Elec­tion night will never be forgotten af­ter SNP land­slide

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Reaction -

The 1958 film re­call­ing the last hours of the Ti­tanic was named, aptly, A Night to Re­mem­ber.

It could well be the moniker given to May 7, 2015 as Scot­tish Labour ploughed into an ice­berg of its own and sunk to the bot­tom of the po­lit­i­cal sea.

The prob­lem with any film about the fa­mous ship is, ev­ery­one knows how it ends.

But it’s doubt­ful even the most op­ti­mistic SNP sup­porter could have pre­dicted how this drama would un­fold. For them, it was all plain sail­ing as they turned the Scot­tish elec­toral map a bright shade of yel­low.

While the polls had been sug­gest­ing that for some weeks, Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West was sup­posed to be dif­fer­ent .”They couldn’t take Ruther­glen, could they?”the naysay­ers said. They were wrong.

Through­out the cam­paign, Mar­garet Ferrier’s elec­tion team ex­uded a quiet con­fi­dence that they could achieve the im­pos­si­ble and oust Tom Greatrex.

For their part, Ruther­glen Labour were never any­thing else but cer­tain they were in a real dog­fight. As the can­di­date’s sup­port­ers ar­rived at the John Wright Sports Cen­tre, the con­sen­sus was that Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West was too close to call. It wasn’t even close, but not in the way we might have ex­pected.

The amaze­ment of the BBC Exit Poll seemed to leave peo­ple breath­less. Many thought Tom Greatrex’s per­sonal rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-work­ing, hands-on MP would be his sav­ing grace, but they had to come to terms with the pos­si­bil­ity that not even that could hold back the re­lent­less surge of the SNP.

Both SNP and Labour mem­bers looked stunned.

James Kelly MSP, who had worked so closely with Mr Greatrex, looked vis­i­bly shaken as the grav­ity of what was hap­pen­ing be­came ap­par­ent. He re­tired sev­eral times to a cor­ner on his phone, per­haps be­ing up­dated on the na­tional pic­ture, which would have brought no respite for a man who is a key ally to Jim Mur­phy.

Mar­garet Ferrier’s elec­tion agent, Coun­cil­lor Gor­don Clark, buzzed around, all ner­vous ex­cite­ment de­spite the cold that he was suf­fer­ing. Ev­ery­one re­fused to com­mit to what the re­sult would be, but when I asked one on­looker not con­nected with ei­ther party if Mar­garet Ferrier had ar­rived yet, they replied sim­ply:“I think Mar­garet is look­ing out her danc­ing shoes, she’s go­ing to need them.”

For a while, Labour mem­bers clung to hope that the num­bers may yet turn, but re­al­ity can be a cruel mis­tress.

Ms Ferrier ar­rived shortly be­fore mid­night, but seemed un­able to com­pre­hend the enor­mity of the achieve­ment that was play­ing out in front of her very eyes.

There was still no sign of Tom Greatrex. There was lit­tle more he could do. When he did ar­rive, it was with a air of res­ig­na­tion. His stint as MP for Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West would end at five years.

The SNP con­gre­ga­tion started to gather near the podium. Mr Greatrex’s fol­low­ers held back, but they stayed to sup­port their man.

Mr Greatrex cut a very dif­fer­ent fig­ure of quiet hu­mil­ity to that of his par­ty­mate from East Kil­bride, who snapped at jour­nal­ists and re­fused to shake the hand of the SNP can­di­date.

Mar­garet Ferrier told those present she wanted to work for ev­ery­one in the con­stituency, re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal be­lief, and showed dig­nity by per­son­ally prais­ing the man she had just de­feated.

There was one other per­son sport­ing a smile. Young Tay­lor Muir of the Con­ser­va­tives, who had held the Tory vote up de­spite the pos­si­bil­ity of tac­ti­cal vot­ing, was de­lighted his party was set to win the elec­tion.

But per­haps, at the back of his mind, was a con­cern for what the re­sult might mean for the fu­ture of the Union.

For Labour, they must find a way of rais­ing their own po­lit­i­cal Ti­tanic from the depths.

Vot­ers Linda Bul­loch with Bruce

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.