Friday 7 November 2008

A Scottish surprise

The wonders of the digibox make it possible to watch the BBC2 Scotland Newsnight by-election special. Its not quite the US Presidential election (though that that was not much good as political theatre until Obama spoke). But it will have to do.

Nobody at all - in any party - thought Labour could win a majority of 6000 in the Glenrothes by-election.

The candidate Lindsay Roy deserves enormous credit, and even increased Labour's share of the vote. (As Peter Kellner noted before Glasgow East, Labour had suffered a 23 per cent swing to the SNP in a by-election in the honeymoon period of 1999).

Is it the end of the Salmond honeymoon?

I expect the message from Conservative HQ tomorrow will be we're not panicking. But this will add to an increasingly choppy debate - about political strategy, and tax, and how to take on Labour - among the opposition.

Even Guido Fawkes seems to have been left highly discombobulated - I'm sure he'll be back on form in the morning.

UPDATE: Kevin Maguire gives the credit to Sarah Brown.

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