Few of us could seriously have imagined just how much of a landslide the SNP would win the Westminster elections by. It is worth remembering that, until last month, the SNP record number of seats won at a UK general election was just eleven - and that was four decades ago.
In recent years we have performed strongly at Scottish, European and local government elections. Arguably this has been aided, in part, by varying forms of proportional representation. However, Westminster elections, which are still fought on a first-past-the-post basis, have proven an awful lot more difficult for us to crack. That is why our breakthrough is so significant.
The result on Thursday 7th May means that we now hold an astonishing ninety-four percent of Scotland’s Westminster parliamentary seats. Even now, as I type this article, it is still difficult to quite comprehend the sheer scale of our victory and what it means for the future of Scotland.
Stunning though our result was, the overall UK election result has just as dramatic consequences which are quite rightly causing alarm bells to ring loudly in Brussels. With the Conservatives surprising everyone - not least the pollsters - by securing a majority in the House of Commons, it now means that an in-out referendum is likely to be held in or before 2017, concerning the UK’s membership of the European Union.
It is no secret that large parts of these islands, not least England, have been gravitating towards an increasingly hostile, right wing, Eurosceptic policy agenda for several years. I fear that a majority Conservative Government will do no good whatsoever to quell that little England mind set so revered by UK politicians reacting to UKIP.
We fought the UK election on the basic argument that a strong team of SNP MPs would stand up for Scotland in the British Parliament. This is more important than ever when it comes to the subject of our continued membership of the European Union.
Scotland stands to lose a lot if we are dragged out of the EU by Westminster. The fact remains that withdrawing from the European Union would put 336,000 Scottish jobs at risk. Not only that, but Regional Development Funds and European Social Funds bring just under €1 billion to Scotland, helping to boost growth, employment and tackle poverty.
Whilst Europe isn’t entirely perfect, it is still enormously beneficial to Scotland when it comes to trade, investment and free movement of people. That is why the Scottish Government published an agenda for EU reform which is measured, sensible and charts a clear way forward for Scotland to remain an integral part of the European Union and enjoying the benefits of its membership but also ironing out some of Europe’s flaws.
Whilst the Prime Minister goes around Europe making outlandish demands to curb free movement of people – which is a fundamental principle of the EU enjoyed by many Scots – you can be assured that our strong team of SNP MPs will be doing everything possible in the House of Commons to protect Scotland’s interests and safeguard our EU membership.