#SP16 Report: More reflections from Riddoch, Williamson & MacDonald
The last of the short reflections on the election, from three people who refused to go to bed, but have all now retired.
Lesley Riddoch, journalist, campaigner and author of Blossom author contemplates Schadenfreude
Can it be a good thing that the Tories have overtaken Labour as the main opposition in Scottish politics? Putting all Schadenfreude aside – and actually I feel no sense of triumph witnessing Labour’s death-throes – the advent of a muscular Tory party may be good news in all sorts of ways.
Firstly, it acknowledges that the constitutional issue is now the primary fault-line in Scottish politics. For unionists the Tories are seen as more combative than Scottish Labour in standing up to the independence “threat”. Fine. As Oscare Wilde once said, it’s better to be talked about than not talked about. And with Labour as the “go to” opposition party, Scotland’s constitutional position wasn’t getting a look-in. At least now we have two feisty female leaders who aren’t walking on eggshells when they discuss independence v the Union.
Secondly, it has purged many Tartan Tories from the SNP – a right-wing presence that’s held the Scottish Government back from enacting vital reforms in land ownership, council size and funding and taxation policy. If the SNP is still feart, it will be hard-pressed to blame the need to appease its monster-sized, unwieldy rainbow alliance. On May 6th the spectrum of SNP support just got usefully smaller.
Thirdly, UKIP won nothing in Scotland despite (or perhaps because of) David Coburn’s participation in every televised leaders’ debate. The Scottish Tories are as right wing as Scots to prepared to go. That’s not a bad discovery.
As a result of the SNP’s failure to form a majority government – mostly due to the Tories success — Scottish politics will become more cooperative, will remain distinctive within Britain and will be alive with contradiction and possibility. A bit like the weather. And today that feels pretty good too.
Kevin Williamson, Co-founder of Bella
Congratulation to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP for winning a third term in office. But the SNP need to look seriously at why they lost 400,000 voters since last May. Steady as you go inspires no one.
When you cut through all the hype around Tory gains – who still have no access to power at Holyrood – the main story of the night is the Scottish Greens having the balance of power. I’m especially delighted for Andy Wightman, who needs to be involved in framing tougher legislation on land reform. The next 5 years are crucial for the Greens. They need to focus on key strategic objectives that can be delivered in conjunction with the SNP and not be diverted by oppositional grandstanding.
RISE need to lick their wounds, re-think, and be honest about last night. But overall Holyrood is interesting again and last night was a victory for both the YES movement and progressive/radical politics.
Rona McDonald, Bella Editor
My first text this morning was from my 19 year old daughter who is studying at Edinburgh Uni. “I’ve got Ruth Davidson as my constituency MSP mam.” There were no expletives but the use of the word mam was telling enough. At her age it’s a word which is rarely used now and only when something is seriously wrong.
Rewind a few years. During the indyref the biggest impact on our family was the brilliant policy allowing 16-17 year olds to vote. The kids rocked. They knew the issues and talked about it in school, sometimes even enlightening us old fogies.
I was chuffed not only because my oldest was voting YES, but she was really getting involved and doing stuff she’d never done before like TV interviews and radio debates, she’d got the bug bad. Inevitable devastation followed for her on 19/09/14 and she became disengaged because she realised, with her first foray into this arena, despite her efforts she couldn’t make the difference that she’d hoped.
This political melancholy has been with her since then and yesterday I found myself trying to persuade her not to give her two votes to Green, despite her being a fully paid up member of SNP. Rightly she’d not listen. Meanwhile my other daughter (aged 16) was voting for first time and she was giving her vote SNP and Green. [To top it off on the way to the poling station my 13 year old was provoking me with “if I was voting it would be for Labour” which was funny as she thought that was more insulting to me than the Tories.] Infuriatingly I had no influence!
The irony is I remember in 2014 bleating on about how folk were not voting like their parents, as had traditionally been the case and we had to let the next generation make their own minds up and push through – it’s okay when it other folks kids eh?
On reflection, it was a good result for us and I’m happy because Green and SNP will offer more radical reform and my kids are seeing their own choices materialise, but mostly I’m happy because in response to the aforementioned text this morning I asked the 19 year old what is she going to do about Ruth “I’m going to get involved again mam” she said.