ON the night that should be remembered as the Great Surge of Scotland, local history was made in the nation’s capital city which not only elected its first SNP MPs, but saw its political map re-drawn as never before.

Historic is the only word for results which saw the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard, Deirdre Brock, Joanna Cherry, and Michelle Thomson take the East, North & Leith, South West, and West constituencies in an unprecedented achievement by the party in Edinburgh.

History was made again with the election of three women MPs — the first time any of the four major Scottish cities has had a majority of women MPs.

Labour’s Ian Murray narrowly held on to Edinburgh South, where SNP candidate Neil Hay was involved in a manufactured social media scandal about a perceived insult to elderly people that his colleagues said cost him many votes.

Labour lost three seats and the Liberal Democrats one, and in only one seat — Edinburgh South West — was there an incumbent MP standing down – Alistair Darling, no less, and if he had stood, he would have been thumped, too.

The Liberal Democrats saw their vote slashed while UKIP and the Greens made no major showing, the Conservative vote holding up well in some areas.

Long before the impressive returning officer, Dame Sue Bruce, read out the last results of her local government career, the overall result was clear. It was going to be the SNP’s night.

The faces of Labour people at the counts in the plush Edinburgh International Conference Centre all too graphically told the story of the demise of a political party the like of which had not been seen in the city and the country since the Tories gained zero seats in 1997.

All the other parties had known the polls were for the SNP and against them, but nothing could prepare the Labourites for the humiliation they suffered.

There was individual disaster, too, for the likes of Mark Lazarowicz and Sheila Gilmore, both decent hard-working constituency MPs who suffered defeat in the way that sand castles are swept away by the tide — nothing they could individually have done would have kept them in their jobs as the people of Scotland comprehensively rejected Labour.

They are both lawyers so will presumably be able to make a living, and they took defeat with good grace. Lazarowicz was particularly sanguine, saying “movements and tides happen.”

Indeed, it has to be said that the vast majority of the losing candidates and their aides and assistants, the people who usually populate these counts, displayed impeccable manners.

The mystery for psephologists and pundits alike is how the capital, which had overwhelmingly voted No last September, could return a quartet of SNP MPs — even Edinburgh West had voted 65% No.

A few Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour activists were seen drifting away long before 3am, their faces registering complete resignation. They knew their parties had been pulped, and like football fans leaving the stadium at half-time, they were not prepared to wait for the obsequies.

There was evidence, albeit scant, of possible interference with the democratic process, the first of which was a rumour of a missing box in Edinburgh South — a miscount rather than larceny, as it turned out — and a much more serious claim of ‘personation’, the criminal offence of illegally impersonating another voter with the intention of using their vote. The police were last night looking into two such cases, both in the Edinburgh South constituency.

As the wee sma’ hours arrived, the only question was whether the SNP would win all five seats or “merely” four.

As the news came through of SNP win after extraordinary SNP win across Scotland, the cheers could be heard in various parts of the sprawling EICC. The demise of Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy and Margaret Curran each provoked most unEdinburgh-like displays of emotion.

Andrew Marr on television raised a guffaw when he said the SNP were not the Vietcong coming to raid England of its money — “aye we are” said one observer. In jest, of course.

Joanna Cherry, winner in Edinburgh South West, spoke for all the new SNP MPs in Edinburgh: “The people of Scotland have spoken very loudly tonight. It’s time for their voice to be heard in Westminster. This is the most incredibly proud moment of my life, and I am so privileged to be entrusted by the people of South-West Edinburgh to be part of that voice.”