Edinburgh South represents a key battle seat between Labour and the SNP. But what does the election represent for Scotland?
Today there is huge hope. Not just in Edinburgh South, but in the entirety of Scotland. There is hope that this election will bring the voice Scots have been anticipating for so long.
Edinburgh South is a classic key battle seat. Labour and the SNP. Old against new. Last time out in 2010 Labour won a victory. Not a comfortable victory, but that time they were closely fought until the end by the Liberal Democrats. Ian Murray became an MP with his heart in his mouth and sweat binding his forehead, but he knew it would be a close call. This time there will be stress again, but Ian Murray may not be back in control of Edinburgh South.
From 2010 to 2015 the fortunes of the SNP have drastically changed. In Edinburgh South in 2010, they had just 8 per cent in the vote and won just six seats throughout Scotland. At the election last time out, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Tavish Scott laughed off the SNP manifesto, naming and shaming it as “a true Alex in Wonderland performance”. The Labour leader of Holyrood, Iain Gray, claimed that the SNP had just one policy, and that it was “fundamentally weak”. The SNP were mocked, discarded as irrelevant and laughable.
But the change implicit in Scottish politics has changed all that. Like other parties across Britain, like Plaid Cymru and the Green party, increasing support has made these parties invincible to these attacks. Claims that these parties are illegitimate are presently unfounded, purely because of the amount of support they have received in recent weeks.
SNP cars are the norm at the moment in Edinburgh. They hum through the streets somewhat quietly every day, with the Saltire and the SNP symbol adorning the window and back windscreen. They sense Edinburgh South is moving swiftly over to support the SNP, and that Neil Hay will quite possibly be the next candidate successfully sitting in the House of Commons.
This is the state Scottish politics are in. And yes some may call it a revolution, because parliamentary change is on the horizon, whether Labour and the Conservatives will admit it or not. The question for the whole of Great Britain is whether this change will be limited to Scotland, or whether the next election will see the emergence of a party who will have a significant say in the politics of Westminster. The hope is that the rest of Britain will see change is possible and imminent, and that other parties and other priorities can be representative in government. Other parties and priorities which fully match what people want coming out of Westminster.