Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Waiting Game

It’s 8.30pm, and that’s my part in Dundee SNP's version of 'operation get out the vote' as good as finished. Turnout in both city seats was by all accounts reasonably healthy, even before the expected evening rush. On the whole, SNP voters in the city appear to have been turning out and as such, everyone in the campaign team seems fairly chipper at the moment.

After their poisonous front page today, we’ve been hearing some anecdotal evidence of piles of Sun newspapers being left unsold in some Dundee newsagents, and even of one supermarket taking them off the shelf completely. I really don’t know what to make of their frankly ludicrous ‘Alex Salmond ate my Hamster’- type coverage over the past fortnight. Will people who were swithering about who to vote for be swayed by this sort of crap? I’ve no idea, but I’d like to think that more than a few eyebrows were raised amongst the Record readership by their favourite’s demand that people vote Tory to keep the SNP out.

If the SNP triumphs tonight, it will have broken 2 of the supposedly iron rules of politics: firstly that negative campaigns beat positive campaigns, and secondly that you can’t win a campaign with the tabloid press against you. I’m pleased with the campaign that the SNP has fought – every one of the MSPs the SNP has after tonight can hold their heads up high for getting elected from an honest and principled campaign. Will others be able to do the same?

The very fact that 4 of the ‘quality’ newspapers – the Sunday Herald, Scotland on Sunday, The Sunday Times and The Scotsman - came out for an SNP–led government, speaks volumes for the political shift that there has been in Scottish opinion recently. Whether this is the SNP’s 1992 or their 1997, Labour can’t keep fighting this sort of scaremongering, campaign of diminishing marginal returns indefinitely. However it has expressed itself today, there is a tide for change out there and it can’t be quelled forever.

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