IF you were taken aback by the General Election results, then you are far from alone.
The almost clean sweep of a No voting city such as Edinburgh, with its multi-national, generally more affluent population, shows the breadth of appeal the SNP now enjoys. It is not just the number of seats that they have won that is remarkable but the scale of the vote for them in many constituencies. No-one was really prepared for this, not even the party’s astute leadership team.
They expected success, but not on this level. They didn’t imagine that they would be sending 56 MPs to Westminster and they didn’t expect to be sitting idle today rather than preparing for negotiations about supporting a minority government. So what do our new representatives do now with the considerable voice and influence we have handed to them?
One of the hallmarks of Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership, as distinct from Alex Salmond’s, is that she has promised to use whatever sway the party has for the common good of all across the United Kingdom. That is something that many voters, who gave their support to the SNP after hearing that pledge, will expect our new MPs to do.
Of course, they will also expect them to be a strong voice for Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland, pursuing our interests with vigour. There is no reason why the two cannot sit side-by-side within a party committed to social justice.
There is a wealth of talent among our new intake of MPs across the Lothians, including leading lawyer Joanna Cherry QC and Stand comedy club entrepreneur Tommy Sheppard.
As backbench opposition MPs at Westminster, they hold no power, but collectively they wield plenty of clout, especially when the new government has such a slender majority. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to play their part in building a stronger and fairer society for all.