually means, economically. We need the union, just as the union needs us.

  • Comment number 60.

    As an Englishman living in England I congratulate the SNP on their momentous win - the new electoral map of Scotland is a stunning sight. You wonder what catastrophe Scottish Labour will have to go through to make it reconsider its attitudes, but if this election doesn't do the trick then we'll have to conclude that they are congenitally incapable of learning from their mistakes. Having lived in Scotland for several years (and voted for the SNP during that time), I think it is encouraging that people have voted for a party which is uncomplicatedly patriotic, and run by decent, intelligent leaders who possess integrity. These qualities are sadly lacking at Westminster (and also among the other parties at Holyrood, to be fair).

    I am agnostic on the question of Scottish independence - that is clearly the way the wind is blowing, although it may be some years before it actually happens. And it's not for me to pronounce on it. I long for England to re-establish itself as a proper nation unencumbered by Britishness, and for the Augean stables of Westminster to be cleaned out, then torched and banished from memory. I would like us to take these steps on our own but accept that the likeliest way for this to come about is in reality for Scotland to become independent. I trust that our countries would remain (or become) close friends after any such parting of the ways.

    I despair of the tawdry, self-interested, dishonest fossils that pass for the "mainstream" political parties of the UK. The need for an English party that emulates the SNP is now more pressing than ever.

  • Comment number 61.

    I lisstened to the "how dare they" cooments from folk like Mr Cochrane.
    Do these people not believe in democracy?
    Scotland spoke out today ,actually she shrieked!
    Yipeee!

    Mr Constable ,it is always a pleasure to see you on the blog giving a balanced and fair comment.

    For those who think themselves too good to stay ,what can one say?
    Anyone of a mind to persuade the reluctant?
    Not today!

  • Comment number 62.

    56. At 17:42pm 6th May 2011, Stoking wrote:

    "Using long words does not make you clever - it shows you to be arrogant and pretentious."

    What does pretentious mean?

  • Comment number 63.

    34. At 16:43pm 6th May 2011, Calum McKay wrote:

    As I'm in the same position as the fellow you're commenting on, and wholeheartedly agree with him (I'll be off down south too should the referendum come up yes), then perhaps my concern is the same as his..

    How exactly will a small nation of 5m people, peripheral to the mass demographic of Europe, pay for itself??? It can't be done on whisky exports alone...

    Oil... yes, well, the bulk of the easy money has been made and spent over the last 40 years, and give it 30-40 years the tap will have run dry... that is if Scotland can manage to negotiate the oil revenues for itself.... which I doubt.
    And as the Chancellors recent tax raid showed, the stuff being drilled these days is pretty marginal, so don't expect that the oil giants are going to be a golden goose... Scotland needs them more than they need Scotland.
    - Remember, before the 70's, Aberdeen was not much more than a vibrant fishing port and Shetland was much like Iceland... pre Kaupthing. Run out of oil, and thats exactly where they'll drift back to.

    Renewables.... isn't the whole industry only possible thanks to a massive amount of subsidy?? Fair enough, it might turn a genuine profit at some point.

    Tartan and tourism... Hardly enough to support the massive social welfare bill and public sector you'll have to pay for yourself....

    ...oh, and I presume that being independent means you can take care of your own defence needs... MOD bases.. gone. Shipyard contracts... being English, I'd prefer them to go to Southampton or another 'home' location than being outsourced to a low cost 3rd country (Scotland).

    Wait... Banking and funny finance, of course. Ireland followed that path and they seem very happy with picking up the tab now its all gone sour.

    Or salmon (not Salmond)... ok, fair point, sustainable, consistent demand and a potential growth market.

    Chemicals... maybe, although most of the major firms are foreign owned so the revenues head overseas and Scotland is as disposable as any other location should market demand change.

    Manufacturing in general.... sorry, think thats gone already.

    So you see, Scotland is a fabulous country and plays an integral part of the UK. Whether you think its fair or not, we all in the UK share the oil wealth and Scotland has a pampered welfare system and much of its population outside the central belt is supported by massive amounts of subsidy (£100m+ per year is spent keeping the 30,000 odd people on the islands connected to the mainland).

    Why would I leave?? Easy, should Scotland become independent its people will see taxes rise, services cut and its remoteness from key markets will become ever more apparent. Ask the Portugese, Irish, Greek and Spanish....

    And once you've voted yourself out... you think those in England will be falling overthemselves in a referendum to bring you back from the wilderness....

    Ironically, I did vote SNP. Simply because they've had focus and have done some very tangible good things for the country over the last few years.

    But come referendum, its a firm NO here.

  • Comment number 64.

    Brilliant news. One step closer to having the yoke of Scotland removed from around our necks.

  • Comment number 65.

    @47 Kingtune - what you said! Couldn't put it any better on this historic day for our wee nation.

  • Comment number 66.

    My goodness! Hope over fear...???? A nonsense. By all means give unionists a kicking for taking Scotland for granted, but a smug Alex Salmond. No. They ran a good campaign, but the reality of rule at a time of cuts will be interesting to see. Let's lance the boil of independence and have the referrendum! Then we can get on with the real issues.

  • Comment number 67.

    Brian what do you think, "seminal moment" - Yes / No?

  • Comment number 68.

    59. At 18:04pm 6th May 2011, colinjh wrote:

    "All those crowing about this now - and as I say, the SNP have done a good job during the current parliament - need to stop and think about what independence actually means, economically. We need the union, just as the union needs us."

    You obviously haven't.

  • Comment number 69.

    Congratulation's to the SNP on your outstanding victory in the Scottish election. I urge you now to have your independence referendum at the earliest opportunity. Momentum is with you, and you should sieze the moment.

    You have a complete majority now, and there can be no excuses. No 'back sliding' please.

    Millions of disenfranchised English men and women are relying on you.

    In the words of that famous Scottish hero ... Mel McGibson .... NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE YOUR FREEDOM !!! (or something like that). ;)

  • Comment number 70.

    I personally think that this is a great opportunity for Scotland to show the way in self government and out of the hands of westminster!
    They could rewrite how an honest party should govern.
    What I would give to throw out all the crooked MPs and their crooked ways!
    Scotland should try to go it alone and make us Englishmen very envious.
    They could pull out of Europe, No overseas funding until they have figured out their finances, cut petrol tax, stop benefits to Illegals and any work shy people, stop any funding of minority groups, cut government spending, cut the number of MPs, these are a few drastic measures that would save them billions and leave them to spend wisely on home matters, mainly education, law and order, health, OAPs.
    Can you imagine putting these items on a ballot paper for people to determine their own destiny?
    What Westminster does is spend tax payers money on many items that the majority of people would never vote for!

  • Comment number 71.

    Fantastic result. Labour now another FIVE YEARS out of power in Scotland. Watch out for infighting and defections to the SNP from about six months in.
    Amazed that the Labour party do not understand whats wrong. Its not just the negative campaign and crying wolf its the underlying idea that cuts, job losses poverty, desperation and social destruction of working class areas just has to be accepted because of cuts imposed from London. They had the feeble fifty MPS to fight Thatcher and did nothing, they have 41 MPS just now and do nothing and yet they wanted elected to Holyrood to do what?
    As for the people threatening to leave Scotland if we were independent Blah Blah Blah, who cares. Its the people of Scotland who live here permenantly and who are unable to just up sticks and move country to country that i care about. If you want to stay please do, if you want to go please feel free but i dont really care.
    Hope Sir Alex Fergeson and Eddie the comedian Izzard still come for a holiday.

  • Comment number 72.

    #42, The timing of the referendum will of course be interesting. The LibDems got their AV referendum within a year, why not an Independence referendum within a year? The only reason I can think not is self belief.

    It is quite possible that one of the opposition parties will put a motion before Parliament calling for an immediate referendum. How would the SNP deal with that if it happened?

  • Comment number 73.

    I'm an Englishman and personally I dont want to see the break up of the United Kingdom, however if the majority of scottish people do want total independence then I dont have issues with it, neither should anyone else.

    However support for the SNP does not mean support for independence. I've seen figures floating round of about 35% of scottish people support independence. Congratulations to Alex Salmond and the SNP, but they've got a very long way to go to get independence and then it would need to get through westminster.

  • Comment number 74.

    Proud to be a Scottish, Freedom fast approaching!

  • Comment number 75.

    It is an absolutely fantastic, mind blowing result and to all those who are attempting to rain on this parade (some quite long winded!) give me a call when you are ready to move ; I'll gladly help you pack, Scotland has no need of the " too wee ,too stupid ,too drunk ,too poor ,too unhealthy " brigade.
    I'll wave you off with a tear in ma 'ee,or not .

  • Comment number 76.

    Jeez Reporting Scotland is really taking the SNP win badly, trying to put a damper on a truly momentous occasion for Scotland. That though is the reason, because it is good for Scotland and that is not what the BBC seem to want.

  • Comment number 77.

    Since the birth of "New Labour" there has been no choice in UK politics. The main parties are all the same. Henry Ford politics.

    Thank [expletive of choice] we have the SNP. They are not about media spin or slick packaging, they just get on with it. And the fact they've done a pretty good job so far up here hasn't done them any harm at all.

    People are sick fed up of everyone pandering to "Middle England". Never mind Iain Gray - what about Ed Milliband? If you'd been woken from a coma and been asked which party he was the leader of, Labour would be probably your 3rd guess. And that's the problem. Tony Bleuuuaaagh got away with it because of the "anything's better than the Tories" argument. Well enough's enough. Jimmy Reid's quote is bang on the money:-

    "I never left Labour. Labour left me"

    Well this spectacularly funny one fingered salute from the heartland should send the message home loud and clear. Ignore us and you'll never get in at Westmister again. Especially now the Lib Dems have been exposed once and for all for what they are...a complete waste of a vote. They did it up here before cosying up to Labour. Vote Libdem, get Labour. A bit hard to stomach but they weren't fatally wounded by it. Thing is vote Libdem, get the tories is really going to be the end for them.

    As for the independence thing? Its not ever been about that but if we continue to get far better governance from Holyrood then who's to say what will happen?

  • Comment number 78.

    63. At 18:13pm 6th May 2011, Rational Viewpoint

    Do you write fiction for a living?

  • Comment number 79.

    Great day for Scotland...Roll on independence....too long the oil has went to England
    Scotland could be one of the wealthiest countries in Europe... How can the English stop them now?

  • Comment number 80.

    Now the people of Scotland have got it; not one of the English parties really care about them. They need a government that has positivity and now with the SNP they have it. Will the BBC now adjust their weather map to reflect the correct geographic proportion of Scotland in the UK? - I doubt it; they don't get it.

  • Comment number 81.

    #69. At 18:32pm 6th May 2011, alfred_son_of_ethelwulf wrote:

    Congratulation's to the SNP on your outstanding victory in the Scottish election. I urge you now to have your independence referendum at the earliest opportunity. Momentum is with you, and you should sieze the moment.

    You have a complete majority now, and there can be no excuses. No 'back sliding' please.

    Millions of disenfranchised English men and women are relying on you.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    So let's analyze this little comment.

    Millions of English are too what... lazy? wee? poor? stupid? to do it themselves and must whinge at the Scots to do it for them...

    Don't think much of yourself and your countrymen do you?

    I think you're underestimating yourselves. Stand up on your own two feet and fight for it yourself. You can do it! Give it a try. If the Scots did it, you can too. Get rid of that English cringe. It's not becoming.

  • Comment number 82.

    For all those saying that a vote for independence would lead them to leave the country, why wait?

    Why not save those proud to be Scottish the expense of providing you with free prescriptions, and all manner of other advantages over being 'down south' and go, go now?

  • Comment number 83.

    #73

    I think any attempt by Westminster to block Scottish independence if the majority of Scots voted for it would be very unwise. By the very virtue of the vote Westminster would have absolutely no authority to do such a thing.

  • Comment number 84.

    Well done to Salmond and the SNP! I welcome the chance for the Scots to have a crack at independence, but I doubt a referendum would say yes just yet.

    My main concern for an independent Scotland is that suffers from many of the same frailties as the Irish Republic, and the North Sea oil will only get you so far. Scotland desperately needs to rebalance it's economy away from being so reliant on the public sector, then it'd stand a good chance to stand on it's own two feet.

    I'm not sure Salmond is the man to do that, as his 'arc of prosperity' comment showed, but I wish him, the SNP, and Scotland the best, and I hope the rest of the UK takes note that we don't need to be beholden to the Labour/Tory axis if we don't choose to be.

  • Comment number 85.

    59. At 18:04pm 6th May 2011, colinjh wrote:

    We need the union, just as the union needs us.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Just saying this doesn't make it true. Why? I'm sure we would all like to know.

  • Comment number 86.

    On Thursday night a SNP earthquake was recorded in The Minch. The Tsunami that followed has struck the Western Isles and the mainland, stetching as far as Aberdeen and Edinburgh. It was so powerful, it even managed to flow up the Clyde and into Glasgow. It's a pure miracle that no one was physically injured along the way, but there have been reports of pride and humiliation damage to some. Millions of other people are to have said that, they actually feel cleansed and the rubbish has been washed out to sea.

    Well Done Alex.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hello to all Patriots from the Far East....

    Firstly - I am so proud of my countrymen/women for delivering this unbelievable result tonight..
    As Mr Salmond stated... The NATIONAL Party of Scotland... I really like the sound of that - and that should be the image that takes Scotland forward... classless... divisionless... nationally united..strong and hopeful for the future.

    My late father was one of the great Scottish engineers who worked to developed and produce Scotland's offshore resources in the early 70's.
    He sat me down as a teenager and lectured me a length of the decipt, mis-information and downright lies relating to the value of not only our nations inherent rights and wealth - but also of the undervaluing of Scotland's people to responsibly take charge of developing their resources and birthrights.

    I remember him being so outraged as to personally get in touch with Gordon Wilson in order to supply him with as much information as possible to advance the SNP's cause in demanding truth and transparencey in this regard.

    I can tell you all that the old man is resting so much more peacefully tonight as a result of this stunning victory..!
    He would have regarded today as the true rise of the Scottish nation in the modern era - to move forward and claim it's rightful destiny and place in the family of indigenous nations.

    Truly a momentous day...Truly an historic one... Grasp the nettle..take courage...
    GRAB THE PRIZE... NEVER LET IT GO..!!

  • Comment number 88.

    #63. "How exactly will a small nation of 5m people, peripheral to the mass demographic of Europe, pay for itself??? It can't be done on whisky exports alone..."

    -------------------------------

    Of course.

    Just look at what dire straits a small country such as Norway is in; Denmark is in; Finland is in; the Netherlands are in; Luxembourg is in; Switzerland is in...

    Obviously, small countries can't survive on their own...

  • Comment number 89.

    The SNP got about 23% of the total eligible electorate to vote for them. Big deal. The loser is democracy itself.

  • Comment number 90.

    Let's hope that the future vote on independence goes the way that we want, but I would have to say that if we get independence then we should take Berwick with us. I hope that Alex puts this on the table when he next meets the prime Minister. After all, Berwick is Scottish and the Tweed is the border; geologically the border is actually Hadrian's wall, but that is another story.

  • Comment number 91.

    The SNP deserved to win for having the best campaign and delivering a message, Labour are in a mess and for me, any government needs a strong opposition to keep it right and we are not going to have that, which ain't great.

  • Comment number 92.

    Forgot to add, when we talk of Independence, the immediate cost (first 10 years say) will be the cost of separation. New departments, computer systems, protocols etc.

    But that debate is for another day, i am gutted by the result but well done to those who must be in delirium tonight.

    i am off to the pub when i can still afford a pint....

  • Comment number 93.

    Shame to see some of the comments on here.
    However a stunning victory for the SNP and a very gracious speech by Salmond, measured and statesman like.
    How did it happen? I watched much of the coverage from about 5am this morning and basically there seemed to be two main camps, one the SNP ran a brilliant campaign backed by record and calibre of candidate, and the other was a very petty and spiteful nipping about it.
    The simplistic answer is that the LibDem vote collapsed and went to the SNP, simplistic and wrong. The LibDem vote did collapse and spread to all parties or none, even if the SNP did pick up a bigger share it reflects on teh other unionists parties inability to attract them. But the truth is there in the voters returns the SNP took votes from all parties and right across the country from North to South East to West, rural and urban. Why? because they deserved better policies, better candidates, better record, better vision.

  • Comment number 94.

    89. At 20:03pm 6th May 2011, shinyrobthegob wrote:

    "The SNP got about 23% of the total eligible electorate to vote for them."

    Have a link to that figure please or is it fag packet calculation?

  • Comment number 95.

    Congratulations to Fiona Hyslop for taking out Mary Mulligan - well done you!!

  • Comment number 96.

    If Scotland gains independance, does that mean that Labour will be more likely to lose in England? Is it true that the English subsidise free University education in Scotland? Do most English people hope that there will be an independent Scotland? How long before the oil runs out?

  • Comment number 97.

    Good result for SNP. They have been in power for 4 years and have increased their majority. They must have been doing something right. What was it? Perhaps the electorate actually listened, and /or agreed that they had done a good job? for them and voted accordingly. Memo to the other parties!!!!

  • Comment number 98.

    As a Communist I voted for the SNP, not a natural vote for a communist. I voted SNP for the following reasons:

    1. Alex Salmond rightly protested against the war against Iraq perpetrated by the Labour Government. Being against imperialist attacks on other nations is absolutely right. The Labour Party - including the Party in Scotland - supported the vile war, which killed 1,000,000 people. The people of Iraq are still dying and suffering.

    Alex and the SNP opposed this disgraceful foreign policy.

    2. Nuclear Weapons. The SNP has a policy of getting rid of Trident nuclear weapons from Scottish soil. Weapons of mass destruction have no place in the modrn world. The SNP policy is fully in tune with the wishes of the people of Scotland. In contrast to this - the Scottish Labour Party supports these evil weapons systems.

    3. The SNP opposes Conuncil Tax. The Council Tax is regressive and reactionary - with the poor paying a much higher proportion of their income to this tax than the rich. The SNP wants to replace the tax with a fairer tax - which is based on the ability to pay - with the rich paying their fair share. Again a progressive policy, that favours ordinary people, not the rich. To their shame, the Labour Party in Scotland wants to keep the Council Tax. A disgrace if ever there was one.

    4. Alcohol Policy - Alcohol has a major impact on the people of Scotland - I have 10-15 members of my extended family who have died or suffer from alcohol abuse. The scourge impacts on families across Scotland. Minimum pricing on alcohol units is a small step, but the right policy. Again, the Labour Party blocked this policy - despite it being supported by the Doctors, Nurses, Police and all sensible people. The Labour Party are in the pocket of the drinks industry.

    5. Tuition Fees - education should be free - based on ability to learn, not ability to pay - the SNP have the most progressive policy. Again, the Labour Party introduced fees and is in favour of charging.

    6. Prescription charges - abolished

    7. Forth Road Bridge - tolls abolished

    8. Council Tax freeze - protecting the poor, when budgets are under pressure.

    9. Seeking to stand up for Scotland against the right-wing CONDEM Government in England. I trust the SNP more than the Scottish Labour Party - who are implicated in the right-wing agenda south of the border.

    The Labour Party in Scotland - is too right-wing. The SNP are much more progressive and left of centre. The SNP has policies that should command the support of the working people of Scotland.

    People in Scotland suffered for 18 years under Thatcherism. We celebrated in 1997 when the Labour Party kicked the tories out. Finally rid of the right wingers. The New Labourites let us down and sold us down the river, with war in Iraq being the last straw. We have now no trust left for the Labour Party as they are still too right-wing.

    The people of Scotland have given our support to the SNP. We have given our trust.

    The SNP need to handle this trust with great care and not let us down.

    The dangers are:

    1. the tendency for the governing party to move to the right - to a pro-buisness, anti progressive agenda.

    2. taking the voters for granted.

    The people of Scotland are a canny lot - we are not stupid - Alex knows this - so he and the SNP needs to ensure that our support is rewarded in spades.

  • Comment number 99.

    "63. At 18:13pm 6th May 2011, Rational Viewpoint wrote: "

    There is no shortage of small circa 5+million countries in West and Nothern
    Europe that do well, even those you mention like Eire who have economic
    troubles now have still outperformed the UK and Scotland over the last 40
    years. So size is not a stop in itself, and nor is a small economy.

    As too being independant leading to;

    "Why would I leave?? Easy, should Scotland become independent its people will see taxes rise, services cut"

    Just have a look at what is planned in the Union, the Scotland Bill will ensure
    that taxes rise, and services cut is built into the deal.

    Sorry but what your selling is just a longer version 'too poor,
    too wee, too stupid'.

    And I disagree.

  • Comment number 100.

    The Brits have stole the oil for long enough, lets not wait 5 years to be unshackled from the shower...do it now whilst the iron burns hot

 

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