SCOTTISH Labour continued its inexorable decline in what used to be its most reliable heartland as the party were pushed into third place by the Conservatives, a result that would have been considered laughable only five years ago.
Parliamentary elections for a devolved Holyrood saw the Nationalists sweep to their third consecutive victory, securing more than half of the vote but failing to retain their overall majority of seats.
The loss of an SNP majority is owed to surprisingly strong performances from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, dashing Labour’s hopes that a return to its more traditional policies under Corbyn would reinvigorate its reputation north of the border.
With the full results in for all of Hollyrood’s 129 parliamentary seats the SNP have won 63, representing a loss of six, the Conservatives have secured 31, an increase of 16, while Labour have just 24, having lost 13 seats. The remaining 11 are occupied by six Greens and five Lib Dems.
Though the SNP will be disappointed with losing their overall majority, the proportional representation system was specifically devised with consensual governance in mind and many voters will welcome the prospect of real parliamentary opposition. The party also won an historic clean sweep of all of Glasgow’s nine seats, transforming Labour’s safest city into their own nationalist stronghold.
The disaster remained with Labour, whose new leader Kezia Dugdale suffered the embarrassment of entering parliament through the back door of regional lists after failing to win a seat in an Edinburgh constituency, while her Conservative counterpart Ruth Davidson pulled off a shock win in Edinburgh Central.
Turnout was a solid but uninspiring 55 per cent while the Greens performed well, tripling their parliamentary influence from two to six seats.