If you believe, like I do, that politics is a blood sport then last night was Olympian. It’s the equivalent of Pacquiao and Mayweather for one fight only, being allowed to ingest every form of performance enhancing drug known to man and snort up the world’s finest coke provided and permitted from the ref and their corner in between rounds.
As soon as that exit poll was announced, I knew it was going to be cinematic. You sensed it was going to be high octane, almost like a Tarantino movie, full of high drama, becoming so shocking it becomes funny. Politics at its best is about public service, serving the people who elect you. At its worst it’s about duplicity, ambition and ruthlessness.
I don’t take any great joy in seeing people lose their job. However its made easier when its someone with no humility. The one moment which encapsulated the whole evening in terms of shock and irony was the moment Labour’s election campaign chief Douglas Alexander was slapped by a 20 year- old SNP rookie and student Mhari Black. When the man in charge of your campaign is thrown out, you know it’s going to be one of those nights.
I wasn’t upset when Ed Balls who has arrogantly bullied his way through British politics for years, was ousted and there was a degree of satisfaction in seeing him put to the sword. When Vince Cable went, despite liking him at first I was really disappointed in how easily he seemed seduced by his position and how he sold off The Royal Mail so cheaply.
Anyone with Labour truly in their heart should see this as a new start, the deadwood has gone, time for a long term plan, to restructure, only then will the electorate come back. The definition of the word politics, from the Greek meaning “of, for, or relating to citizens” is the practice and theory of influencing other people. The SNP didn’t lose it for Labour, they lost it because they chose Ed instead of David Miliband and because they failed to influence and convince the electorate.
The Labour vote has slowly eroded in Scotland over some time while the SNP has gone from strength to strength. The SNP wiped them out because they delivered on what the electorate wanted. They have also brought in loads of new blood, new candidates, from different walks of life. It required a leap of confidence and even as late as 11am there was still nervousness, no one truly knew that the night would unfold so spectacularly.
Fair play to both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg for stepping down as party leaders with a bit of dignity.
As for Westminster, the UK wide discussion has moved to how the 56 SNP MPs will be viewed through the prism of the English media. I’d say just continue to be professional, keep the head down and work hard. Just look upon those who try to judge as those people you meet in life and try as hard as you can, they just don’t like you. They never will. Their mind is made up about you. The skill is to accept that quite quickly and just do your own thing. Serve the people.
Yes we will have to endure more of Cameron’s smugness and condescension, I can’t stand the man. Even his slimy little spindly fingers annoy me as much as his politics. His party’s fixation with hurting those worse off and his cruelty to the weak is unforgivable. However, with a strong Scottish voice they will be effectively challenged with 56 capable, modern and professional voices. The fact Angus Robertson will now have handers from Alex Salmond will at least make Westminster fun for the next five years.
Here’s a reminder, for comparison of what I wrote and predicted via the bookies index blog from earlier this week…For the article in full, see here…
If the BBI (Bollen Bookie Index) pans out, we will have these results:
Lib Dems 1
Lib Dem 1
Not too bad. We even correctly called Orkney and Shetland to the Lib Dems and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweedale to the Tories. Who needs Lord Ashcroft?