Leader: Referendum fault lines remain in city

JUST when we thought politics in Scotland might be in danger of getting boring along come a few more surprises.

Saturday, 7th May 2016, 12:42 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th May 2016, 1:52 pm
few seriously expected Ruth Davidsons Conservatives to do so well. Picture: Getty
few seriously expected Ruth Davidsons Conservatives to do so well. Picture: Getty

Who could have predicted Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems all gaining seats from the SNP? And that is just in the Capital.

Everyone expected the SNP to win handsomely, which they did, even if it was without their previous seismic majority. But, despite the mounting speculation in recent weeks, few seriously expected Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives to do so well. Labour’s pummelling was more widely predicted, and was partly down to the perceived failings of the party’s UK leadership, but proposing a series of tax rises put off many too.

Scottish politics is still going through dramatic changes, but one thing that yesterday’s results seem to show is that, in Edinburgh at least, the fault lines created by the referendum remain. Where one party managed to establish itself as a credible “stop the SNP” ticket they were able to gain some success, otherwise the SNP had it almost all their own way.

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The arrival of land reform campaigner Andy Wightman at Holyrood as one of two Green MSPs representing the Lothians will be widely welcomed. Since the sad passing of Margo MacDonald, Holyrood has been a little short of strong-willed and truly independent-minded minds. Every parliament needs its “awkward squad” to question and challenge conventional thinking and there is no doubt that is exactly what he will do.

What matters now, though, is what our elected members can do to make life better in Scotland.

The housing crisis is one the biggest challenges facing those of us living and working in the Capital.

A simplified planning system which would help fast-track housebuilding on land that has been identified as suitable for development would be a good start.