Politicians must not get too big for their boots - Brian Monteith

Hubris is the most damaging force in British politics. It is the 'green kryptonite' that kills politicians' careers and last night it was abundant across Scotland and the whole of the UK, as hubris ate away at some very big personalities '“ and turned upside down many of the predictions of pollsters and commentators.

Brian Monteith. Picture; Neil Hanna
Brian Monteith. Picture; Neil Hanna

In Scotland there has been a revival of the Unionist parties, with Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all making significant gains in the number of their elected members at Westminster. And gone is the Parliamentary leader of the SNP, Angus Robertson, losing his Moray seat to the Tory Douglas Ross.

Indeed, whole swathes of the south of Scotland have been painted blue, including a surprise win in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock. The Tories also made gains in the three neighbouring seats of Aberdeen South, Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine and Angus – and further south in Stirling, East Renfrewshire and, surprisingly, in Ochil & South Perthshire.

Labour has had a better night than expected, winning East Lothian and Midlothian as well as Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

The Lib Dems have also had a good night, with a win for my old friend Jamie Stone in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, while also retaking Edinburgh West and East Dunbartonshire.


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Theresa May has displayed hubris by believing the publicity and polling that said she had an unassailable lead over Jeremy Corbyn and then calling a surprise general election when she had said previously she would do no such thing. Now her premiership is on a shoogly peg and the vultures in her own party are circling above, so angered are they by her shambolic campaign.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has also come a cropper of her own hubris. Instead of making education her priority as she promised, she carped on and on about a second independence referendum so much that her party has suffered a major setback – losing seats in every corner of the land. Peak SNP has passed. What an irony it will be if, as seems likely, it is the Scottish Tory seats that allow Mrs May to cling on to power.

As I type more results are still coming in and some big names are still facing the prospect of their hubris bringing them down. The lesson is stark: politicians must keep their feet on the ground and not become too big for their boots – the Scottish and British public just won’t stand for it.