Friday, 4 May 2012
The reality of the disaster.
Listening to the local council election results on the BBC, STV, iPlayer and the rest one could be forgiven for believing there was an SNP wipeout akin to what transpired for the Liberal Democrats.
The council elections are about so much more than national parties and national issues, local personalities, effective local people, historical trends and local issues all factor into the placement of votes. When major issues such as national politics, media bias, slander by insinuation and austerity are factored into the mix of a transferrable vote system, what would ultimately happen was almost unidentifiable.
Labour did get their vote share to hold up on an increasingly small turnout, as did the SNP.
The SNP have surpassed the 400 councilor mark for the first time in their history, Labour again failed to do so.
Less than ten years ago Labour could boast of regularly achieving over 500 councilors in Scotland, riding the tails of an opposition crest that saw the party sweep much of England and Wales before it there seems to be little cause for celebration in Scotland. Had the results of the r-UK been repeated in Scotland the red rose could well have been back to its former glory days. These results never materialized.
The message for the Unionists, what they will perceive and take from this campaign is that personal attacks, repeated and incessant against prominent nationalists worked. This will become the modus operandi from now through the referendum.
In spite of an increase in seats for the SNP the Unionist focused media is spinning a simple message; it was a disaster for the Nationalists. The Nationalist juggernaut has hit the buffers. Salmond has been stopped. Even before the polls are fully counted these were the messages appearing.
This particular poll surely marked the first time that a conservative gleefully tweeted about a “Labour hold”.
The reality is that the fields are now set for the referendum and the ammunition issued. The Union will believe, in spite of the evidence, that its program of insinuation and defamation through inference was functional. The nationalists will see slower but steady gains.
The Union propaganda machine will have renewed faith in its ability; it will churn out as much negativism with renewed vigor as possible. It will save choice stories to utilise as “scoops” at opportune moments. The Nationalists will realise the truth is creating more converts. The combined Union vote share is slowly dwindling and that a Union vote is a Union vote i.e. The party is of no consequence.
Buoying the Nationalist outlook will also be the fact that the SNP put forward candidates in barely half the available seats, yet saw an electoral success rate of around 75%. This is far beyond what any individual Unionist party could ever hope to achieve. This level of success was also obtained knowing many Nationalists would be torn between party vote and that of a competent well respected incumbent - unionist or independent.
The SNP will not be unhappy that the Conservatives have seen further reductions in both their vote share and their representation at local level, that the Liberal Democrats have now been effectively marginalised simply brings the picture into sharper focus. It is now starting to be self evident to the average voter that the picture in Scotland is Nationalist/Unionist. SNP or Labour. The stage is set for 2014 with the Nationalist vote not only holding but increasing.
The demise of the Lib-Dem’s showed their vote splitting between Labour and the SNP. The Unionist vote is effectively diminished. This is not how the mainstream media will report the situation, but then with anything less than 90% of SNP candidates being elected they were never going to give a positive spin for the Nationalists anyway.
There is much to be grateful here for Alex Salmon’s party, they had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them in the way of negative propaganda, and still they returned more councilors. Consider also that they are the national governing party in a time of austerity and that’s not simply surprising, it’s an outstanding result.
Outstanding perhaps, but a stepping stone nonetheless. 2014 is the prize. This election showed that 2014 is winnable, especially with more London induced austerity to come, but it will not be a simple or easy win, and it was never going to be.
2014 will require every resource the Nationalist movement can bring to bear; it will require every nationalist engaging with two or three individuals who perhaps hold anything from a Union to an uncertain view on 2014. It will require every sincere Nationalist to get one or two of these people to the poll in 2014, for in spite of all the spurious or contentious local issues that were involved May 3rd 2012 told us something very clearly, something the mainstream media simply can’t highlight.
May 3rd 2012 told us that the overall trend continues that with each ongoing election in Scotland the Union finds itself diminished.