It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Like so many people, I’m waking up from a few hours’ kip and trying to wrap my head around a result that feels bittersweet to say the least. Here’s some thoughts on my result and the Scottish Greens’ campaign, the seismic shift in Scotland and the outcome for the UK.
Edinburgh North and Leith
The first thing to say is THANK YOU! There have been so many incredible people who have put in hours upon hours of work to support me in Edinburgh North and Leith over the last few weeks, particularly everyone who came out and helped at the Green Tardis. You’re all wonderful. Special thanks to Nic, Brenna, Philippa, Alys, Frank, Rob, Benjamin and Kevin.
Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we managed to get more votes than ever before in this constituency, tripling the number of votes from last time. I set out in this campaign aiming to do three things; 1) do better than last time; 2) beat UKIP; and 3) build support for future elections. With everyone’s help, we’ve managed to do all three, as well as beating the Lib Dems (who came second last time) and saving the deposit with 5.4% of the vote.
A total of 3140 votes is also the biggest number of votes for any Green in Scotland – so when I say thank you to everyone who made it possible, I really do mean it!
Scottish Greens across the country
There will be a lot of pretty gutted folks across Scotland today, sad to see deposits lost and probably feeling rather hopeless in the face of such a wave of change. But despite how it feels, the Scottish Greens must be proud of what has been our biggest and best Westminster campaign yet. We’ve stood in places where folk have never had a chance to vote Green before and taken our message of an economy for the people and a society for all to more people than ever.
In our national target seat of Edinburgh East, Peter McColl increased the vote and kept the deposit despite being up against one of the SNP’s strongest campaigns anywhere in Scotland. And in Glasgow North, we kept the deposit and then some, with Martin Bartos hitting the 6% mark and building great support for next year.
To my fellow Greens, I think you’re all phenomenal and I couldn’t be more proud of the party and to all the blood sweat and tears that you’ve put in. Take heart at a campaign well run and let’s use this experience to become the electoral force Scotland needs us to be in 2016, 2017 and beyond.
On Scotland, pandas and a huge responsibility
There’s only one Labour MP in Scotland. Just let that sink in a second. One. Ian Murray is now just as rare a species as David Mundell who remains Scotland’s sole Tory MP and joins Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael as one of only three Scottish MPs who aren’t SNP. Let the panda jokes ensue.
The SNP played a blinder, running a strong campaign with amazing ground support and a great leader in Nicola Sturgeon. I know so many people who felt they had to lend the SNP their vote this time to teach Labour and the Lib Dems a lesson after the referendum and 5 years of coalition. But now the SNP have an enormous responsibility. They’ve been entrusted with people’s votes, many of whom put a cross in the box through gritted teeth. Now they must speak for all of us and that means working with all of us, particularly across the left.
Five more years of pain
Where to begin on a Tory government? Last night as the results trickled in, glee at seeing Labour behemoths losing their seats was countered immediately by the horror of another five years of pain. Across Scotland, all night election parties and counting halls were filled with people who are genuinely terrified of what this result means for them.
For the 99%, it’s bad news. For the most vulnerable, it’s just about the worst news imaginable. Sixty per cent of the cuts are yet to come, and that’s based on figures set out when the Lib Dems were still part of the government. Be under no illusions that the Tories will go further, harder and faster with their cuts and will delight at ripping up human rights and destroying the lives of the poor and already disenfranchised.
As Cat Boyd and Grahame Smith of the STUC said at last weekend’s May Day rally, we need to be prepared to resist this government – to make this country ungovernable. We all have a duty to stand with the most vulnerable in our society and bring the fight to the Tories.