Hey, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. The system was designed, or so we were told, to ensure that no single party would ever secure an overall majority. But, astonishingly, fat Eck has done the business, and we will need to put up with the consequences for the next five years.
The consequences? Well, first of all, Mr Salmond can do pretty much whatever he wants. Backed by the massed ranks of the SNP, he can ram through parliament whatever policy or budget decisions he chooses. The only checks on his powers will be those written into the Scotland Act; and he is likely to challenge those pdq in the context of the current Scotland Bill.
And don’t imagine that the so-called SNP fundamentalists can influence him. Salmond, with Sturgeon and Swinney as his principal lieutenants, has just won a stunning victory of unimaginable (and unimagined) proportions. Within the SNP ranks, he is unassailable.
What of Labour? The Gray Man has already announced that he will stand down. Shorn of its more illustrious dinosaurs, is the party leadership a shoo-in for Jackie Baillie? It doesn’t really matter; indeed, for the next five years, the Labour Party doesn’t really matter. Mocked as losers, doomed to impotence, it looks a long hard climb to the sunlit uplands.
As for the Tories, they should stick with nurse for fear of something worse. Bella may never lead them to the promised land but they might have done a lot worse under anyone else. Besides she is becoming a national treasure.
The LibDems? Oblivion awaits …