In a stunning result the SNP have managed to overturn a Labour majority of 13,500+ in Glasgow East to snatch victory with a swing of 22 per cent. They may have a tiny majority (of only 356), but that's the way 'first past the post' elections work and Labour will just have to suck it up.
If this result were to be replicated at a general election then Labour would face political oblivion, a prospect (frankly) it might even be worth a sharply increased SNP presence at Westminster to witness. The question for Labour now seems to be: do we soldier on with 'albatross' Gordon Brown as the Leader or do we ditch him and hope we can salvage some of the wreckage his policies have had a large hand in creating before the next general election? I suspect nothing will happen at least until the Party conference in the Autumn and probably not even then, but perhaps if Labour do badly (again) at next year's local elections in England they might then ditch him. Whatever they do now though I'd be surprised if Labour can win the next general election.
Is this result, however stunning, a good guide to what mght happen at a general election, though, or is it really just a 'protest' vote and the Labour faithful will largely return to the fold in 2009 or 2010? Well, as I got the prediction for this bye-election result so badly wrong (although I'm not enormously unhappy that I did) I'd have to say all bets are off. 'Interesting' times are ahead of us in Scottish and British politics.
PS/ Family problems have come up, not entirely unexpectedly I'm afraid, that may preclude me blogging more for a while. I'll do so when I can.
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