Well it's official - the SNP now have a majority in the Scottish Parliament with 21 seats still up for grabs. Unbelievable. Having sat up all through the night enjoying the banter at Subrosa's blog I'm still buzzing. Result after result just kept tumbling our way with some ludicrous swings to the SNP, principally (though not exclusively) from the Lib Dems.
Breaking the Glasgow Labour hegemony is surely a watershed moment in Scotland's modern political history. The habit of many lifetimes has been broken, once and forever. Now that people have come over to the SNP once they will surely find it much easier to do so in future.
The referendum is now a certainty, though I agree with Alex Salmond that this should not be rushed. It's a crucial vote for Scotland's future and the unofficial campaign for a Yes vote should begin right now. Opponents have already begun talking Scotland down (Danny Alexander conspicuously doing so on the BBC earlier today, happily falling into bed with Ed Balls of all people).
Top priority for the SNP though must be getting enhanced powers for Holyrood asap. My great fear is that the reality of cuts to the Scottish block grant will make manifesto commitments extremely difficult to deliver. And we can't use the excuse of minority government now. Labour will paint these as SNP cuts, despite the truth that they are coming from Westminster and are due to Labour's 13 years of misrule. The solution is to gain the extra powers that will allow us to lift our economy up towards its potential. Once that is done we will be in a much better position to persuade the electorate that Scotland's future will best be served as an independent nation, able to govern itself according to its own priorities, taking its place with the other free nations of the world and cooperating with them where common interests occur. We must all play our part in lifting our nation up.