Friday, May 08, 2015

It took a woman to do what Braveheart could not - Free Scotland! Nicola Sturgeon stuns Britain in election.


Scotland is dancing for joy tonight celebrating the astonishing election results by Nicola Sturgeon, historic by any measure, as her Nationalist party literally blew the Labor party off the map.

Most people do not realize Scotland was settled 8,500 years before the first records of Britain existed, and since the 13th Century, Scots have been fighting for independence from England and Great Britain.

Well the day of reckoning may have arrived and the savior of Scotland is not Sir William Wallace from "Braveheart" but a diminutive 5' 4" and 44 year old, woman has emerged as the newest hope to lead Scotland back to independence and return the country to the incredible nation that has contributed so much to the world.

Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon (born July 19, 1970) has never set foot in Westminster - but, as the leader of the SNP, she may yet exert significant influence on the result of the General Election. As Scotland's serving First Minister, she is also the only leader apart from Nick Clegg and David Cameron to have already run a country.

Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, one of three daughters of Robert Sturgeon (and electrician) and Joan Sturgeon (a nurse), she studied law at the University of Glasgow and worked as a solicitor. But in 1992, the year she graduated, she had already been an SNP member for six years - and that same year became Scotland's youngest parliamentary candidate.

Sturgeon came to the Party through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (scrapping Britain's nuclear weapons is now one of her policies). She stood unsuccessfully in the General Elections of 1992 and 1997, but won a seat in the new devolved Scottish Parliament. She planned to run for the party leadership in 2004, but withdrew when Alex Salmond announced his candidacy, falling into place behind him instead as his running mate. From 2007 to 2014, through the SNP's first minority government and its first landslide win, she was Deputy First Minister; when Salmond resigned in the wake of the failed referendum on Independence, nobody even stood against her to replace him.

Under her leadership, the SNP's members have swelled to over 100,000. She's given speech after speech to packed conference halls of zealous SNP supporters, rousing them to rapturous cheers. Like Ukip, she vows to "shake up and reform" the tired "Westminster system". But she is also making a canny pitch to voters south of the border and left of Labour who she thinks can be won to her cause.

And she hasn't been shy about the demands she would make of Ed Miliband. She wants to remove the £26,000 annual benefits cap and get £180 billion more public spending; she wants the welfare system to be more generous and the minimum wage to rise to £8.70 an hour. She has described blocking a renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine programme as her "absolute" red line. She sees herself as the spearhead of a progressive front in Westminster which could force Labour back to its red roots. But she doesn't want to be locked into a coalition with them, and has mocked Ed Miliband for ruling one out.

All the while, the shadow of Alex Salmond is looming over her. Opponents say her leadership is being undermined by his frequent interventions, with some accusing her of being in his pocket. At the SNP's spring conference he was supposed to have just a fringe meeting but instead ended up hogging the main stage. Even putting aside the sexism she faces as the SNP's first female leader, she has repeatedly had to insist that she, not he, is leading the party. When he stepped down as party leader, she spoke of the "immeasurable" debt she owed him for his "constant advice, guidance and support".

But don't underestimate her. In her early days, she had a reputation for being too serious. Some called her "nippy sweetie" - Glasgow slang for an irritable person - which she tried to defuse by handing out actual sweeties during her first leadership campaign. Now things are very different. By turns spiky, inspiring, sincere, calm, and utterly merciless, she is known for her fierce performances at FMQs (First Minister's Questions). In a debate over the referendum last year, she savaged Alistair Carmichael, who at one point had to appeal to the moderator to rescue him.

Her one big scandal came from a letter she wrote for a constituent, Abdul Rauf, who was charged with defrauding over £80,000 in benefits. She later apologised for asking the judge not to jail him.
Sturgeon lives in Glasgow with Peter Murrell, the SNP's chief executive and campaign strategist, who she married in 2010. Her mother is also a councillor. In her time off, she likes watching the X-Factor and is a huge fan of the Danish drama Borgen, about a charismatic politician who unexpectedly becomes the country's first female Prime Minister. Will life imitate art?

Here are more of the news stories about her rise to power.

Now Cameron faces SECOND fight to save the Union: Prime Minister may have to grant Sturgeon even MORE power - including fiscal autonomy - to fend off SNP insurgency

The Mirror

Nicola Sturgeon crowned Queen of Scots as she says landslide victory is 'watershed in Scottish politics'

The SNP leader saw her party win a landslide north of the border, gaining seat after seat as Ed Miliband's party lost tens of thousands of votes.

Arriving at the Glasgow count in the early hours of the morning to a hero's welcome, the first minister said: “I am feeling absolutely fantastic.

“This is a watershed in the politics of this country and all the SNP candidates must now work to stand up for Scotland. Whatever happens, the Government must take heed of what has happened here.”
Her offer to form a Government with Labour remained in place, but is unlikely to be taken up.

Labour lost what was its safest Scot seat, the SNP seizing the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency which had been held by Gordon Brown.

With an SNP landslide, Labour candidate Kenny Selbie failed to follow in his footsteps.

As results came through in Glasgow, once the power house of the Scottish Labour movement, a nationalist supporter in a yellow waistcoat and tie shouted: “We've scalped them!”.

In a matter of hours, as the city's seven seats were declared, Labour lost power in every one.
The SNP also took Kilmarnock and Loudoun from Labour, with a 26% swing. That was the first Scottish result of the night.

The Independent

Scotland election results: SNP celebrates 'electoral tsunami' as Labour obliterated

The SNP is celebrating the most important moment in its history after an “electoral tsunami” swept Scotland, wiping out the Labour Party’s previously dominant presence north of the border at a single stroke.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party won 56 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats, exceeding most expectations as its candidates recorded huge victories over their Labour rivals throughout the night.

Alex Salmond, the party’s former leader who failed to win independence for Scotland at last year’s referendum, said the country would now have a “resounding” and “united” voice at the House of Commons. “There’s going to be a lion roaring tonight, a Scottish lion,” he added.

Among the more remarkable results on a historic night for the SNP was its defeat of Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, who lost his East Renfrewshire seat to Kirsten Oswald after serving the constituency for 18 years.


London (CNN)In what is threatening to be an election nightmare for the opposition Labour Party, a 20-year-old Scottish student has become Britain's youngest lawmaker since 1667 -- ousting one of Labour's top figures in the process.

Politics student Mhairi Black, representing the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), took Paisley and Renfrewshire South, a constituency outside Glasgow, from Douglas Alexander, Labour's election chief and a former Cabinet minister.

"It has clearly been a very difficult and disappointing night for the Labour party," Ed Miliband told supporters as he retained his own seat. He cited a "surge of nationalism in Scotland" as having affected the Labour party's results.

Scotland, traditionally kind to Labour, turned it back on the Opposition in favor of the SNP.

Washington Post

British election results produce seismic political shift in Scotland

The Telegraph

Scotland election 2015 results: SNP landslide amid almost total Labour wipeout - as it happened

Nicola Sturgeon's party surges to victory in 56 out of 59 seats as Labour suffers almost total election wipeout in Scotland - as it happened

The SNP has entirely altered the political landscape in Scotland, winning 56 of the nation's 59 seats - many of them on record-breaking swings. To recap, here is the party's night by numbers.
The largest took place in Glasgow North East, where a swing of 39.3pc saw Anne McLaughlin gain the seat from Labour's Willie Bain. This had been Labour's safest seat going into the election.

There was another huge swing of 36.2pc from the SNP to Labour in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, and one of 35.2% in Glasgow South West.

Nicola Sturgeon's party also enjoyed a 34.9pc swing from Labour in Glenrothes, and 34.6pc in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, the former seat of Labour's Gordon Brown.

Further huge gains were made in Motherwell and Wishaw, with a 33.8pc swing, and Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, where the swing was 31.7pc.

History was made in Paisley and South Renfrewshire, where shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander lost his seat to 20-year-old Mhairi Black, who became the youngest MP since 1667.
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond won in the Aberdeenshire seat of Gordon, overturning a 7,000-Liberal Democrat majority in a seat that was held by Sir Malcolm Bruce for 32 years.
A total of three seats did not fall to the SNP. Alistair Carmichael held on to Orkney and Shetland for the Liberal Democrats, Labour's Ian Murray retained Edinburgh South and David Mundell kept Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale for the Conservative Party.

The SNP won only six seats at the 2010 general election. Their total now stands at 56. The party ended up with a 50pc share of the vote in Scotland, up by 30 points from 2010. Labour won just 24.3pc of the vote, down by 17.7 points from five years ago.

07.59 Johnson proposes 'federal offer'
As Scotland turns yellow, Boris Johnson - the London Mayor and new Conservative MP for Uxbridge - says:

There has to be some kind of federal offer. Everybody needs to take a deep breath and think about how we want the UK to progress.

I think even most people in the SNP, probably in their heart of hearts, most people who voted SNP tonight, do not want to throw away absolutely everything.

News comments by the clock during election night

07.53 Adopting SNP proposals?
The Conservatives could now adopt SNP proposals on devolution, Political Correspondent
Matthew Holehouse tweets.

07.44 'We will make Scotland's voice heard at Westminster'
"What a result," tweets Nicola Sturgeon after the SNP's landslide victory in Scotland.

07.35 Worst ever result for Labour in Scotland
This makes it the worst ever general election result in Scotland for Labour after the party won just one seat north of the border.

The party was all but wiped out as the SNP surged to victory across the country. With only one MP returned - Ian Murray in Edinburgh South - Labour's showing is worse than in 1906, its first election when it won two seats.

07.28 Final seat decleared
The final seat in Scotland has been declared - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk has gone to the SNP.

It means the party has finished with 56 out of Scotland's 59 seats - a humiliating loss for Labour and triumph for Nicola Sturgeon.

07.23 Electoral tsunami
The strongest comments of the night in Scotland come from Alex Salmond, who said the SNP had triggered an "electoral tsunami".

As the SNP swept up one Labour stronghold after another - toppling the party's Scottish leader Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and snatching the former constituency of ex-prime minister Mr Brown - the party's former leader Mr Salmond said there had been an "electoral tsunami" north of the border.

Mr Salmond, who returned to Parliament as MP for Gordon, said: "There's going to be a lion roaring tonight, a Scottish lion, and it's going to roar with a voice that no government of whatever political complexion is going to be able to ignore."

07.00 One seat to declare
There is just one Scottish seat left to declare - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.
Of Scotland's 59 seats, so far 55 have been declared SNP, one Labour, one Tory and one Lib Dem.

06.45 Danny Alexander says Lib Dems should 'hold [their] heads high'
Now for some more comments from Mr Alexander, after losing his seat to SNP: "It's been a very tough election and a lot of us have been swept away by this tidal wave of nationalism that has taken over many constituencies in Scotland. We all have to reflect on that.

He said he was proud of what he had achieved for the area and in government, adding: "I'm grateful for the support I received, but it wasn't enough.

"Drew Hendry has been elected and good luck to him."

He said while the number of votes he had received was "very similar" to his tally in 2010, but this time round he had not had enough to win.

"That's deeply disappointing," Mr Alexander said.

"But I think as Liberals, and Liberal Democrats, we should hold our heads high in terms of what we've achieved in the country, but clearly we have a lot of rebuilding to do.

"The flame of Highland liberalism will keep burning and our job is to make it burn brighter in the years to come."

06.43 Charles Kennedy wants to stay in politics
If you have just joined us, good morning. If you've been with us all through the night - stay strong!

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy says he plans to remain involved in politics despite becoming one of the many casualties of the night at the hands of the SNP.

He was beaten into second place in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency by Nationalist Ian Blackford, who won with 20,119 votes, a majority of 5,124.

Mr Kennedy, who got 14,995 votes, said serving as an MP had been the "greatest privilege" of his public life.

After the result was announced, he said:

I'll obviously personally be sorry not to be a voice in the Commons contributing to that debate.
Although I certainly intend to continue to contribute in whatever way possible to the wider political debate and the activity of the Liberal Democrats.

The greatest privilege of my public life over these past 32 years has to be being entrusted with the responsibility of representing this constituency.

That is thanks to a generation and more of voters who have extended that trust to me and I hope looking back over those 32 years they will feel that it was trust well placed.

06.30 Danny Alexander on losing his seat: 'that's democracy'

Danny Alexander is speaking to the BBC following his defeat. He said: "I've lost an election, that's democracy" adding: "We fought a very good campaign locally...we've seen this SNP wave across Scotland. I think I've fallen victim to that more than anything else."

He declined to comment on Nick Clegg's next moves, saying: "I think that's for him to say".
Asked whether he thought going into coalition with the Conservatives would cost the Lib Dems so dearly, he said: "I thought that it would potentially cost us seats in some places [but] I didn't expect results as bad as those tonight."

He added that in the face of rising nationalist parties such as SNP, "Liberalism has never been more needed in our country than now".

Danny Alexander, Esther McVey, Vince Cable and Douglas Alexander all lost their seats

06.15 Press Association take a look back at Danny Alexander's rise to power, and his dramatic - though not entirely unpredictable - fall from grace.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has become the highest ranking politician in Scotland to lose his seat in the general election.

The Liberal Democrat, who was at the heart of the coalition government, is one of many who have been ousted from office in the wake of the SNP's historic landslide.

He was elected as the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey back in 2005, but has now lost that title to nationalist Drew Hendry.

The senior Liberal Democrat joined the "quad" alongside Nick Clegg, David Cameron and George Osborne, when David Laws resigned just days after the government was formed.

Mr Alexander spent the rest of the parliament alongside the Chancellor, hammering away at the public finances and becoming Mr Clegg's effective number two.

But becoming the public face of spending cuts and a Tory chancellor's deputy has cost the former head of communications at the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Mr Alexander spent time on the Lib Dem "differentiation" strategy towards the end, culminating in the delivery of an alternative budget in March.

But the stunt, which included the presentation of a bright yellow budget box, backfired and was widely viewed as a farcical use of the Commons.

During the campaign, Mr Alexander released details of what he said were Tory plans to slash welfare.

Voters in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey walked away from the man they first elected in 2005, swept up by anti-Liberal Democrat feeling and surging support for the Scottish National Party.

The crushing verdict was predicted by polls by Lord Ashcroft, who found support for Mr Alexander had collapsed.

Nicola Sturgeon declared the SNP's stunning Westminster success a "historic watershed" in Scottish politics.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon celebrates with supporters as her party wins yet another seat from Labour (PA)

Danny Alexander, the former Chief Secretary of the Treasury, becomes the latest Lib Dem to lose his seat.

He lost the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey seat to the SNP's Drew Hendry.

Inverness in its various guises was traditionally a hotbed for pliant Scottish liberalism, but thing hadn't been looking good for Mr Alexander.

Several Lib Dem MPs skipped his 'alternative fiscal plan' in March, and now it appears several voters have skipped his name on the ballot paper as they scan for the SNP candidate.

05.50 Here is Simon Johnson's round up of the evening so far: SNP tsunami swamps Scotland and destroys Labour

He writes:
The SNP has staged an unprecedented and historic landslide general election rout in Scotland that saw Labour all but wiped out in its former stronghold and the United Kingdom facing a major new threat to its future.

On an extraordinary night north of the Border that left any hope Ed Miliband had of winning power in tatters, the Nationalists polled more than 50 per cent of the votes and was on course to take at least 55 of Scotland’s 59 seats compared to just one for the Labour, one for the Tories and one for the Liberal Democrats.

Nicola Sturgeon after casting her ballot at Broomhouse Community Hall in Broomhouse, Scotland

Oh dear. It has not been a good night for the Lib Dems.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, says Scotland must prepare for a second referendum.

Meanwhile, Charles Kennedy - who lost his seat to SNP - calls tonight the "Night of the long sgian dubhs".

Nick Clegg said he would be discussing his leadership with Liberal Democrat colleagues after a "cruel and punishing night for his party".

Miliband on a 'disappointing and difficult night'

05.,30 Charles Kennedy is the latest in a series of high profile Labour and Lib Dem MPs to have lost their seats to SNP.

Earlier this evening, Douglas Alexander, Labour's shadow foreign secretary, lost his seat to Mhairi Black, a 20-year old student representing SNP is the youngest MP in more than 300 years.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also lost his seat in East Renfrewshire to SNP.
Lib Dem ex-business minister Jo Swinson lost her east Dunbartonshire to the SNP.

05.25 Yet another high profile loss for the Lib Dems in Scotland, as Charles Kennedy loses his Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat to the SNP's Ian Blackford - an old adversary of Alex Salmond.
Geographically this is the UK's largest seat - most settlements are extremely remote and sparsely populated. It includes Ben Nevis, the UK's tallest peak.

Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, was elected here in 1983 in the SDP's only gain. He was reelected in 2010 with over 50% of the vote, but it seems even the traditionally liberal Highlands were not safe from the SNP's surge.

News just in from Simon Johnson, our Scottish political editor:
Recount in Berwickshire Roxburgh and Selkirk. The incumbent is Michael Moore, the Lib Dem former Scottish Secretary, but it is thought that it will be taken by either the Tories or the SNP

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Tories, congratulates David Mundell, the only Tory MP in Scotland so far.

If you are still awake, give yourself a pat on the back - you are a real trooper.
If you are flagging, here are seven tips for staying awake all night, courtesy of Telegraph Men.

David Mundell, the only Tory MP in Scotland last time, holds on in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

This is the Conservatives' sole Scottish seat since 2005. They had 36 in 1955.
Mundell is (somewhat inevitably) a minister in the Scottish Office. Labour were his closest challenger in 2010, albeit 9% back, but the SNP have surged since then and Ashcroft had them level with Mundell in a February poll. The Tories faced being wiped out in Scotland for the second time if he faltered.

He managed to hold on to the seat, but it was a close shave. Mundell had 20,759 votes versus 19,961 for SNP's Emma Harper.

It means Scotland is likely to have at least as many Conservative as Labour MPs! The Tories could also win the neighbouring Scottish Border seat.

Elsewhere, more SNP victories in Edinburgh East (from Labour) and in Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross (from Lib Dem)

Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross has a colourful electoral history. There's a strong Liberal tradition - the party's leader at the 1945 election, Archibald Sinclair, was the MP here for 23 years - which continues to this day in the form of Lib Dem incumbent Robert Maclennan, who came from Labour via the Social Democrats, and briefly led the party.

04.35 Labour hold a Scottish seat
The unthinkable has happened - Labour has managed to hold a seat in Scotland.
Labour's Ian Murray has held Edinburgh South with a slim majority. Labour won 19,293 votes, compared to SNP's 16,656

BIG NEWS - Labour wins what looks like its only seat in Scotland. Ian Murray holds Edinburgh South. Neil Hay, his SNP opponent, was exposed as being a Cybernat troll during the campaign

Ben Riley-Smith reports from Alex Salmond's count in Gordon.
Alex Salmond is an MP again. The former First Minister has just been elected in Gordon.

04.15 Calls for Jim Murphy to resign
Labour's Ian Davidson, who lost his Glasgow South-West seat to the SNP, said Mr Murphy could not now continue as leader and called on him to resign. He told the BBC:

He was elected as party leader on the basis that he was an MP. Only MPs and MSPs can stand for the leadership.

Morally, as the man who has led us to the biggest ever disaster that Labour has suffered in Scotland ... of course he can't continue.

The process of rebuilding the Labour party has got to start with an examination of both personnel and ideas.

And therefore Jim has got to do the honourable thing and resign. I'm sure once he has got time to reflect, he will do that.

04.10 Mhairi Black: Britain's youngest MP for 350 years

04.05 Alistair Darling's former seat of Edinburgh South West goes to the SNP

04.00 The first Scottish seat has been won by a party other than the SNP - Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, holds on in Orkney and Shetland

This seat represented the Lib Dems' highest share of the vote in 2010 and one of their last remaining bastions in Scotland. In fact, some projections put this as the only Lib Dem win north of the border. Throughout the 1950s, this was the Liberals' only Scottish seat.

Although the SNP looks like it is being denied the chance to hold a power balance at Westminster and back a Labour government, many of its critics claim that another Tory government is exactly what the Nats desire.

Although Ms Sturgeon has hotly denied this, many nationalists reckon that they have a better chance of achieving independence if they have a right wing government in London pursuing policies that would be unpopular in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon has told BBC Scotland: "This is shaping up to be an outstandingly good night for the SNP but I think a good night for Scotland. The tectonic plates of Scottish politics have clearly shifted – what we are seeing is a historic shift in Scottish political opinion.

“It hasn’t happened overnight, not even in the last seven months since the referendum, although that’s accelerated the process, but Labour has been losing the trust of people in Scotland now over a period of years.”

Miss Sturgeon rode a wave of support north of the border throughout the campaign (Getty Images)

Rejecting Labour claims he is to blame for Mr Cameron’s imminent victory, she said that if the parliamentary arithmetic does not mean the Tories can be “locked out” of Downing Street “that will be because Labour has failed to beat the Conservatives in England. Labour cannot blame the SNP for that.”

Ms Sturgeon insisted she would not do a deal with the Prime Minister to get full fiscal autonomy, adding: “The Tories cannot ignore what has happened in Scotland tonight – Scotland has clearly voted for an end to austerity and more investment in our public services and a stronger economy. These are the messages we will now take to the very heart of Westminster.”

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