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Duly elected

Brian Taylor | 03:11 UK time, Friday, 25 July 2008

Many congratulations to John Mason, duly elected to serve as the Honourable Member for Glasgow East in Her Majesty's House of Commons, not currently assembled.

Mr Mason, in case it had escaped your notice, belongs to the SNP and is a forceful advocate of independence.

Consequences? Conclusions? For the SNP, a stunning victory: up there with Hamilton and the two Govans.

Remember too that those earlier successes were recorded by charismatic, leading figures in the Nationalist movement.

That is not to decry Mr Mason's achievement. Quite the reverse. He faced a tough Labour opponent, a huge challenge - and he has won.

Helped, of course, by a powerful party machine which now frequently outguns Labour.

For Labour? An appalling result in a constituency they have held in various guises virtually since their party came into existence.

Tough fight

As I said earlier, I think they will blunder if they lump the blame solely on the PM. Yes, the folk in the east end may be less than impressed with Mr Brown - but they don't appear to think much of the rest of Labour either.

Will it, nevertheless, add to the pressure on Gordon Brown? Of course. Frankly, though, I don't expect him to stand down any time soon.

He already knew he faced a tough fight. It will, however, increase the trepidation around him.

Other thoughts. The Tories will be pleased to have moved into third place - although still at a lowly level.

Cameron factor? Don't think so. Not in the East End. Feisty candidate, perhaps. Plus folk seem to warm to Annabel Goldie.

For the Lib Dems, a poor night, slipping back into fourth place. Tells them what they knew: that they have to step up a gear.

Any message for independence? Not directly, I would suggest. People seemed more immediately concerned with food prices, fuel costs and the like: turning their anger on Labour.

Put off

However, at the very least, they were not deterred from voting SNP by Labour's reminders of the candidate's fundamental objectives.

Independence didn't seem to scare them as it might have done in the past. Doesn't mean they vote for it in a referendum - but might mean they aren't fundamentally opposed.

Further, they were not put off by a year or more of SNP government in Scotland. Quite the reverse. They are prepared to listen to - and vote for - an SNP offer.

That could be highly significant in the longer run, particularly if Labour continues to struggle.

For now, though, congratulations to the winner. And that is John Mason. Of the Scottish National Party.


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