‘The Scottish Parliament elections 2011 results are in and it’s clear that the SNP has won a historic majority at Holyrood.
The dramatic result will allow its leader, Alex Salmond, to hold a historic referendum on independence for Scotland. After a series of astonishing victories over Labour and a collapse in the Lib Dem vote, the SNP leader saw a landslide for his party that took it beyond the magic 65 seat mark.’
The Scottish Election
The SNP’s support was clear throughout the campaign, but for me, this is an unexpected landslide. I have always considered the SNP to be a single issue party: in my mind, a vote for the SNP was a vote for Scottish Independence. The support for independence is only around 30-40%, so where has this landslide come from? Predictably people turn to the Lib-Dems. Their coalition politics has seen the collapse of their Scottish popularity, and they lost 12 seats. The SNP however gained 23. 11 unaccounted seats. The Labour Party lost 9 seats, possibly due to the continued disillusionment they face for the last Westminster government. Possibly unfair, but a separate issue. However, I don’t think the swing from Lib&Lab is what is significant here.
Changing attitudes towards the SNP
The SNP seem to have proved themselves in their last term as a minority government. People don’t feel the same as they did 5 years ago, the SNP perhaps aren’t as much of a single issue party as once believed. They seem to have run the country fairly effectively, without an over the top focus on independence. That was before, though.
The new mandate
If that was the cause for their victory, the SNP have interpreted it quite differently. For them, it seems like a mandate for a push towards independence. The referendum has already got the first sign of a breeze in its sails. The question is coming, yes or no to independence?