Why Scottish election will still be 'intoxicating' despite expected result - Conor Matchett

It has been billed as the most important election in Scotland’s history, but with just days to go it seems like not much is going to change when the ballots are finally counted.

The result – likely to be finally confirmed on Saturday evening, later than usual due to the strange new Covid world in which we are experiencing this election – is already easy to predict.

It is a question of by how much rather than ‘if’ when it comes to the SNP’s victory, with neither of Nicola Sturgeon’s two biggest rivals in Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar or the Scottish Conservatives’ Douglas Ross even pretending they will come close.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tries out a scooter in Troon during campaigning for the Scottish Parliamentary election. Picture: Andy Buchanan/PA Wire

Should the SNP win a majority (unlikely) or alongside the Greens be returned with a pro-independence majority in Holyrood (almost guaranteed), Scotland will be thrust straight into the arms of constitutional debate once more.

It could pave the way towards indyref2, a court battle with the UK Government and more wars of words in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

If Alex Salmond’s new Alba party returns any seats, expect that to be dialled up to 11, especially if the former first minister himself makes a return.

As the result is considered a foregone conclusion by most in the political bubble and probably even by those voting, election day could become a major anti-climax for those expecting earthquakes.

Should the polls be right, Scotland may be looking at another five years of exactly the same politics, almost down to the number of MSPs for each party.

Even if that is the case, the excitement of watching it play out will be something I will enjoy.

With the SNP’s overall majority up to how around 5,000 people vote in certain constituencies across the country, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on places like Dumbarton, Ayr, Eastwood and Edinburgh for an inkling of which way people have voted and the final make-up of Holyrood.

That part of an election – the not knowing what exactly might happen part – is always intoxicating when so much hangs in the balance and I’m looking forward to it.

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