We were a little confused as we caught up with our Twitter timeline this morning.
Brilliant result? What?
“Paid off”? In what sense? The Tories came 4th in Dunfermline in 2007, 4th in 2011, and 4th last night. That seems to us to be the exact opposite of paying off. It seems to be a lot of hard work to make no progress whatsoever.
Vote up? James Reekie got 84 fewer votes last night than he did in 2011. With a lower turnout that represents a slightly higher share of the vote, but even then only by 1.7%, and he’d have had to increase his vote by almost 50% to overtake even the spectacularly dismal showing of the 3rd-placed Lib Dem.
Delighted? Really? We can just about make a case for the up-and-coming youngster saying “Well, we held what we had and this 4th place was fractionally better than the last 4th place we got”, but it seems an awfully long way from that to a state of delight when the UK’s governing party trails in last with a single-figure vote share.
But wait. Is there something in Ruth Davidson’s very last line – “Team Tory”?
Alan Roden is the Scottish political editor of the Daily Mail, which got awfully excited about the result considering the Mail isn’t normally known for bigging up the Labour Party. In the Herald, Robbie Dinwoodie put a number to the alleged tactical voting:
“With UKIP joining the fray there was thought to be a strong chance that the Tories would struggle to save their deposit. They claim to know of several hundred of their voters who voted Labour to snub Alex Salmond”
…which seems a stretch given the near-identical Conservative votes in 2011 and last night (and the fact that 900-odd UKIP voters materialised from somewhere, you’d imagine most likely the Tory camp), but is an interesting comment all the same.
The two parties whose politicians and supporters were most excited online last night were certainly Labour and the Tories, and they’re supposed to be deadly ideological enemies. One of them came first and the other came, effectively, last. (Everyone except the big four lost their deposit.)
So should at least one of them not have been downcast? When Conservatives are cock-a-hoop and slapping each other on the back over a Labour by-election victory, what does that suggest to you about the state of British politics, readers?