Hey there, since I apparently don't value sleep anywhere near enough, I thought I'd do a liveblog of the Scottish Elections as the results come in.
Let's get it rolling shall we?
23:25 - Anyone looking for some background could do worse than to check out the piece I'd did for the Slacktiverse a few weeks ago. Devolved Theocracy
mostly focuses on the fringe Scottish Christian Party, but it does feature a general introduction to the Scottish Parliament and this election.
23:30 - I should also note that in the UK tonight there are also local elections in England, elections for the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies and a referendum on the AV voting system for the Westminster (national) parliament.
23:31 - And in the interest of full disclosure, I voted a straight SNP ticket (although I shall be voting against independence, if/when they get their referendum) and voted "Yes" to AV.
23:35 - As another point of order, it's also worth noting that the first results aren't expected until 2:00am. I'm sure I'll find plenty to snark about until then though. Thanks BBC election coverage!
23:37 - Both The Herald
and The Daily Record
are predicting a second SNP term of government. Apparently the Record are just going to ignore all their scaremongering from this morning.
23:44 - The Sun
also predict an SNP second term. I have to say that one of the few times I questioned my vote in this election was when I heard that they were backing the Nationalists. I'm never comfortable being on the same side as Murdoch, although this appears to be more his desire to only back winners rather than an ideological shift from Salmond and co.
23:48 - Yay! BBC election coverage is back on TV! Something to talk about.
23:49 - Did Brian Taylor just say it was "jacking off time"?
23:49 - Actually, I think it was "jacket off". That makes more sense.
23:53 - A Daily Mail
poll put the SNP vote above 50% in both ballots. That would be quite the achievement if it happens, but it IS the Mail
23:57 - Can we all just ignore George Galloway unless he actually gets a seat? Looking at you, BBC.
00:00 - New reports suggest that we might actually get a few constituency results before 01:00.
00:02 - Current thinking is that the SNP might take all of the constituency seats here in Aberdeen. Good omens there if they can pull it off.
00:07 - The votes in the AV referendum won't be counted until 4pm tomorrow, so don't expect too much about that tonight, I'm afraid.
00:11 - Why are Labour and the Tories so opposed to letting the SNP have their independence referendum? Losing that (which they almost certainly would) would be one hell of a kick to the Scottish National Party, yet no one is willing to go for it. Most odd.
00:17 - What did I say about George Galloway? :(
00:29 - A lot of positive chatter with regards to the SNP so far. Not sure how far this will translate into actual seats.
00:37 - Signs so far suggest that turn-out is down compared to the 2007 election. That really does surprise me, especially with the referendum to vote on as well.
00:43 - I've switched from watching the live coverage on BBC One Scotland to listening to the coverage on BBC Radio Scotland in the hope of having less people TALKING OVER EACH OTHER.
00:48 - First declaration of the night for the Rutherglen constituency... eventually. Apparently it's taking a while to get the candidates onto the stage.
00:50 - Moving to the radio coverage was a definite plus. Who thought that live election coverage could actually be funny
00:53 - So I should probably give you the link. Not sure if this is UK only, but hopefully not - BBC Radio Scotland
00:54 - And we're finally getting the declaration for Rutherglen: James Kelly wins it for Labour.
00:56 - Even though Labour held the seat, that was a 7.4% swing to the SNP, while the Lib Dems crashed. More or less in line with the predicted national trends.
01:06 - Interesting little debate on the radio just now between two SNP voters - one who supports independence and another who (like me) voted for them to have a strong Scottish voice opposing the destructive policies from Westminster and forging a different path for Scotland.
01:10 - Colin Fox, co-leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, has said that he does not expect to win a seat in this election. At this point, the SSP are a spent force without the charismatic (and perjurous) Tommy Sheridan.
01:12 - The Slacktiverse
was kind enough to link this blog on their latest post. They are definitely worth checking out!
01:15 - East Kilbride is declaring now. Linda Fabiani takes the seat for the SNP from Andy Kerr, the former Labour health minister and current Labour finance spokesperson, and the Nationalist's first major scalp of the night.
01:18 - For the statistics fans, that result was a 6.6% swing from Labour to the SNP. If this is the pattern across the country, the SNP are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
01:21 - The Labour narrative at this point is that the SNP's gains have been from the Lib Dems and that their voting share is holding up. That may be true, but that only matters if the regional list votes give Labour a LOT of seats.
01:32 - Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse declaration now. Christina McKelvie make another gain for the SNP from Labour. She is clearly very moved by the victory, and well she should be, as the swing to the SNP was 11%, and they are the only party to increase their share of the vote in the constituency.
01:38 - The Liberal Democrats have been crushed again in Hamilton. The Coalition in Westminster is clearly hurting them, and if the AV referendum does not go their way - as polls suggest it won't - I suspect that they will have to seriously re-assess their position. To take a brief detour to UK wide politics, Nick Clegg has completely misjudged his party's base, who are significantly to the left of him and the way that appears to have embraced the Conservatives' policies in London are hurting him and his party very severely.
01:49 - The Labour talking head think Alex Salmond doesn't really want a referendum on independence, as as loss would be very damaging to the party, She's right (at least on the damage as loss would bring), but her party refuses to call the SNP's bluff. If they keep this up in the next Parliament, Labour could be in dire straits come 2016.
01:55 - Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader, has admitted that his seat is in trouble. That's quite the admission, and another fantastic sign for the SNP.
01:59 - I will say that despite her Dickensian Villain manifesto, Annabel Goldie comes across very well on the radio. Quite frankly, she deserves better than just leading the Scottish Tories, who simply have no chance of achieving power.
02:03 - Are there Conservative politicians anywhere in the world that don't feel the need to kick the poor? Struan Stevenson is currently on Radio Scotland suggesting that those in Scotland who don't pay (income) tax are inclined to vote SNP or Labour as they have been "promised the Kingdom of Heaven" and are essentially too stupid to understand that it isn't achievable. Can't imagine why people in that situation wouldn't want to vote for a condescending git like you Struan...
02:10 - Clydesdale declaration now. Aileen Campbell takes another seat from Labour to the SNP with an 8.9% swing. The SNP are playing a blinder early. For those looking for election trivia, there was no Lib Dem candidate running here as their papers were filed too late.
02:21 - Nicola Sturgeon is doing her best to dance around the issue of a referendum on independence. Struan Stevenson, however, is now pushing conspiracy theories about the SNP. Someone get him off my radio, please.
02:28 - Is Iain Gray actually incapable of expressing emotion? You'd think he'd have some kind of response to the utter humping his party has taken so far.
02:33 - STV are currently predicting 59
constituency seats for the SNP based on current trends. Labour on 10, with the Tories and Conservatives on 2 each. Beyond a landslide if that happens.
02:38 - That should be "Tories and Lib Dems on 2 each" above. Oops.
02:43 - Current reports suggest that we'll be seeing a number of declarations from Glasgow around 03:00. Will the SNP trend continue?.
02:49 - In the latest wacky theory from Radio Scotland, the Lib Dem crash is down to a failure to stand up for the coalition. Personally, I'd have thought that the only way to make things WORSE for the Lib Dems would be to talk up the coalition.
02:51 - Two results. Labour gain Eastwood from the Tories, and hold Uddingston & Bellshill. However, Uddingston did see a 9% swing to the SNP. This is certainly shaping up to be the SNP's night.
02:54 - Just to go back to Uddingston - it has gone from a safe Labour seat to a fairly tight marginal with a majority of only 714 seats. Almost unbelievable.
02:58 - Looking at the figures now, the Eastwood result is almost as dramatic, with a swing to Labour of 8.7% and the SNP also gaining votes, while the Tories and Lib Dems both seeing dramatic losses.
03:02 - Lib Dems have lost their deposit in all five seats they have contested so far. Utter, utter destruction.
03:03 - Airdrie & Shotts goes to the SNP, who get over 50% of the vote outright. 5.5% swing to the Nats from Labour, and the Liberals look to have lost another deposit. They could be in real financial trouble by the end of this election at this rate.
03:05 - Glasgow Southside declaration: Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP's deputy leader, has taken the seat with a 9.7% swing from Labour. Three of the SNP's four MSPs so far have been women, incidentally.
03:10 - Dundee City East is an SNP hold, with 64.2%
of the vote for Shona Robison. We may well be looking at a Nationalist majority government.
03:18 - Shorter Struan Stevenson: "I'm not saying the poor shouldn't be allowed to vote, just that they're financially irresponsible idiots blundering into bankrupting the country with their demands for help with their basic needs".
03:21 - Greenock & Inverclyde is held by Labour, but with a massively reduced majority.
03:22 - By the way, the Lib Dems have finally kept a deposit with Greenock.
03:25 - Former Conservative leader David McLetchie has conceded defeat in his Edinburgh constituency to the BBC, although there is no official word as of yet.
03:26 - In English news, Labour have taken control of Sheffield council from the Lib Dems. This is a bad result for the LDs, and Nick Clegg in particular, who is MP for Sheffield Hallam.
03:28 - Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat leader, holds onto the Shetland Islands seat, despite a strong local independent challenger.
03:30 - Iain Gray - the Labour leader - holds onto East Lothian but with a majority of only 151 his run at the top of Labour is surely over. Despite all this, there is still no sign of any emotion from Mr Gray.
03:36 - A few quick results before I catch some sleep for a few hours: Orkney is held by the Liberal Democrats, Falkirk West is held by the SNP, Glasgow Maryhill & Springburn is held by Labour, the SNP hold Dundee West and finally Labour hold Coatbridge & Chryston. I should be back up around 7am. Hopefully the picture should be a lot more clear by then.
08:12 - Sorry for the delay, apparently I'm more tired than I realised. We're looking at an SNP landslide here. They have 44 seats already with a lot of seats still in play. Overall, they've gained 20 seats already, and there's still the chance of an outright majority. I've got to get to work but hopefully I can get a bit more in depth later today.
09:27 - OK, here's the catch-up. The SNP are now on 47 seats, with nearest rivals Labour sitting at 20. The BBC's current prediction is for an SNP majority government with 68 MSPs (a majority of 3). The Liberal Democrats collapse has continued unabated, as they have still only won the Orkney and Shetland seats.
09:35 - And in more personal news, the SNP have lived up to the rumours and taken all four seats here in Aberdeen, while in my parents' constituency of Dumfriesshire, Elaine Murray overturned a notional Tory majority in the redrawn seat to remain in parliament. I'm a little mixed on that one, to be honest. In general, I'd rather have Labour than the Tories, but my encounters with Murray have been consistently negative since high school - she really doesn't take criticism well.
09:41 - A few other notable results: The SNP took Edinburgh Pentlands from former Conservative leader David McLetchie (as he acknowledged earlier in the night), and Renfrewshire North & West where Tory leader Annabel Goldie came in third place (although she is expected to return to Parliament on the party list). In a very tight race, the SNP have gained Glasgow Anniesland with a majority of only 7 seats.
09:44 - Also, thankfully, George Galloway failed to win a seat from the Glasgow Regional List, so hopefully no one feels the need to mention him again. I certainly won't.
09:49 - West of Scotland Regional List results are now in - 3 seats for Labour and two each for the SNP and the Conservatives. As predicted, Annabel Goldie will return to Holyrood. Her future is far more secure than Iain Gray's I would imagine, while Tavish Scott (Lib Dem leader) may hold on, depending on how well he can shift the blame for the collapse to the national party. I suspect he might do alright, as the Liberals have not done much better in either England or Wales.
09:56 - Of note to readers from the Slacktiverse, so far the Scottish Christian Party have seen a slight drop in the number of votes received. They will probably be around for a while yet (and it should be noted that we've yet to get results from the Highlands and Islands list, where they have the best chance of getting a seat), but I think this may be the start of a long decline for these theocratic hypocrites.
10:26 - Things are looking to slow down for a while here, with no more results expected until 12:00. The heat is already rising on Iain Gray though.
10:57 - The SNP will not be getting any seats from the North-East Regional List. Why? Because they won all TEN constituency seats here. "Landslide" is starting to look like too small a term.
11:29 - Recriminations have already started within the Labour Party, both within Scotland and nationally. Former First Minister Henry McLeish criticised the Scottish campaign for not recognising how Holyrood differs from Westminster, not taking the SNP seriously (which, considering they were the governing party going into the election, is a pretty serious charge) and being too negative. At the national level, Roy Hattersley has called for the Labour Party to take a lead from the SNP and offer a "genuine alternative" to the coaltion. Can't say that stealing from the SNP's policies worked too well in Scotland, but it might have more success in UK wide elections.
11:42 - Caithness, Sutherland & Ross moves from the Lib Dems to the SNP, who nudge another step closer to that overall majority. Still waiting on the exact figures, but this appears to be a huge swing to the SNP here.
11:48 - From the "This should not be happening file": The SNP get a regional list seat in the North-East despite winning all ten constituency seats. That's an astonishing level of support for the Nationalists. Labour take 3, the Tories 2 and the Liberals 1. SNP are now just 14 seats short of overall control of Holyrood.
12:09 - Another SNP gain as they take Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch from the Lib Dems. At this point, the question is not if
the SNP get a majority, but simply how big it will be.
12:12 - SNP hold the safe seat of Inverness & Nairn as Fergus Ewing is re-elected.
12:44 - The SNP take Stirling from Labour, leaving them only 8 seats short of that elusive majority.
13:06 - SNP hold Nah h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles). Seven to go.
13:12 - With the Nationalist victory edging closer, I'm spotting more and more bitterness about the Union... but from the English. The way many of these people talk you'd think England had no social problems of its own.
13:51 - A flurry of declarations while I was busy at work: South of Scotland list gives the SNP four, Labour 2 and the Libs 1. In the constituencies, the SNP gain Fife North East from the LDs, Dunermline from Labour and hold Mid-Fife & Glenrothes. Labour manage to hold onto Cowdenbeath. Just one more seat for an SNP majority according to my calculations, but I am
feeling pretty tired, so don't quote me on that.
13:55 - Update on Dunfermline - the SNP gain was actually from the Liberals, who were pushed down into third by Labour.
13:57 - I should have known not to trust my own arithmatic on this little sleep. The BBC put the SNP on 62, THREE short of the majority.
14:07 - Argyll & Bute is held by the SNP's Mike Russell. This is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.
14:25 - SNP take Kirkcaldy from Labour. One to go now folks...
14:32 - Just had a very excited man run into my work to inform everyone here that the SNP have their majority. Still trying to get that confirmed.
14:33 - And there is it is. Clackmannanshire & Dunblane has gone for the Nats, leaving them with a one seat majority and three regional lists still to declare. Amazing results.
15:02 - With still no sign of those last three regional lists, I'll wrap up the liveblogging here. I should be back later this evening with a new post with those results, my overall thoughts on the election (including where the major parties go from here) and possibly even an early look at the results of the AV referendum. Catch you later.