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The election in Scotland

Saturday 7 May 2005, by Alistair Black

The elections in Scotland saw voters punishing New Labour across the country. Tony Blair’s party lost five seats while the Liberal Democrats in particular picked up votes.

The Liberal Democrats were the main vehicle for those voters who wanted to protest against Labour and in particular against the Iraq war. They overtook the Scottish National Party to become the second largest party in Scotland.

The SNP had hoped for a breakthrough under their returned leader Alex Salmond, but despite picking up some seats they only showed small progress.

The first past the post electoral system mitigates against smaller parties and the switch to the lib-dems hit the Scottish Socialist Party. The SSP share of the vote was down on the last General Election. The party gained 42,633 votes across Scotland having stood in all but one of the seats in Scotland, which was 1.9% of the vote, down from 3.1%.

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SSP leader Colin Fox said the results were disappointing but not unexpected. Colin continued, "The SSP team is ready for the next game against the leaders of the G8 however. This month we contested 58 out of 59 Scottish Westminster seats, distributing over 3 million election addresses and increasing our membership by ten percent.

"In July we will mobilise tens of thousands against the criminal policies of G8 leaders like George Bush and Tony Blair.

"In doing that we will link up with all those who used their vote to protest in these elections and explore with them the future of all forces in favour of a collective solution to the future of our planet."

Taking up the question of the voting system Colin said;

"The biggest obstacle for smaller parties contesting the Westminster elections is the first past the post system that gives just three establishment parties a monopoly on media coverage and means that not a single Scottish vote for radical minority parties can have any result whatsoever."