LAST month, First Minister Alex Salmond set out the SNP’s target for the local government elections: “Our aim is to win more votes and more seats than any other political party across Scotland.” I wouldn’t often bet against Salmond – yesterday he proved yet again why.
By 4pm, his party had gone past 400 councillors, 37 more than in 2007, and he told BBC Scotland: “When all the dust is settled, the SNP will have more councillors than any other party in Scotland, and in that sense we will have won the election.”
And so it was – with 424 councillors, winning outright majority in two councils and the largest political party in ten local authorities, far more than in 2007. That means the SNP is the largest party at council level, at parliamentary level and in membership.
The Greens had a decent result, and Labour is celebrating coming in second overall, importantly holding on to Glasgow.
The beleaguered Lib Dem Edinburgh council leader, Jenny Dawe, lost her seat, and in Pentlands ward the Lib Dems were beaten by a penguin. That was just deserts for the trams fiasco.
This weekend is going to be fascinating, as wrangling becomes the focus in the tactical battle to form administrations, with the smaller parties, such as the Greens, the kingmakers. The political chess game is about to commence.
• Jennifer Dempsie is an adviser to the SNP and former special adviser to the First Minister