A boring election, they said. No. This weekend we can reflect on one of the most impactful and consequential general elections in many of our lifetimes, and one which could have a dramatic impact on the UK, but also on Scotland’s political parties, on Scotland’s parliament, and on Scotland’s government after the 2026 elections to Holyrood.

There are micro stories, everywhere. The defenestration of a few Labour MPs by activist candidates unhappy with Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on Israel and Gaza is primarily of note because one of those activists almost unseated the revolutionary incoming Health Secretary Wes Streeting, in a heart-stopping moment for those of us who believe in the urgent need for reform of the NHS.

The Lib Dems’ massive seat increase took place on an almost identical vote share to 2019. The Greens’ achievement in a first past the post electoral system - winning four seats - is notable.

However, they are outweighed by the macro stories which emerged, widespread, across the UK, as results came in. Let’s look first at Labour’s vote share. At just one-third of the voting electorate, it is more than ten per cent lower than regular polling had suggested.

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This is not a shock in itself - it is entirely normal and predictable that the snapshot polling for an opposition party is higher than ‘real life’, and it had already been proven in the English local elections in May. Nonetheless, although the party will rightly be in celebratory mode, those whose job it is to ensure 10 or 15 years in government will have an eye on the vote share and will be, at least, mildly concerned.

In Scotland, Anas Sarwar’s job will be to ride the wave for the next couple of years and hope that the ‘change’ message can be as powerful in the 2026 Holyrood election as it has been in Westminster.

It is less than clear that this is a fait accompli. Scotland has a history, albeit before the independence referendum, of voting differently at Holyrood than at Westminster. Indeed, the SNP won more seats on Thursday than it won in 2010, a year before it won an almost unthinkable majority at Holyrood in 2026.

For the SNP, though, such a prospect seems far away. If there is a silver lining to the slaughter the party endured on Thursday, it is that it gives First Minister John Swinney, and his Deputy Kate Forbes, carte blanche to finish the job they started.

When they took control of the SNP and the government Mr Swinney and Ms Forbes reaffirmed the party’s commitment to focussing on the issues that matter to centrist voters rather than obsessing about fluffy irrelevances.

Nigel Farage won a Westminster seat for the first timeNigel Farage won a Westminster seat for the first time (Image: free)

The truth is the SNP has had this coming for a decade. Since the independence referendum, it has singularly failed to stick to its knitting. It took its eye off the economy to the point where it astonishingly had to persistently reaffirm that it believes in economic growth; it lost control of the education and health services to the point where they are now so cumbersome, inefficient and ineffective that they are very difficult to reform; and it failed to do the big things that the country needed it to, from building houses and roads to grasping the opportunity for energy wealth presented by our unique geography.

Mr Swinney and Ms Forbes need to rip it up - all of it - and start again, as a party of prosperity and sustainability, growth and aspiration, health and wealth.

The SNP’s official opposition, until Thursday, was the Tory party. That may have been a paper exercise hitherto, but it is now officially over. The Tories in Scotland have managed to hold five of their six seats, and invariably they will blame Reform for their woes. But with a share of the vote down from one-in-four to one-in-eight, by a distance its lowest vote share ever in a general election, and with the Scottish Parliament being based partly on proportional representation, at least one-third of the 31 Tory MSPs will be nervous.

Their nervousness might turn to rage. Douglas Ross may have lost his Westminster seat, but despite being stuck at Holyrood he has already pre-resigned as leader. So, there will be two leadership contests, one in London and one in Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh, the party’s hierarchy picked its continuity candidate the moment Mr Ross resigned. Russell Findlay, like Mr Ross, fights nationalists. That is his thing. But, as this election has shown, the voters have already moved on from the constitutional debate, and by taking the independence debate off the table the electorate has returned the Tory party to its core vote. Mr Findlay may be the continuity candidate, but judging by the volume of private messages I have received from Tory MSPs since the results emerged, continuity won’t cut it.

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They see the future, and they don’t like it. With Penny Mordaunt losing her seat, their hopes of a moderate leader of the Tory party in London look bleak. Nigel Farage MP may only have 5 MPs, but the fox is in the henhouse now, he brings with him 15 per cent of the vote, and the contenders for the Tory party’s leadership will either want or need (or both) his endorsement if they want the rank-and-file members of the Tory party to elect them as their new leader.

Mr Farage is now the majority shareholder in the Conservative Party. Most Tory MSPs are petrified enough by that prospect to think the unthinkable.

This general election had a predictable winner. But under the bonnet, there is chaos, everywhere.

Andy Maciver is Founding Director of Message Matters and Zero Matters and a former Scottish Tory communications chief