Scottish Election 2021: Half-time thoughts

It is only half-time in the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections, but already it is clear that we are in for another SNP government. There is a narrow route to an outright SNP majority, but it is not easy. Gains would be needed in Aberdeenshire West, Galloway & West Dumfries, and perhaps an additional seat on the Highlands list. The most likely outcome at the moment is a pro-independence majority between the SNP and Greens.

Alex Salmond’s Alba Party are looking set for a very disappointing result. The reaction of the blogging community, who Alba Party sought to mobilize during the election, certainly points anger at SNP voters and to low expectations. Salmond himself has effectively conceded, and their declared regional results in constituencies like Dundee West and Angus North and Mearns do not make for pleasant reading. It looks as though the Alba ceiling in the North East region will be about 9,000. Which would all but certainly fall short of getting Salmond into parliament. The additional worry for Alba is the vitriol that is about to come everyone who didn’t vote Alba’s way from the likes of Stuart Campbell of Wings over Scotland. He has already begun lashing out on Twitter at SNP candidates and voters. This causes a problem for Alba that will inevitably need addressed. They courted the bloggers like Wings, quite rightly and astutely. But in trying to cut through to mainstream voters, the divisiveness of some of the more extreme elements in the blogging community makes it difficult to disassociate Alba from the harder edged bloggers. It risks Alba looking too fringe and volatile.

The Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative constituency vote shares are all down a small amount. That will be most troubling to Anas Sarwar, who so far hasn’t seen a bounce in the results. He is currently pointing to the position of Labour in the polls at the start of the campaign as signs of progress in the early journey to turn Labour around. He has a point, but I sense a bit of deflation that the campaign good-feeling hasn’t translated into results so far.

For Douglas Ross, it is a little bit of a mixed picture. While the losing of constituency seats, including former MSP Ruth Davidson’s to the SNP is bad, the list will probably ease up some of the pain. The positive for Ross is that, so far while the vote is down slightly, it hasn’t sank like a stone and they look in the stronger position for second place.

The Lib Dems seem to be benefiting from the tactical Unionist vote in their constituency wins in North East Fife and Edinburgh West. As did Labour’s Jackie Baillie and Conservative’s Jackson Carlaw. The tactical constituency vote for Unionist incumbents looks pretty obvious here.

If I was to make a prediction now, I’d say SNP just short of a majority and the Conservatives in 2nd. I also would say that the SNP losing out on a majority makes a formal coalition with the Scottish Greens more likely. It would bolster the arithmetic in negotiating with Westminster for a second independence referendum. Even though Johnson will say no, and I expect it to go to the courts, a majority Scottish Government for independence makes strategic sense in the public debates to come.

All if this could change tomorrow. Hopefully we will get clarity on how independence will move forward. And fingers crossed for a Dundee United win the Scottish Cup semi-final tomorrow too!

Author: Grant McKenzie

Grant McKenzie is a freelance journalist, broadcaster and streamer. He is the founder of Cross/Rip. He works in radio and has written for Bella Caledonia, DC Thomson and Johnston Press in both news and sport. Grant has worked covering the SPFL, Solheim Cup and European Tour. He also streams regularly on Twitch talking about various issues including mental health. Grant is also a proud Dundonian studying a part time MA degree at the University of Dundee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner