Holyrood 2016: Spring in step of Edinburgh’s Tory supporters

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson secured Edinburgh Central. Picture: Neil Hanna

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson secured Edinburgh Central. Picture: Neil Hanna

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Spring was in the air. From the hyacinth colours of peach and lilac voting slips to a new bounce in the step of Conservative party members, the season of change and rebirth swept through Ingliston’s Highland Hall last night and into the early hours of this morning.

For the first time in decades Conservative supporters paraded around an Edinburgh election count, blue rosettes pinned proudly to chests, rather than collecting in corners swapping tales of the abuse received on the election trail.

They knew who they had to thank – leader Ruth Davidson whose personality-driven campaign is said to have “detoxified” the Tory brand.

READ MORE: Dani Garavelli: Little sign of Tory revival in Edinburgh Central

Certainly they greeted her with the kind of adulation once reserved for politicians of the ilk of Tony Blair when she arrived: a not-quite conquering hero.

But why not? It has taken three decades for them to feel able to hold their heads up again.

Green shoots were also evident in the formerly hibernating Liberal Democrat vote – Alex Cole-Hamilton taking the Edinburgh Western seat from the SNP.

Only the red roses on the lapels of Labour activists appeared to be still touched by cruel winter.

While there was jubilation at the result in Edinburgh Southern – and that of Iain Gray being returned in East Lothian – it was tempered by the fact that their leader, Kezia Dugdale, could not overturn the SNP in Eastern and be elected as a constituency MSP.

The first result of the night though went to the victorious national party, the SNP taking the seat of Edinburgh Northern and Leith, long held by Labour and made vacant by the retirement of Malcolm Chisholm.

What he will make of the new political spring in Edinburgh is not yet known – but we can imagine.

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