Friday, July 25, 2008

So - What Next?

As the dust begins to settle (and it is settling already) the parties all have to look at their next moves. Immediate concerns for the SNP will be getting John Mason working hard as an MP - difficult to do when the House has shut down for the summer. It will take at least until after recess before he has any help whatsoever in terms of money (after all he's not technically a Member of Parliament until he has been sworn in, so no allowances) but not hitting the ground running is not an option.

And there's the Baillieston by-election to think about too with John Mason having resigned already. Is there a candidate in place? Is there a suitable candidate in place? The SNP will need to select someone who can fill John's shoes as a first-rate councillor. And then get campaigning immediately. No rest for the winners here.

As I said in my post yesterday they also need to get a good answer to the question of what the policy is in the event of a failed referendum campaign.

As for Labour - well, they've got to select their Parliamentary candidate pretty sharpish. Theoretically they should take this seat back, even if they lose the General Election but they won't win it by just assuming it will come back to them. If the rumours about their lack of canvass data is true - and the fact they couldn't get their vote out would imply they were - they need to be spending the next couple of years knocking on every door in the constituency. Twice. And I'm sure MPs in other "safe seats" will be wanting to know if they need to do the same, the answer's yes.

They also need to treat the council by-election with a lot of respect. They could win it, although I'm not convinced. This is one election where I think that candidate selection will matter a lot. As will an early start.

As for the others, well the Lib Dems need to sort themselves out a leader and rethink their by-election strategy. This was a pretty shocking performance from them. The Tories - more of the same from them would be good. They were gutsy, spirited and put up a good show in the face of public antipathy and a major squeeze operation. Solidarity and the SSP need to ask if they still have a place in Scottish politics. Between them they were less popular than the Conservative candidate. In the East End of Glasgow. The writing's on the wall.

So an interesting night, but the story didn't end at 2am. There's still a lot more fights to be had in the East End over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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