The moment the exit polls landed at 10.30 pm at East Dunbartonshire, forecasting that the Scottish National Party would replicate their clean sweep of Scotland in 2015 and grab as many as 55 seats, the effort of Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was on damage management.
A campaign spokesman told journalists that the celebration didn’t hold much stock by the surveys, particularly considering that pollsters visited only 12 Scottish constituencies from 144 nationwide. But we were told, without doubt, that Jo’wouldn’t be performing interviews’.
As the results started to come in revealing enormous SNP swings in marginal seats and enormous majorities for candidates like Mhairi Black, in neighboring Paisley, it started to seem as the exits were as they have tended to maintain prior elections – strikingly authentic.
With the vast majority of over 5,000, Swinson’s chair wasn’t as marginal as a few here in Scotland, however, the SNP had poured funds into East Dunbartonshire and its 27-year-old candidate Amy Callaghan also was searching for a dominant scalp north of this boundary.
About the TVs dotted around the Leisuredome complicated just outside the city of Kirkintilloch, in Glasgow’s commuter belt, the outcomes steamed in and afterward, approximately 1.30 am, Jo Swinson was filmed getting into her car in her house near and heading into the entrance.
The media pack, at the very least a dozen powerful, assembled three deep from the narrow entry, together with microphones, cameras and movie crews jostling for place. By 2.10’m there was no indication of the Liberal Democrat leader.
At 3 am, officials in the leisure center milled around the lobby telling journalists that the count was anticipated at 15 minutes – ten minutes afterward, Swinson finally came, forcing her way through the media pack as journalists cried: “Can you lose your chair, Ms. Swinson”.
The deadline for the count then went and came. At the reception, we watched that a Swinson campaigner pacing, speaking on the telephone, then shaking his head.
Eight minutes after, it was over – Swinson had dropped by only 149 votes.
“We’re truthful about what we believe in and what we had been attempting to accomplish,” she explained.
“This is a drawback for liberal values. However, there are huge numbers of people throughout the nation who believe in them. By coming together to battle for them, we could make a positive future.”
But unlike most MPs, she’s in fact in the constituency, born and raised in East Dunbartonshire and that will be the second time in four decades that she’s lost her chair into the SNP.
Given Johnson’s large majority in parliament following last night’s poll, it will probably be at least five years before the UK has yet another election. That usually means that Swinson, together with Chuka Umunna and Sam Gyimah, that had been defeated last night, will probably be from this game for a while.
There’ll be much dependence on who’s to blame for demolition of the Liberal Democrats – and, really, Labour – north of their boundary on December 13. Jeremy Corbyn declared he was stepping down as chief least nighttime since the party lost all of its chairs in Scotland.
Paul Sweeney, a rising star of this Corbynite abandoned, was defeated in Glasgow North East while Matt Kerr, yet another Labour Scot on the left of this celebration, was beaten in Glasgow South West.
In promising to reverse Article 50 and cancel Brexit, Jo Swinson was expecting to rally remainers for her origin – and even though there are more of these in Scotland than in England, it did not help her Nicola Sturgeon’s anti-Brexit message was more powerful and much better articulated.
True to her effort’s prior claim, Swinson gave no interviews because she abandoned the Leisuredome at East Dunbartonshire in the wee hours of the morning. After only a couple of weeks from the limelight, she left by a side door, in the rain, darkness, and chill of this Glasgow dawn.