Scotland’s local council elections went just as we had all expected. Unionism never increased while support for the pro-independence parties did, but the shift in the unionist vote to the Tories is all the BBC can talk about.
According to the spin from BBC Scotland Nicola Sturgeon should now be reflecting on the lesson her Scottish National Party has been taught from a “Tory surge” in Scotland. We have been told that the SNP have lost 7 councillors and that the dubiously victorious Conservatives have swept the board, picking up a staggering 164 extra seats as Labour collapsed across the country. Certainly, when the ever biased unionist state broadcaster puts it like this, we have to concede that the SNP were utterly and humiliatingly trounced in the Scottish local elections. There is, however, a fly in the ointment of the British propaganda.
Yes, the Tories did gain those 164 extra seats – giving the Conservative and Unionist Party 276 Scottish council seats, but when we factor in the loses sustained by the other unionist parties and ‘independents,’ and the changes to the electoral boundaries since 2012, it becomes clear that on the whole the unionists have lost rather than gained ground. In 2012 the SNP won a total of 425 seats and today won 431 – a difference between then and now the BBC count as a loss of 7 seats. I’m no genius, but we can be pretty sure that is a gain of 6 seats. Much the same can be said of the SNP share of first preference votes. In 2012 it won a 32.3 per cent share, and has now increased that to 35.4 percent – compared to the measly 22 per cent won by the Tories. Add to this the pro-independence support of the Greens and things for the independence movement are looking rather rosy.
So where did this “surge” for the Conservatives come from? Well, to begin with – as this blog said yesterday – this was not a vote for the Tories. This was the consolidation of unionism, and the numbers bear this out. Labour, now in actual freefall over the whole of the United Kingdom – lost a whopping 133 Scottish council seats, the Liberal Democrats lost 3, and independents are down 26 – bringing the total loses across the other unionist factions to 162 seats. The Tories gained 164 seats. Uncanny, isn’t it? What we see is a total unionist gain of 2 seats, an anomaly that has to be explained by the shifting of electoral boundaries – as the total pro-independence vote increased.
It turns out that there has indeed been a Tory surge in Scotland, with traditional Labour voters the length and breadth of Scotland more than delighted to trade in their socialist values to support the party of austerity and the rape clause in their vain hope of saving the Union. None of this is any skin off the National Party’s nose, and everyone in Scotland hoping for independence can take courage in this result. It was a win. With the general election next – in a first past the post voting system – things are looking set for another astounding victory for the SNP. Once we have that out of the way we can turn our attention to securing another independence referendum.
Local Elections 2017 Nicola on BBC News