I've just caught up with the news of the SNP's sensational Highland Council by-election gain on Thursday, with the party's share of the vote almost tripling. Rather irritatingly, the full first preference results don't seem to be availaible anywhere on the internet, and I see that Vote 2007 stalwart John Loony has sent a politely irate email to the council's chief executive demanding that this oversight be put right forthwith! However, extrapolating from the partial figures contained in the SNP's press release, these seem to be the percentage changes for the main parties -
SNP up 30
Labour up 5 or 6
Liberal Democrats down 6
It's fairly obvious from these figures that the bulk of the SNP vote is made up of former backers of independent candidates, which - a little like the Paisley by-election a few weeks ago - makes it slightly harder to pin down what real movement is going on between the main parties. Nevertheless, the result is another hugely positive straw in the wind, and hopefully indicates that the SNP are the party best-placed to reap the benefit of any Lib Dem collapse in the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross seat on May 5th.