Yes Obama can — but the SNP can’t

Hello everyone and welcome to part 2 of this week’s bumper edition. This post has the reactions to this week’s elections.

Most immediately affecting Scottish politics is the Glenrothes by-election. By all accounts it was an absolute shocker of a result. Not so much the fact that Labour won — and congratulations to Cabalamat (and, er, me) for predicting that. But the margin of Labour’s victory has demanded analysis.

Stephen Glenn wonders how the SNP (and the media) got the predictions wrong when it was clear to him that things weren’t going the SNP’s way. Meanwhile, Mike Smithson looks at the lessons punters can learn from the unexpected result of the Glenrothes by-election.

Will Patterson took a look at each of the parties that contested the Glenrothes by-election, as did Malc. Alasdair also added his thoughts, as did Adopted Domain.

Alex Massie thinks it would have been an embarrassment if Labour had lost this election after all the effort they put in — but that it’s still an awful result for the SNP.

Ewan Aitken is of course pleased. But he is also cautious as the election was fought mainly on local issues. Labour won’t be able to relax until a nationwide trend towards Labour emerges. Big Rab was one of many to say that Fife has a political outlook of its own, so perhaps too much shouldn’t be read into the result.

West World thinks that Labour’s negative campaign focussed on local issues did not dent the SNP’s vote — but it did allow Labour to build an anti-SNP coalition.

Meanwhile, Ideas of Civilisation had so many thoughts that he wrote two posts — one for the SNP and one for Labour.

Amid all the talk of a “Brown bounce” and the resurgence of Labour, The Nameless Libertarian thinks the Glenrothes by-election means little for Labour as a whole — they will still lose the next General Election.

For Little Man in a Toque, the Glenrothes result is not as disappointing as it is to some other English nationalists.

Tory Bear has noticed that Lindsay Roy himself has said that the Glenrothes by-election was not a “referendum” on Gordon Brown.

Meanwhile, Mark McDonald rejects the idea that the SNP’s defeat in Glenrothes represents the end of the honeymoon.

One of the SNP’s excuses has been the fact that Labour were able to call on the help of activists from down south. But Scottish Tory Boy asks if this is really such a bad thing — particularly since the SNP sometimes relies on help from Plaid Cymru activists.

Yousuf reckons that the result was not down to one party having a bigger or better organisation. He thinks there was a real grass roots revolt against the SNP.

From the SNP perspective, Richard Thomson writes this honest assessment of what went on in Glenrothes. And Bellgrove Belle looks at what happened in Baillieston as well as Glenrothes.

Indygal compared Glenrothes to other disappointing results for the SNP over the past couple of decades, but thinks that the belief that what they are doing is right will continue to energise SNP activists.

Not quite so reflective was the response from some cybernats, which Scottish Unionist unearthed.

From the Lib Dem perspective, Caron says she was disappointed with, but not surprised at, the result. And Iain Rubie Dale confessed to feeling some pain at the result.

Meanwhile, Stephen Tall at Lib Dem Voice reflects on what the result means for the Lib Dems.

West World notes that the SNP are now seen as the ‘government’ and Labour is the ‘opposition’, and both parties are behaving as though they are in those roles.

Meanwhile, Holyrood Watcher wonders if the SNP’s defeat in Glenrothes means that Iain Gray will be mobilised to challenge Alex Salmond’s position as First Minister.

On a more entertaining note, Tom Harris has this story from the campaign trail.

The most important matter of the election was of course the quality of the BBC’s coverage, which didn’t impress Jacq Kelly too much.

North Britain attempts to find the silver lining for the SNP, positing that Glenrothes is just the SNP’s “New Hampshire”.

The SNP might not want to compare themselves to Barack Obama too often though. As James at Two Doctors points out, it is pretty shabby for a politician to compare himself to the new US President-elect. Of course, Alex Salmond wasn’t the only one, as Tom Harris notes.

But Salmond’s comments were of more immediate effect to Scottish politics. Mr Smith notes that Alex Salmond’s “yes we can” photocall has been described as his “Kinnock moment”.

It was the second time in a week that Mr Salmond was caught clinging onto Barack Obama’s coat tails. Bill Cameron thought that the First Minister’s eagerness to point out Obama’s Scottish link was parochial.

Yes, the whole world is gripped by Obamania. But not quite everyone has been taken in yet. Clairwil reckons she sees a Tony Blair figure with no real beliefs.

Stewart Kirkpatrick also has reservations, asking why Mr Obama feels the need to reach out to Republicans.

Jack Deighton also adds a note of caution along with Mark Gallagher who partially blames the two party system.

In a similar vein Niall at the Mushkush Miscellany adds his own “predictably cynical” comments on Obama’s victory.

Anas also thinks that Obama’s success is more about symbolic change than policy change.

Lis has some nagging doubts in her mind about Obama, but is prepared to hope with him for the time being.

Meanwhile, James at Two Doctors believes that the Greens should have endorsed Barack Obama and thinks that the comparison to Tony Blair doesn’t stand up.

wee-h thinks that other politicians should learn from Barack Obama’s approach.

Meanwhile, North Britain notes that Obama’s triumph is a realisation of the American dream. Kevin Williamson congratulates the USA. And Angus Nicolson is delighted.

Flying Rodent thinks the election is historic because the USA has elected “their first non-asshole president in living memory.”

Michael Greenwell has perhaps one of the most negative reactions to Obama’s victory that I have seen, arguing that an Obama Presidency will not mean change at all.

Ideas of Civilisation takes an in-depth look at what an Obama Presidency might mean.

Barack Obama will clearly have a lot on his plate. But Julie McAnulty thinks that healthcare will be one of the biggest problems he will have to face.

Malc analyses the reasons why Obama won and McCain lost.

Looking at the Republicans, alannaonline asks what was going through their minds when they chose George Bush over John McCain in 2000. Meanwhile, Bernard Salmon wonders what Mr McCain could have done better to win the election.

Alex Massie was disappointed in some of the non-American media coverage and said that Jon Snow almost made him wish for a McCain victory!

But Niall was more concerned with some Republicans’ reactions to Obama’s victory.

Coming back to a more local level, Ewan Aitken celebrates Cammy Day’s victory in the Forth ward by-election.

Phew! That’s it. Next week everything should be back to normal, and I am working to find a guest editor for next week. As always, please do get your nominations in by either using the form on the right or by emailing Thanks!


  1. hi

    i look at your site and i am happy you look at mine but i want to make clear that the ‘negative response’ to obama’s victory is not a comment about his victory in itself.

    i just hoped to show that continuing apace are the same problems that were happening before bush and will happen after him.

    an obama victory is probably preferable to a mccain one but there is a sense in which it is all ‘flags, balloons and bullshit’ as john pilger rightly called it.