Local elections: Making the right call for the party and Fife

Ward 12 is declared at the Fife count (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)
Ward 12 is declared at the Fife count (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Dave Dempsey was only half kidding when he said he was away home – he was expecting a phone call.

The Tory leader in Fife could be the deal maker when it comes to deciding who runs the region for the next five years.

His party made a string of gains from the west right along the coast. Even Cowdenbeath turned Tory blue!

And, with no party gaining outright control, he, and his parry, are very much in demand.

Or are they?

Labour and SNP both want to govern.

The Tories, with a block of 15 councillors, are one route they could go down.

Labour and SNP’s public stance is ‘‘no deal’’ – the nationalists going with a blunt ‘‘over my dead body’’ –but with a caveat which suggest that while they may reject coalition, they may be open to a mutually beneficial working agreement.

Dempsey said he was also open to making decisions on an issue by issue basis, so whoever makes the call make find a listening ear.

So, can Labour work with the Tories?

Some still blame their alliance in Better Together for their collapse north of the border, and a Tory-Labour pact, in whatever form it took, would be challenged relentlessly by the SNP.

And there’s a General Election looming in barely 30 days ...

The Lib Dems hold some sway, but with only seven councillors, it’s limited - an SNP-Lib Dem deal could be trumped easily by Labour and Tories aligning on any given vote.

So that takes you to a possible SNP-Labour administration.

Unthinkable to some, but perhaps the only option once the numbers are crunched.

All the party leaders are making the right noises, but the hard bargaining has yet to commence.

And the SNP’s approach may also be influenced by another curve ball from the electorate – who will emerge as its leader?

The unexpected loss of Neale Hanvey has handed the party a heck of a headache.

He was a first class councillor and leader – he will be a loss to the council as well as the SNP.

The fact his predecessor, Brian Goodall, was also defeated, has left the party with an urgent need to reshuffle its executive.

Karen Marjoram probably didn’t expect to end the day briefing the media as intertim leader, and the issue now is does she continue or will someone step up to the plate?

And if someone else takes up the role, will they have a different view on how to pursue forming an administration?

Would they go with the Tories – as the party has done elsewhere in Scotland – or would they opt for a centre-left alliance with their old adversaries in Labour?

If only we could listen in on those phone calls...