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Well. That was. .. interesting.
I managed to tear myself away from the election coverage at 5 this morning. I had munched my popcorn up and Labour provided the entertainment  (well, and Brian Wilson with his technology rage) but I could bare no more smug Tory faces.
I usually count myself as lucky that I live in luscious Galloway, but I was cursing it as I closed my eyes. Finlay will be a happy bunny with an even bigger grin than normal today, even though it was awfy close in the end. You’d think too that living in the heart of Buccleuch land, the Greens could have got stuck in some, but alas no.
Sitting at work and squinting through eyes that feel like they been replaced by smoldering coals, I’ve had time to mull it over. I spoke to one of my library regulars this morning who is a staunch Labour voter and a huge admirer of the Benn/Corbyn mould of the party. He told me he’d voted Tory, I asked him how he could stomach it. He said he almost couldn’t and wouldn’t have if Nicola hadn’t made mention of a second referendum in the Leaders debate last week.  Leaving aside all the obvious points about how that came about and whether it should even matter at this point in time, what really struck me was how well what he said chimed with my gut feelings as last night unfolded.
The Tories talked a lot of talk about Ruthie and what a marvel she is, Labour spit a lot of bile about Corbyn and lessons needing learning and the lib dems some kind of fantasies of resurgence unconnected with the rest of us. It’s a shame they are all so wrong. 
The truth is Labour, through no fault of Jeremy Corbyn’s, have made themselves unelectable in Scotland.  Too many leaders, too much ‘carping’ (tm Kez), too much attention given to making the SNP seem unelectable and too little engagement with their own problems. It’s like the Labour Hame is falling down around their ears so they change Painter/Decorators because they don’t feel the last one dressed up their ruins enough. This has become so chronic nobody wants to trust them with the job of saving the Union anymore. By contrast, wee Ruthie has survived almost a full term as leader, created stability in the Tory Ship and gone about Scotland with a simple, clear message. It doesn’t matter how disingenuous that is, what matters is it’s not the chaos of Labour. 
The Tories are also quite wrong in their assessment of their victories. It’s neither an endorsement of Wrangler Ruth and her buffalo riding antics, nor is it some kind of weird vote of confidence in the Westminster Cabal. It’s a ‘tactical’ descision, as my Labour acquaintance put it, to prevent another referendum. 
The up side of this for us wicked separatist types is that Ruth has to straddle a very fickle horse that doesn’t really like Tories as much as they like the Union. She’ll have to dilute the Tory message to keep them behind her as she tries to be the Strong Opposition she promised, and I don’t think that is going to be possible for the whole of the next four years.
There is still a comfortable majority for Independence sitting in Holyrood, and the next four years are going to involve painful contortions for the Unionists while Nicola learns how to compromise with Patrick and his wee group to get stuff done. It should be quite interesting.

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