A bit like the UK-wide result, but even more so, the result in Scotland was very static. In fact, in many ways, the outcome was totally predictable, and no seats changed hands.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any stories though. Indeed, it was historic because it is the first time the SNP have got the most votes in Scotland in a UK-wide election. And unlike the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary election, it wasn’t a narrow result either.
Indeed, the fact that Labour got the most votes in only three council areas underlines just how much Scotland has fallen out of love with Labour, something that seemed an impossibility just a few years ago. That bodes very well for the SNP in terms of future FPTP elections, which have always acted to keep SNP representation artificially low.
A couple of weeks ago I teased Jeff about recent opinion polls. In the rest of the UK — in a three-party system — Labour was well and truly in the doldrums, fighting for third in the high teens in opinion polls. But in Scotland’s four-party system, Labour were still a comfortable 2nd in the mid-20s.
In the end though, the SNP delivered a comprehensive drubbing to Labour in the European elections. The gap between the SNP and Labour is now over twice as large as the gap between Labour and the Conservatives. And that’s not as a result of how well the Conservatives are doing — their share of the vote went down.
While the UK-wide picture was largely about Labour losing votes and not much else, Scotland’s results were only partly about the Labour collapse. The SNP gained a lot more than Labour lost, so that can be seen as a sign that the Scottish voters are quite happy with the mid-term Scottish Government.
I’m tempted to suggest that the Lib Dems’ drop in support is partly due to the electorate’s perception of their performance in the Scottish Parliament. That would be me projecting my views on the entire electorate. I had gone off the Lib Dems a bit because of their poor performance in the Scottish Parliament, and it was only after investigating each of the parties that I realised they are probably the only party I could bring myself to vote for. If I hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have voted.
The Greens didn’t come close to getting a Scottish seat, which must be massively disappointing for them. A near miss might have been tolerable, but according to the d’Hondt calculator I used, Scotland would have needed nine seats if the Greens were to take one.
Ukip suffered a noticeable dip in an already low level of support. Mind you, last time they were snapping at the Greens’ heels. This year they were far behind. They remain sixth, but are increasingly irrelevant in Scotland.
Meanwhile the BNP gained, but to a quite distant 7th. The BNP had just 2.5% of the vote, compared to a 6.2% share UK-wide. They were 9th in Scotland in 2004, so they have made a bit of a stride in Scotland. But they only gained around 8,000 extra votes. Much of the BNP’s advance can be attributed to the collapse of the SSP and the disappearance of Operation Christian Vote (which entered as part of the Christian People’s Alliance — a move that didn’t do them much good).
Scotland’s socialist titans continue their journey to obscurity. The SSP scraped together just 10,000 votes — six times fewer than the number of votes they got in 2004. Even the Socialist Labour Party, Arthur Scargill’s vanity project, got over twice as many votes as the SSP. The Socialist Labour Party didn’t even bother to enter the last European election. By beating the SSP so comfortably, they have certainly shown just how irrelevant the SSP have become. Those heady days when the SSP had six MSPs feels like so long ago now.
Tommy Sheridan threw his lot in with No2EU, which got even fewer votes. In fact, No2EU got even fewer votes than mystery man Duncan Robertson. That is no mean feat considering I had a struggle finding out anything about Mr Robertson at all prior to the election.
Right at the bottom of the heap was Jury Team, a candidate with which I sympathised a bit. Perhaps it goes to show that, despite the current crisis of confidence in mainstream politics, people still like the principle of party politics rather than taking a risk on an independent candidate.