In a rock-safe Scottish seat – safer even than Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s – the Scottish National Party caber-tossed a massive Labour majority, Thursday.
John Mason defeated Margaret Curren in the Parliamentary by-election by 365 votes, with a 22.54 per cent swing that wiped-out an astonishing 13,507 vote majority.
Although the percentage of the Glasgow East constituency that turned out to vote was 6% down on the 2005 General Election, indicating a crucial number of Labour voters stayed at home, many observers see the result as a watershed in British politics.
Mr Mason said: "This SNP victory is not just a political earthquake, it is off the Richter scale… and the tremors will be felt all the way to Downing Street."
Certainly, almost a year after Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair, this is a huge personal and political disaster from which the Prime Minister, and the United Kingdom, may never recover.
While Labour politicians have scrambled to blame the depressed global economy, high food and oil prices, and – in a poor region – the loss of the 10p income tax band for the vote it is hard to ignore the possibility that the genie of a Scottish political renaissance has escaped the ‘Bottler’ Brown.
First the SNP’s leader Alex Salmond shocked Labour in 2007 becoming the first nationalist First Minister following three consecutive Labour victories since the devolved Scottish government’s inaugural elections in 1999.
Now the prospect of browining-out Labour from the Scottish political scene at the Westminster Parliament when the next General Election is called comes a ceilidh skip closer.
More than ever the ex-Iron Chancellor, hoisted high and helpless by his own economic trousers, must regret not calling a snap election in Autum 2007.