THE NEW BRITAIN: Voters of all hues make up for 20 years of deficient democracy

SCOTLAND

"NEW SCOTLAND starts with a fiasco," declared Edinburgh's Evening News as the Holyrood Parliament began to take shape.

Yet the headline writers were not lambasting the politicians. Scotland's fiasco was relatively minor: a walk-out by vote-tellers which left Edinburgh slower than Orkney in declaring its results. In fact, the transition to home rule has been remarkably smooth.

The result roughly fits the desires of Scotland. In opinion polls just before this week's election, fewer than 40 per cent of Scots said they wanted independence. But neither did they want the Parliament to be a one-party state, a Labour-dominated "big toon council" writ large.

Most Scots - 55 per cent according to an ICM poll for the Scotsman - wanted a Labour coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Indeed, two-thirds of Labour voters preferred such a coalition to soldiering on with a minority government tacitly supported by the Tories.

The new system has resolved the democratic deficit under nearly two decades of Tory government, which Scotland consistently rejected in ever clearer terms. Diversity has also been acknowledged with the election of three independents - two left-wing candidates, Tommy Sheridan and Dennis Canavan, and Green politician Robin Harper.

It has also ended a profound if unnoticed injustice - the disenfranchisement of Tory voters in Scotland. Despite reports to the contrary, there are still plenty of Tory supporters. In the last general election, the party secured 17 per cent of the vote, but no Westminster seats, whereas the Liberal Democrats, on 13 per cent of the vote, won 10 seats. This time, the Tories won 18 seats, more than the Liberal Democrats, despite gaining a lower vote than in 1997.

It is expected that the 129 MSPs will elect Donald Dewar as their First Minister, probably on Thursday, via the new electronic voting system. Polls show that Mr Dewar would be the first choice of more than half of the electorate - only a quarter want Alex Salmond, the SNP leader.

The MSPs will be seated in their party groups when they are sworn in on Wednesday at the Parliament's temporary home, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In recognition of Scotland's ethnic diversity, they will be able to swear allegiance to the Queen in Scottish Gaelic, Cantonese, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati or Hindi. The MSPs' time will be spent on procedural issues until the state opening on 1 July, when the Parliament will be invested formally with legislative and tax-raising powers.

The horseshoe shape of the Parliament is meant to signal a move away from Westminster-style antagonistic exchanges. Those who have watched this first election campaign suspect that may be wishful thinking.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Sport
Heskey's aim has improved since the end of his English football career

Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.

News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam