This election was always going to be difficult for SNP.
The 2015 election after the independence referendum was exceptional and unlikely to be repeated. Similarly, winning four out of the five seats in the Capital equally so.
However, that gloss was also tarnished by troubles besetting their MP in Edinburgh West, which saw them lose the Holyrood seat last year. That election also saw the beginning of a return to more normal voting patterns in Auld Reekie.
After all, until the 1997 wipeout there had been significant support for the Conservatives in the Capital. The seat won by Ruth Davidson and the vote polled by them overall though still didn’t get back to the levels gained in the 1980s and 90s.
The council election just last month showed the SNP still ahead but with the Tories on their coat-tails. Moreover, that election saw Labour holding in areas of the city and doing well in East Lothian and Midlothian.
After 10 years in power at Holyrood, the shine begins to come off any administration and the SNP has proved to be no different. Accordingly, despite this being a Westminster election, the SNP were facing an “incumbency factor” from Holyrood. Health and education challenged candidates even though they are reserved issues and outwith their responsibility.
But perception and momentum are everything in politics, hence why yesterday’s results are unquestionably a defeat for the SNP. Moreover, the loss of several big hitters will have the party faithful reeling.
However, once the initial despair has subsided among party activists, a more reflective view will see them not just stoic but with all to play for. After all, the party holds seats and a share of the vote others still dream of.
The Tories have advanced in Scotland but Theresa May has taken them backwards in England. The Prime Minister’s coat is on a shoogly peg. An anti-Corbyn Labour Party have made gains in Scotland but find him emboldened there.
It’s been a strange election and there’s still all to play for. In the new game the SNP are strengthened, even if diminished in numbers.