Edinburgh Election 2021 results: Race for Capital seats proves a damp squib
Although the rain was mercifully kept out by the roof of the Royal Highland Centre, the election race for the first three Edinburgh constituencies was something of a damp squib.
The periodic downpours which lashed the metal roof sometimes made conversation inside the building – essentially a giant barn used for the Royal Highland Show – virtually impossible, but it was clear early on who would be the prize bulls.
Edinburgh Southern, Edinburgh Central and Edinburgh Western were all set to be marginals, with the SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Tories really targeting the capital as a place to make electoral gains.
However, soon after the ballot boxes were emptied, the results of the three constituencies became clear as informal counting by party activists was relayed back to journalists – the Lib Dems would hold Edinburgh Western comfortably, Edinburgh Southern would stick with Labour, and the SNP would take Edinburgh Central.
There was some surprise at the collapse of the Tory vote in Edinburgh Central, with Corstorphine and Murrayfield councillor Scott Douglas unable to defend Ruth Davidson’s former seat from SNP grandee Angus Robertson
But Mr Robertson’s big-name recognition cut through and the result was obvious early on in the counting process.
Lib Dem candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton posted an unassailable lead in Edinburgh Western very early on in the day, closely followed by Labour candidate Daniel Johnson becoming the clear favourite in Edinburgh Southern during the afternoon.
In the end, the announcement of the results felt like something of a formality.
As well as the intermittent wall of noise caused by downpours, the atmosphere in the counting hall was somewhat subdued by the reduced numbers of activists and counters in comparison to previous years.
Candidates were only allowed to be accompanied by a skeleton crew and counters had to be spaced out, with only two at a table, due to social distancing rules.
Being suitably distanced turned out to be a blessing, however, as the huge, peach ballot papers approached 18 inches when unfolded on the desks.
According to Edinburgh City Council, each counter was kept in high spirits, and high blood sugar levels, by council officers distributing 3,744 Glacier Mints. These were not made available to journalists.