Friday, 7 November 2008

'No you can't' - nationalists suffer blow in Glenrothes

Given the damage that I believe Labour has visited upon the Union since 1997, I’d rarely be inclined to hail a victory for the party at the polls. Nevertheless, when a win is gained at the expense of Alex Salmond’s SNP, I count it as an exception.

Against expectations, Labour candidate Lindsay Roy delivered a resounding 6,737 majority over his SNP counterpart Peter Grant, whom nationalists had presented as the likely winner. Grant’s party leader had visited the constituency 12 times during the campaign, enforcing his personality cult upon proceedings, and the people of Glenrothes unequivocally rejected Scots' nationalism’s ‘Il Duce’.

John Harris writes at Comment is Free, explaining why he believes the result is less a popular endorsement of Labour than a rebuttal of SNP arrogance.

“Nail down your political pre-eminence on the prime minister's home turf? Transcend recent headlines about Donald Trump, not to mention the SNP's fulsome praise for Iceland's economic magic? Pull off a 14% swing? No, you can't.”


Nationalists’ novelty as a protest vote is beginning to dissipate. As the SNP becomes seen as ‘establishment’, it becomes a less alluring prospect for disillusioned voters. David Trimble’s observation that the SNP’s success represented less a commitment to Scotland’s independence and more an objection to Labour’s hegemony gains paradoxical credence from Roy’s win.

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