Sunday 4 May 2003

No mandate for Scottish Labour?

As always, I enjoyed reading Gerald Warner's column in Scotland on Sunday. The low turnout of 49% means that:
On the first poll, the nationwide constituency vote, the Scottish Labour Party - so long regarded as the unassailable monolith of hegemonial power - received 659,879 votes. In an electorate of just under four million, that represents some 16.7%.
What about the Lab/Lib Dem coalition as a whole?
Again, look at the figures for the Liberal Democrats: they took 286,150 votes. Added to Labour’s tally, the coalition won a grand total of 946,029 votes - short of the one million mark. Yet, when more than a million Scots voted in an independent referendum to retain Section 28, which prohibited promotion of homosexuality in schools, the Executive and MSPs derided that turnout as unrepresentative. In just four years, Holyrood arrogance and folly has created a situation in which Section 28 commands more public support than the combined Labour and Liberal parties.
So the new government will represent half of those who voted and a mere quarter of the total Scottish electorate. A long period of humility is in order; let's say about four years.