Its been a week of interesting elections - three of them. I got the results of two right - and one spectacularly wrong.
First up was Tuesday's US Presidential Election. Like almost everyone in the world, I'd expected Barack Obama to win. Although John McCain is a very special man, I would probably have allowed my heart to rule my head and voted for Obama myself. He's shown himself to be an inspirational politician. And there is no reason to believe that he will be any less 'conservative' than McCain would have been. His main message since has election has been about his commitment to economic recovery and tax cuts for 95% of American taxpayers. Only thing that worries me is the portrayal of the arrival of the new President elect as akin to the 'second coming'. Truth is that Obama cut his teeth in the tough and rough school of Chicargo politics. For all his charm, he must be a devious and unscrupulous operator to have survived. And he's chosen a brute as his Chief of Staff. His foreign policy is going to be dominated by a tougher line in Afghanistan and a hard line in Iran. His election promises us rather more charm from the occupant of the White House, who could well rebuild some love and respect for the US across the world. As always, Charles Moore has written a lovely piece on this today.
Second interesting election was Glenrothes on Thursday. I cannot understand why Labour's victory is being reported by the media as a surprise. Since Gordon Brown decided to visit the constituency himself, I've not had the slightest doubt that Labour would win. He would never have gone there unless his private polling was predicting victory. The margin was a surprise though. Even though I would like to be really churlish, I cannot deny that it was a good result for Labour, and poor for everyone else. It was particularly poor for the SNP. I can see that this opinion is challengable (because there was an 8% swing to the SNP). But in politics, momentum is everything. Labour managed 'expectation' in a very professional and cunning way, while Alex Salmond needed a setback to puncture the insufferable cockiness that seems to have infected him of late.
The third interesting election was for President of the Liberal Democrats. Well, it was of interest to me because I will be Lembit' Opik's Conservative opponent at the next General Election. I met Lembit on Welshpool's High Street yesterday, and he told me that he was confident of victory. Must admit that I agreed with him. Knowing how important 'name recognition' is in elections, I couldn't believe that someone so well known could lose to someone most of us had never heard of. And it wasn't just losing. This was the sort of result we expect to see in places like North Korea! I was truly astounded by the scale of Baroness Ros Scott's victory - 72% to 22%. Obama only won by 52% to 47%. I've no idea what this means for my own chances of becoming an MP - if anything.
Not many shopping days left before Xmas, so in this season of goodwill, this blog offers congratulations to Barack Obama, Lindsay Roy and Baroness Ros Scott.