There will be an independence referendum. Naysayers and legal boffins may claim that such considerations are outside the scope of the Scottish Parliament but I remain of the belief that where there is a will there is a way and anyone standing in the way of an SNP majority getting the referendum that it was in its manifesto will be knocked out of the way sooner or later. The referendum will apparently be during the second half of this parliamentary term but youâ€™ll no doubt start to feel the gathering storm over the next few days as Cameron, Clegg and Miliband realise the enormity of what is ahead of them to convince Scotland to stay a part of the union. Forget current polls, as we should have done for much of this past four years, the independence bandwagon is coming to town and itâ€™s going to be one hell of a ride.
Labour needs a new leader. For whatever reason, Iain Gray messed this election big time and cannot be rewarded with continuing in his post. In truth, his election victory speech did not sound like a man who was looking forward to challenging Salmond for another five years so a replacement wonâ€™t have to â€˜oustâ€™ the current incumbent. Jackie Baillie? Ken McIntosh? John Park? Hugh Henry? Sarah Boyack? The gubbing that Labour has faced does not leave them short of candidates for the job. Iâ€™d be happy with anyone but Ms Baillie in the post from the above arbitrary shortlist and Iâ€™d be confident that theyâ€™d succeed where Iain Gray failed, realising that they donâ€™t have to be angry, indignant and negative to win elections in Scotland.
The Tories have steadied the ship, finally. Given the context of this election, the beginning of cuts that are emanating from a Tory-led coalition, Annabel Goldie has steered her party to a decent result that sets them up well for 2016. Osborneâ€™s plan, for all that lefties including myself donâ€™t like it, is working and by the time the next election comes around the Tories may enjoy a swell in support so great that it even crosses the border. With strong 2nd place and 3rd place showings this year, the Conservatives, whoever leads them, have put themselves in position to be a real force in domestic Scottish politics for the first time in decades.
The Greens are stuck in the mud. Iâ€™m aghast that the Greens have fared so badly, not even moving on from the 2 MSPs that they currently have if my predictions are correct. The party ran a slick campaign, they had an alternative, convincing manifesto, they had students seemingly onside and their main rivals, the Lib Dems, went into freefall. The election was in the end about SNP vs Labour so there simply wasnâ€™t enough people really considering voting for what sadly remains Scotlandâ€™s fifth party. At least they have improved their gender balance.
The Lib Dems have a mountain to climb. The number of lost deposits that the Lib Dems suffered was a financial blow but it is the psychological and practical impact that will hurt the most. How do they go about winning seats from 4th in 2016? How do they retake Edinburgh Southern from 3rd? At the root of their problems is Westminster of course. How can the Lib Dems build the trust of the Scottish people while partaking in a coalition with the Tories? Itâ€™s quite simple, if you agree with Cameronâ€™s approach you vote Tory, if you donâ€™t then you vote Labour or SNP.
A Green/Lib Dem merger? There is probably a strong argument for the Greens and Lib Dems to merge as they cannot continue to splinter their vote as they have done in this election. With such a similar platform, they are really no different to the Socialists who canâ€™t get it together and stand as a united front. The Greens were quite right to be annoyed that Lib Dems were claiming to be the only party standing on a platform of local policing but, in truth, they should have been supporting them rather than attacking them. A political joint venture or merger rather than acquisition could be pragmatic politics for two parties that believe in localism and are taking arguably the strongest stances on the fight against Climate Change. Are their shared issues too important to be divided over? I make it that between them theyâ€™d have an extra 4 MSPs in total if they had stood on a shared platform. Worth thinking aboutâ€¦.
Politicians who chart their own path get rewarded at the ballot box. Malcolm Chisholm stood up for his beliefs over minimum pricing and is the last MSP standing in Edinburgh while Alex Fergusson has been his own man as Presiding Officer and bucked the otherwise overwhelming and unforgiving SNP swing. If a lesson can be learned from this past four years where MSPs loyally followed the party whip it is this â€“ be your own person.
Scotlandâ€™s renewables revolution will continue. One of the reasons the Greens did so badly is arguably because the SNP manifesto was so, well, green. 100% renewable electrical power by 2020 is an awesome aim and regardless of how difficult or even achievable it will be, it is difficult for the Greens to exceed such an aim. Itâ€™s sad that Patrick Harvie does not lead a bigger bloc of MSPs but Scotlandâ€™s green credentials are, to a large extent, well and truly on track.
Parties trump personalities. The accuracy with which it was possible to predict which seats the SNP were and were not going to win suggests one thing, across Scotland people generally vote for parties and not individuals which is hugely disappointing. The conveyor belt from politics graduate through parliamentary researcher to Holyrood MSP is working nicely as the dull automation of Scottish Politics continues. Who are these regional MSPs that are standing in the Parliament? What public scrutiny have they come under? We at least need to move to open lists to prevent parties holding too much control over the makeup of our Parliament.
Alex Salmond is already a living legend. Todayâ€™s result and the sheer longevity of the man will cement the SNP leaderâ€™s position not just in modern history but beyond that. Even if the SNP do not go onto win the referendum, Salmond is now up with the greatest Scottish politicians, the greatest Scots, that have ever been. He has now outlasted Thatcher, Blair and Ashdown will surely go on to be the longest serving modern-day UK leader of any party. With a Holyrood majority as a legacy, at least. Simply wow.