I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Scottish Review

So what does today's "off the scale" result in Glasgow East actually mean?

For Labour, there's not much of a debate. It's a disaster, totally unmitigated. There can be no positive spin on it. Is it the death knell of Gordon Brown? Could be, but it will be a very long knell - he's going nowhere until 2010. Although battered and bruised at the moment, Labour aren't stupid. They know that there is no chance in hell that the voters would accept a third Prime Minister in one term. having one "un-elected" Premier hurt them, having another one would be suicide. There's also the fact of course that no-one can think of a credible alternative to Brown.

Which leaves Labour in a bit of a limbo. Brown will plod along until the autumn, the try and regain the initiative in the Autumn. Barring some miracle he'll fight an election as late as possible (2010) and lose. Prime Minister Cameron it will be.

The harder question is what does the result mean for the Union? Most of the newspapers and media have gone out of their way to stress that this was not a vote on independence and in that they are correct. This was a fight on the economy and on governments' records.

What I find harder to agree with however is that this was just another by-election shock, only newsworthy because of the size of the old majority. This election was not a run of the mill by-election. This cannot be explained away as a mid-term protest against the government. For the first time ever in UK politics this was an election not between government and opposition, but between government and government.

By voting for the SNP the people of Glasgow weren't telling Labour they'd rather have SNP running the show in London, they were telling the London government that at the moment they preferred the Scottish government. This ws not merely a protest vote against the UK government, it was also a confidence vote in Holyrood's government. And that's why this election, although not fought on constitutional matters, does have some real significance to that debate.

In a way it is a clear indication to the SNP that their decision to hold off an independence referendum until they'd served a (nearly) full term is vindicated. Any debate/argument/campaign between the SNP and Labour are no longer seen as a Scottish spat, it's seen as Scotland vs London. With every such conflicts, 2010 seems set to be more and more unsettling for the Union.

Self-deluder of the day is Tory Underground who believes that by winning by only 365 votes "the results were bad for the SNP"!

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