The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Elections across England, Scotland and Wales – some national, some local, some for mayors, some for police and crime commissioners – and we ended up more or less where we started. The SNP is still in power in Scotland, Welsh Labour will still dominate the Senedd, and Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan will continue their roles as mayors of Manchester and London.
So how did we get here? And what does it mean for homelessness in the UK?
In Scotland, the campaign was more or less what you’d expect – dominated by discussion of a potential second referendum on independence, questions over pandemic leadership and a series of increasingly bizarre stunts.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar danced on TikTok although, to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t enough to turn the party’s fortunes around. Nicola Sturgeon was seen performing dental operations on a giant stuffed dinosaur (it’s called the Dentosaurus, if you’re interested) and the Lib Dems invested a surprising amount of their energy on an apparent attempt to make leader Willie Rennie look tiny, by taking photos of him standing next to giant things. That one was never really explained.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, checks the teeth of "Dentosaurus" during a visit to the Thornliebank Dental Care centre in Glasgow during the election campaign.
????Jane Barlow – see more at https://t.co/jR0m7riAHzpic.twitter.com/3LxpONn40P
— PA Images (@PAImages) April 16, 2021
But did any of it matter? Apparently not. Voters chose to mark one of the most tumultuous periods for Scottish politics since the formation of the Scottish Parliament by returning a very similar party make-up to the last session. The SNP fell short of a majority, meaning it will need to work with others – probably the Scottish Greens – to get key parts of its plans enacted, while it will also now hold a minority of positions on committees.