IT was the famous Clydeside socialist Jimmy Reid who said: "I didn't leave the Labour Party, the Labour Party left me." Whatever way you look at it, many thousands left Labour behind in a quite sensational vote last Thursday.

As a political anorak I sat up to 5.20am just after the Cunninghame North result was declared (you have to wonder why it took so long considering there was no doubt about the outcome from 2am onwards).

As a seasoned observer of electioneering I had remarked to people that I couldn't recall such simmering hatred between parties, Labour and SNP.

From where I was sitting - as the recipient of articles, letters and emails to the editor - you could see the dirty tricks, lies and loathing between certain candidates' camps.

My conclusion is that Labour got its comeuppance for its dependence on scare tactics and abusive comments.

In the newspaper Portakabin by the sea, where I work, we had Labour HQ "officials" threatening to sue a fellow editor if they published a story,and suggesting to me that I continue to run with an attack on Kenneth Gibson in successive weeks.

Locally, despite Mr Gibson stating categorically and publicly on at least six occasions that he was against the proposed coal power plant and, indeed, that it was "dead in the water" Largs Labour people repeatedly submitted statements, right up to election week, declaring that the SNP man was in favour of the plan.

It was desperation, reflected in the results which are the most incredible I have ever witnessed in my lifetime.

For those of us for whom election nights are like watching cup finals roll on the council vote next year. Is Labour's tenuous hold on North Ayrshire to be swept away?

In fact, from what I hear Labour may not see out the year 'in control' of NAC. Veteran councillor David Munn has announced his retiral and anonymous Kilwinning Labour councillor Margaret McDougall has become an MSP by default on the List system.

Although Mrs McDougall wants to hold on to her £16,000 a year council pay packet as well as her £60,000 salary at Holyrood (obviously a working class socialist) they are not likely to see much of her around the council chamber.