How the 2010 election was won and lost in Scotland



By Michael MacLeod

The ink on the ballot papers has barely dried and still the shape of the UK Government remains unknown.

But the Scottish political map is completely clear, as Labour maintained their grip by winning at least 41 out of 58 seats north of the border.

All parties were keen to prove they had the Susan Boyle x-factor and a feisty election battle triggered the highest turn out in years.

Ambitious start

Alex Salmond was the first to draw the battle lines on day one of the campaign, laying down an ambitious aim to his candidates to win the SNP 20 seats in Westminster.

In typical Salmond style, the First Minister did his utmost to grab the imagination of Scotland’s voters, appearing on trains, chatting with pensioners at bowling greens and even 3D television.

But his party failed in a £50,000 legal bid to muscle in on the BBC live leaders’ debate – signalling an end what his opponents deemed a disastrous campaign.

The Tories took to the skies to try to sweep up as many votes as possible, but they too failed to add any new faces to their single Scottish representative in London.

Losing ground

And the Lib Dems failed to hammer home any extra seats, instead losing ground in previously strong majority areas.

They had high hopes of turning Edinburgh’s five regional seats yellow, but ended up holding just one.

In a dramatic night at Meadowbank, Labour’s Ian Murray was elected MP for Edinburgh South by just 316 votes after a recount which ended just before 5am.

Mr Murray, who was only selected as Labour’s candidate in Edinburgh South a couple of months ago after Nigel Griffiths announced he was quitting as MP, was defending a majority of just 405 votes against an onslaught from the Lib Dems.

Chancellor Alistair Darling Labour easily increased his majority in Edinburgh South West at the tail end of a fast-paced campaign which looks set to carry on into next year’s battle for Holyrood.