Blog: Thick blue line of South Scotland Conservatives holding fast

Rachael Hamilton at the count in Kelso
Rachael Hamilton at the count in Kelso Credit: Scottish Borders Council

So far, the thick blue line of Conservative MSPs which went from Stranraer in the west to Eyemouth in the east has held.

We have one more of the seats in the very south to come tomorrow: Galloway and West Dumfries.

The Conservative Finlay Carson had a majority of just over 1,500 in 2016, and so the Tories cannot take it for granted.

However, given the results in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, and Dumfriesshire, the SNP will be doing well to take this seat. We will only know whether they have managed that tomorrow.

With swings across Scotland varying, it is hard to say whether the SNP will win an outright majority at Holyrood, which Nicola Sturgeon so craves.

What we can say for sure is that Ms Sturgeon and the SNP will form the next Scottish Government as the party will have by far the most seats.

That in itself is a considerable achievement. A fourth term for any party in an election is very, very rare anywhere across the world.

The SNP will say this proves Scots approve of her cautious centre-left governing style, her handling of the COVID pandemic, and that there is a mandate for a second independence referendum.

However, if the SNP manage to gain an overall majority of 65 seats or more at Holyrood, that will increase the pressure on Boris Johnson and Westminster to give legal consent to indyref2.

We can also say with some certainty that there will be a pro independence majority if even a handful of Scottish Green MSPs are elected, which looks likely.

The SNP's opponents are likely to argue that any lack of majority for the party itself, weakens the case for a second referendum. 

We have to wait to see if it's majority or minority government.  That is for tomorrow.