By Russell Bruce
We are still waiting on the result from the Western Isles, but it is clear Ukip have increased their vote sufficiently to gain the sixth seat the SNP had hoped to pick up with the collapse of the Lib Dems
With a higher turnout, the SNP, Labour and Conservatives have all increased their votes compared with 2009. After 7 years in government the SNP can take some satisfaction from holding their vote share and topping the poll again. Labour has managed to increase their share of the vote by 5%, from a very poor result in 2009, but they have failed to make a real breakthrough. The Conservatives have held on to their share of the vote with a marginal upwards nudge.
The big change is the doubling of the Ukip vote and the expected collapse of the Lib Dem vote.
Under the d’Hondt system of proportional representation the party with the largest vote gets the first seat. Their vote is then divided by 2. The party which now has the largest vote, gets the second seat. Their vote then also divided by 2 before the third seat is allocated. At this stage SNP, Labour and Tories have one seat each. The SNP gain the fourth seat and Labour the fifth.
SNP and Labour original vote totals are now divided by 3. Ukip now has the largest vote and obtains the sixth seat. The result from the Western Isles, with an electorate of 22,000, cannot change the final result. Even if the Western Isles turnout was 100% and they all voted SNP, it would not be enough to change the allocation of the last Scottish European Parliament seat.
The SNP would have needed to poll 420,000 votes, 33,807 more than they achieved, to have won the sixth seat with a small margin. Although they were only 10,936 behind Ukip on the final allocation they needed to have polled 3 times that to account for the division by 3 by the time of the final allocation.
The Greens held on to their vote share with a marginal increase (0.77%), but were 31883 votes short to have been able to pip Ukip to that last seat.
Sounds of glee are emerging from the Unionist parties who all campaigned against Ukip – simply because the SNP did not pick up the seat the Lib Dems lost. We still live in interesting times.
Scotland has consistently voted against the Conservatives since 1979, yet they have now given Ukip its first elected representative in Scotland – a party further to the right than the Tories. A party more hostile to more powers for the Scottish Parliament than the Tories. A party, whose policy until recently was the abolition of the Scottish Parliament
Will Better Together now let Ukip join? Will Scotland think again? Will this affect the referendum result?
The view at Vote Yes Borders is there are lessons for all the parties to learn from this result. We do not believe this will strengthen the NO campaign. It may well do the opposite.