The First Minister had asked for a personal mandate in what has been a blatantly presidential SNP campaign.
Instead of the trouncing of all comers she had hoped for and was widely expected, her party looks like finishing short of an overall majority; with the First Minister leading a minority or coalition administration and having no choice but to drop the dreadfully damaging Named Person excursion.
This is a massive jolt to the SNP’s sense of its invincibility – and, frankly, to its arrogance.
While the SNP cleared Labour out of Glasgow, taking all nine of the city’s seats, it lost constituency seats to the Scottish Conservatives and to the Liberal Democrats,
The Scottish Conservatives were the story of the night – substantially improving their vote across the board, seeing their leader, Ruth Davidson, take the constituency seat of Edinburgh Central from the SNP and predicted to finish with a record 31 seats, in second place as the formal opposition.
The Liberal Democrats are clearly in revival mode. laying down a new robustness in short order at the start of the night – retaining both their Orkney and Shetland seats with substantial increases in their vote and massively disappointing the transparent SNP expectations of both seats. They went on to see their leader, Willie Rennie take the constituency seat of NE Fife and a colleague take an Edinburgh. constituency seat. They finished on the status quo – with 5 seats .
It was, as predicted, a bad night for Scottish Labour who paid the price of flip-flopping on indy and just about everything else. They lost 13 seats, their foothold in their former stronghold of Glasgow and saw Kezia Dugdale the sole major party leader not to win a constituency sea – and they have indeed been roundly overtaken by the Scottish Conservatives who have 31 seats to Labour’s 24.
The Scottish Greens took 6 seats pushing the Liberal Deocrats into fifth place on 5 seats.
Parliamentary committees at Holyrood will no longer be able to be the frightful SNP patsy affairs they shamefully have been.
The massive error of Named Person state guardianship is dead in the water. And a second indyef will not be attempted in this term.
Scottish politics suddenly got really interesting.
Note: The details of the night’s development are in our Election Night Live piece here.