Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 4 May 2007

Shambles of Scottish elections to get full independent review

I awake to the news that not a lot significant has happened since I finally turned out my bedroom light at around 4.45am. However the fall-out from the electoral shambles in the Scottish elections (Parliament and Local) is now beginning as it becomes ever more clear how big the problems are and the huge implications that having to disallow 100,000 or so votes will have in a small country like Scotland.

The Scotland Office is saying there will be a full independent review by the Electoral Commission to try and get to the root of why the whole procedure went wrong.

Here are a few clues to help them:
- holding the Local elections on the same day as the Scottish Parliament elections when coupled with a major change in the voting system for the Local elections to a form of proportional representation (STV - Single Transferrable Vote). I hope people will recall it was the Liberal Democrats who were particularly in favour of having a proportional system!
- the postal voting system seems to have been a shambles. Although I got my voting pack timeously I understand many did not. The postal voting system itself has changed in that no witness signature was required this time, simply a signature from the voter with dire threats about the consequences of voting fraud, although how effective these threats and the checks used to back them up are, is unclear.
- the introduction of automated vote counting suffered software glitches and several counts were halted until the morning while technicians were to work on to try and sort the mess out.

Althugh a lot of the Scottish results are not yet known, one pleasant result (in one way) is that Tommy Sheridan is out! His new Solidarity vehicle failed to win a list seat in Glasgow, with the SNP taking four seats. The Sheridan result is sad in another way, however, because his absence from the Scottish Parliament will certainly make it a duller place altogether; even if I agreed with not one iota of his political viewpoints he certainly added to the 'gaiety of the nation'.

As I write the BBC Scotland election website is showing that only 74 out of 129 seats are declared. The movements so far: Labour -7, SNP +12, LibDems -1, Conservative +1, Others -5.

For the Local elections only 12 of the 32 councils have declared. No results declared in the Local elections for Highland yet.

In my own constituency the SNP's Fergus Ewing has held Inverness East, Nairn & Lochaber, taking 41.5 per cent of the vote on a 55.3 per cent turnout and a majority of 5,471. Although the SNP increased its vote by 10.6 per cent, the LibDems were up by 11.5 per cent, resulting in an overall swing from the SNP to the LibDems of 0.5 per cent.

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