Helping the SNP
So Alex's deputy is elected as well... Nicola Sturgeon was a very prominent face in the SNP's campaign - Alex Salmond didn't want to present himself alone. They appeared together at the manifesto launches, etc etc. She was a member of the Scottish Parliament before, but only via the proportional representation side of things - the list, as we call it - not directly elected.
What's helping the SNP achieve such success is the absence of the Scottish Socialists. They used to stand in both the constituency section and the list section. They took a decision to stand only on the latter this time. Many of the SSP's supporters are to the left of the Labour party, disaffected with them for one reason or another. And a very high proportion of those people are obviously giving their votes to the SNP.
If the SNP can carry on winning constituency seats, AND do well on the list, then this will get very interesting...
It's patchy though. Her good result is matched by a disappointing one in Galloway.