I have mixed feelings about this result, especially as the poor choice locally led me to defect from my usual allegiance and cast my vote for the SNP candidate, Alasdair Allan the sitting MSP. It’s pretty clear from the result here that I wasn’t alone in doing so. Alasdair Allan has opened up a significant lead over Labour with a majority of 4,772. A +15.8% swing which is even larger than the national swing of +12.5% in favour of the SNP. There must be an awful lot of disaffected Labour and LibDem voters out there.
For my part, I’ll admit that on balance I’m one of the disaffected Labour voters. I say “on balance” because although ideologically I’ve always been Labour, I started to drift towards the LibDems at the last General Election. In fact, I drifted so much towards the LibDems that I went and voted for them – we all know how well that worked out.
After that disappointment, I started from a place where I had no idea who to vote for when the Scottish elections rolled around. A few years ago it would have been easy – I would just revert to type and vote Labour. Of course, life never is that easy.
When I started to look into the candidate choices, it became clear that the local Labour candidate has strict religious views – as evidenced by a series of Hebrides News hustings posts, which I found my way to via Iain Maciver’s blog post entitled Which local candidates have vile views. Given my atheism and, ahem, distaste for religion I could not bring myself to vote for a candidate who might be inclined to allow personal religious belief to colour his political activities. That left me with the Scottish Tory candidate – argh! ideological anathema! – the LibDem guy (not making that mistake again), or the sitting SNP bloke.
Much humming and hawing followed, before my eventual decision to settle for the better-the-devil-you-know option and vote SNP. Despite Alasdair Allan’s less than clear stance on issues such as opening the Sports Centre on a Sunday.
And now, as I conclude this post, it is being reported that the UK has voted No in the AV referendum – which I see as bad news because I believe the current system is unrepresentative and anachronistic. But it suddenly makes me feel better about my decision to vote SNP (I also voted Yes to AV btw) because I can now see another referendum on the horizon.
Alex Salmond will almost certainly use his new majority to push for a referendum on Scottish Independence. I’m a long way from being convinced that Scotland is ready to go it alone but I am now so disillusioned with the political mess the UK has become that independence may be the only way forward.