Thursday, December 10, 2015

SNP secure 8% swing in bilious Blantyre by-election brawl

Just for once, we have an STV by-election in which the party 'defending' the seat actually won the popular vote in the ward last time around. (So no need for any 'confusion' over at Liberal Democrat Voice or Stormfront Lite.)  Labour have clung on in Blantyre, but as you'd expect their 23% lead over the SNP from 2012 has been slashed.  It's interesting to see that Labour people on Twitter think that this result is "great", "AMAZING", "fantastic", "one hell of a hold", etc, etc - just how low are their expectations these days?

Blantyre by-election result (10th December) :

Labour 47.2% (-7.1)
SNP 39.6% (+9.0)
Conservatives 4.5% (+0.6)
SSP 3.9% (n/a)
Liberal Democrats 2.9% (+2.2)
UKIP 1.9% (n/a)

The SNP of course had a 1% nationwide lead in the 2012 local elections, so an 8% swing in a local by-election is considerably better than an 8% swing at the general election in May would have been.  This is the rough equivalent of a 19% or 20% swing at the general election - which admittedly is lower than the SNP actually achieved in most former Labour heartlands, but is still extremely impressive.

Even though Labour weren't far short of 50% on first preferences, the full five counts were required for their candidate Mo Razzaq to reach the quota.  That means we can see the whole picture of how the smaller parties' votes transferred, and not for the first time Labour have suffered the embarrassment of proving rather popular with Tories.  53 Conservative votes transferred to Labour on the final count, and just 13 to the SNP (107 were non-transferable).  Predictably, SSP votes broke more for the SNP, although not as overwhelmingly as you might think - 55 went to the SNP, 32 to Labour, and an eccentric 1 to the Tories!  UKIP transfers were fairly evenly spread, which will surely be something of a disappointment for the Tories, who would have hoped to capture the lion's share.

Doubtless the #LibDemFightback fantasists will be beside themselves with excitement at quadrupling their vote share and reaching the dizzying heights of 2.9%, but in all likelihood that can be explained by the lack of competition from independent candidates this time (there were two in 2012).  And there's certainly nothing very special about the Tory performance - we normally assume they benefit from differential turnout in local by-elections, so an increase of less than 1% is par for them, at best.

*  *  *

Alastair Meeks (the artist formerly known as Antifrank) claimed on SL this morning that most of the divergences that the Scottish Government has made from UK government policy over the years have been 'negative' rather than 'positive', and he offered the decision not to introduce tuition fees as an example.  That of course isn't correct - the Labour government at Westminster had already introduced tuition fees on a Britain-wide basis by the time devolution started in July 1999.  The Lib-Lab Scottish Executive had to make a 'positive' decision to replace them with the graduate endowment (with the Lib Dems insulting the intelligence of a generation by insisting that the endowment wasn't a back-end tuition fee, because it "didn't pay for tuition").  The SNP government later made another 'positive' decision to scrap payments altogether.

67 comments:

  1. As I have said in the past, local elections can be quite local.

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  2. Still, nearly half the vote for Labour in Blantyre. I know Blantyre. I grew up nearby. It's a rough area of Greater Glasgow and, you would expect, sore elbow stronghold. But here Labour have secured nearly half the vote. Incredible! Gobsmacked, really.

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    1. You're starting to talk like an Alistair Darling parody account on Twitter.

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    2. That's Lord Darling actually.

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    3. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 12:42 AM

      Local councils just empty the midgies! Will the Nat si Tartan Tories allow council tax increases. Mr Kelly are you a Tory/Tartan Tory or a Socialist. Whit aboot food banks? Whit aboot taxin the rich. Aldo seems like a real Tory and you Nat sis are their bum chums.

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    4. If you want to talk Council Tax perhaps you'd be better looking at the likes of my local council. Lab/Tory coalition who CUT our council tax ....not enough that it makes any noticable difference to what we pay out but certainly enough to lose six figure sumA

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  3. Worked in that area for many years and am absolutely astounded that the Labour vote has fallen so far.

    This is their home-turf.

    Very much in tune with the prospect of them losing every constituency seat next year.

    Tory vote, as usual there, miserable and derisory.

    Pitiful to see them on twitter, raving about a 0.6% increase to a miniscule 4.5%.

    Still..........they have to be thankful for anything at all.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 1:00 AM

      Were the Nat sis proposing raising council tax and helping the poor? Or just carrying out Tory policies?

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    2. Your Tory master wants those boots polished properly this time.

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  4. James,

    Any idea of the turnout?

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    1. Somebody on Twitter is saying 24.3%. No idea if that's correct, but it sounds about right.

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    2. So it was a poor turnout. Time of year perhaps.

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    3. Pretty average for council by elections actually. Don't think it was the weather, just an apathy for council elections across the board.

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  5. Just thinking about James' comments about the swing. If the GE swing was 24% and the GE equivalent swing that can be derived from this election, 20%, does that now mean that we can expect SNP support to be on about 46% and Labour on 28%? If so, going down down - and still with 5 months to go....

    I actually think the absence of polls helps Labour. If people hear every other day that Labour is getting its ass kicked, they are inclined to contribute to said ass kicking.

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  6. Last thought for the evening. If the turnout in this election was very low - and Labour did better than otherwise might be expected of them - what does that mean for the Holyrood election? Historically, it's turnout hasn't been much higher than about 50%. Historically, people haven't really regarded the devolved election as being all that important. That may change this time, due to the constitutional polarisation - or it may not. If the turnout is low, which side will benefit? Do pro indy people understand that Holyrood is vitally important to their goals? Some can't string a sentence together. Ironically, they might turn out in large numbers for Westminster but stay at home on the day of the Scottish election. That would be an own goal of quite epic proportions!

    Goodnight!

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    1. I direct you to a guest post I did here a while ago: http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/which-scottish-electorate-will-turn-up.html

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  7. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 1:48 AM

    Dinnae go tae sleep Aldo the Nat sis will use the postal vote tae effect. Put a x here.

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    1. Red Tories should refrain from casting stones from within glass houses.

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    2. I thought it would be marching season for you, is the orange sash and bowler hat hung up for the winter?

      Never mind you can look forward to the zombies losing again.

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  8. Just been looking again at those figures - that's a 13 point lead for the unionist parties over the nationalist parties, in a poor area of Greater Glasgow. Again, that doesn't seem possible when some of those huge poll leads over the summer for the SNP are taken into consideration. But there it is, the result - large as life.

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    1. Blantyre is not in Greater Glasgow. It's not in the contiguous conurbation, at any rate - I'm not sure what fantastical definition of Greater Glasgow you're using.

      Secondly, as I've already pointed out, Labour won this ward by 23% in 2012, in spite of being 1% behind the SNP nationally. That ought to tell you all you need to know about the character of the area.

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    2. It has a Glasgow postcode.

      Aldo

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    3. So? Oban has a Paisley postcode - are you going to tell us Oban's in Greater Paisley?

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    4. You can drive from Blantyre to Glasgow city centre in about 20 minutes. It's clearly Greater Glasgow.

      Aldo

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    5. Confirmed. Greater Glasgow is taken generally to mean all postal codes G1 - G84. Blantyre is G72.

      Spin on it

      Aldo

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    6. Aldo, you can't agree with yourself and say 'Confirmed'. Blantyre is not in Greater Glasgow. Paisley, Bishopbriggs, Bearsden and Clydebank are in Greater Glasgow because they're part of a contiguous built-up area. Postcodes and driving times have got nothing to do with it.

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    7. But the area of "Greater Glasgow" is an official area that covers, among many others, that post code. So my initial statement is correct.

      I would also argue that Blantyre is part of a contiguous built up area with Glasgow. Rutherglen is contiguous with Glasgow - and you can drive from Rutherglen to Hamilton to Blantyre without passing through any green belt areas.

      Aldo

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    8. Aldo, I've lived in Glasgow postcodes all my life, and I have never lived in Greater Glasgow.

      If you want to make these ridiculous claims, you're going to have to supply some evidence other than continually saying that you agree with yourself and therefore you're right.

      To be clear, are you claiming that you can drive from Rutherglen to Blantyre without leaving a contiguous built-up area?

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    9. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 1:28 PM

      Just say Strathclyde and that solves it. Rutherglen is an old Royal Burgh and had a toll booth on Dalmarnock Rd at Springfield Rd. In those days some people did not know where they lived.

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    10. James, go to the Greater Glasgow article on Wikipedia. It gives quite detailed information about which postcodes are considered part of the Greater Glasgow area. G72 is one of them. And, yes, I know it's Wikipedia but I've always found it reliable.

      I've personally driven from Rutherglen to Hamilton on a number of occasions without leaving a built up area. I've also driven between Hamilton and Blantyre without leaving a built up area. Therefore, Blantyre is contiguous with the city of Glasgow. But that isn't the issue here - it is officially recognised as Greater Glasgow. And I should know - I spent thefirst 25 years of my life within walking distance!

      And why the hell are we even arguing about this anyway? Forking hell - talk about splitting hairs!!

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    11. Aldo, you live in a world of fantasy. Just making claims over and over again does not make them true. Google maps make it possible to trace these things without leaving the comfort of your own home - there is open countryside between Blantyre and the Glasgow conurbation. We're talking about photographic evidence here. See for yourself if you don't believe me.

      As for the Wikipedia article you mention (which is very poor and imprecise), even that directly contradicts you -

      "Greater Glasgow is an urban settlement in Scotland consisting of all localities which are physically attached to the city of Glasgow, forming with it a single contiguous urban area (or conurbation)."

      The population of Greater Glasgow is given as just under 1.2 million, which by definition means it excludes several places with a Glasgow postcode, such as the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth area where I live, and Blantyre. Incidentally, as mentioned by Hapleg, Paisley has its own postcode in spite of being part of Greater Glasgow. Postcodes have got absolutely nothing to do with it.

      "And why the hell are we even arguing about this anyway?"

      Search me. You made a demonstrably untrue claim (yet again). When that was pointed out to you, it would have been a hell of a lot simpler if you had just said "ah, OK" and moved on.

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    12. I've just found a Scottish government document that refers to something called the "Greater Glasgow Partnership" and makes refers to a number of councils as being "in Greater Glasgow" - including both Lanarkshires. So there you have it straight from your beloved Scottish Government - Blantyre is in Greater Glasgow.

      You can probably bring up the file by googling 'Greater Glasgow Partnership Scot Gov'.

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    13. South Lanarkshire is predominantly rural. There is no PDF file on Earth that can turn a rural area into a conurbation.

      Sorry.

      What next? Did the respected columnist Katie Hopkins tell you that Blantyre is in Greater Glasgow?

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  9. Bit like Oldham for the Tories; they should be making progress against Corybn's Labour but are really struggling. Sex and bullying scandal effect?

    The rabbit hole deepens...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35067126

    Knew about it as far back as 2008 yet did nothing?

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  10. Blantyre - like Hamilton was - is that if you put a red rosette on a monkey, they'll vote for it.

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  11. I work in Blantyre. The weather yesterday was absolutely awful. Driving wind and rain, and very cold most of the day. You would have to be very keen to turn out to vote in that.

    I suspect Labour would have been using their usual dark arts - the nursing home/ postal vote racketry for instance.

    Its a pity the electors will be represented by a party which is so malign on that council. Hopefully in 2017 the weather will be better and with a higher turnout, and the emergence of the truth about the incinerator Labour will be removed in Blantyre too.

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  12. As a Blantyre resident you most of you are missing the point. This was a local by election caused by the a long standing councillor. The Labour candidate is a local businessman who has very well known reputation locally for running charity events, helping the elderly and help running local causes. He went around most of the housing areas in Blantyre personally and spoke to people. The SNP candidate was relatively unknown to people and although they had a few campaign stalls out, the SNP presence in the area was minimal. The only other sight of the SNP through the campaign was on the Sunday prior to the election where they drove a car cavalcade through the town waving saltires and pipping there horns.

    In the end, what Labour managed to do successfully was to get out their core vote and the SNP assumed that there natural supporters would back them up. The fact that Mo Razzaq is a popular local guy helped Labour win, and there are probably a few SNP supporters whom backed Mo.

    There are also a couple of local issues which are making the SNP less popular, namely the approval of an incinerator in nearby Whitehill and the potential closure of the University of West Scotland in Hamilton.

    In the 2012 local council elections the 4 seats in Blantyre, 3 were taken by Labour Councillors all of whom had a previous track record of dealing with local issues; the SNP candidate whom was elected (Bert Thomson) later resigned from the SNP and joined Labour making all of Blantyre represented by Labour.

    These local factors are important in understanding the result. Whilst trying to look at swings and the national picture, this by-election was about local personalities and whom people actually trusted. Many people voted Labour, not necessarily because it was Labour but because it was the candidate Mo. Conversely a lot of people whom support Mo, could not bring themselves to vote for him because of his Labour affiliation. Therefore, I don't actually think this result is representative of the national picture, and in my view the 2016 election there is fair chance that Blantyre will return an SNP candidate as the constituency is quite different as it contains Cambuslang and Rutherglen.

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    1. Thanks, very informative. I think it's a good thing that the candidate(s) can make a material difference to the outcome. Hopefully it will keep the local parties on their toes, rather than lapsing into thinking that anyone can get elected.

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  13. Swings are consistent with SNP 54(+9), Lab 22(-7) nationally on a uniform swing from Holyrood 2011. Ties in with polling.

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    1. Aye. Steady as she goes.

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    2. If Aldo tried to compare apples with oranges, I would jump down his throat, so I should probably point out that the swing is not measured from the 2011 Holyrood election, but from the 2012 local elections, when the SNP had a national lead of just 1%. On a uniform swing the Blantyre result is consistent with a national SNP lead of about 17%. In practice, you'd probably expect the national swing to be a bit lower than in traditional Labour areas.

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    3. Just to add : it would be fair enough to make an adjustment to those numbers to take account of the fact that the SNP do less well in local elections than they do in parliamentary elections, because of independent candidates in rural areas. But the adjustment wouldn't be enough to take the SNP to a 30+ lead.

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    4. I should have added the tongue in cheek emoticon. :-)

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    5. So are we agreed that there could be a shift in party allegiance going on, as yet undetected in the polling desert we now find ourselves in?

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    6. Anything "could" be happening. But if you're asking whether there's any particular reason to assume it IS happening, the answer is no.

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    7. Yes, there is evidence that Labour are doing really badly and losing votes to Con, but no obvious change on SNP share though. It's confined only to a couple of Scottish polls, so its hard to judge if its real. Also, that was before the Tory bullying and intimidation scandal which could well be hitting the Tories.

      My Westminster PoP based on UK subsets is 53% SNP / 18% Con / 18% Lab / 5% Lib.

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  14. OT, but there was a GB poll put up on the YouGov site yesterday. Ostensibly it was to work out attitudes to the EU referendum and Cameron's "renegotiation", but it also had a Westminster VI question. The GB sample was over 4,000, so the Scottish sub-sample was bigger than normal for a GB poll.

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/9ktalrxne8/EUResults_November2015-Website.pdf

    GB: Con 38, Lab 29, Ukip 17, LD 6, SNP/PC 5, Green 3.

    Scotland: SNP 48, Con 24, Lab 17, Ukip 6, LD 3, Green 2.

    Not unusally for a YouGov GB poll, it is quite Con/Ukip friendly.

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    1. The high UKIP/Con seems to be down to the UK-wide corrections being applied to fix the GE polling problem; it's happening in a few different UK polls, but is not seen in full Scottish polls. AW from Yougov on UKPR was hinting the other day that Yougov might be going to weight the Scottish sample separately to Scotland rather than as part of the UK, having previously said that UK-wide polls are questionable no Scotland and England are increasingly independent politically.

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  15. Also, condolences to the family of Ian Bell (Herald / Sunday Herald column writer) who died yesterday. Someone always worth reading to check if your thoughts on an issue were sound.

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  16. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    Most people do not really care who their councillor is as long as the essential services we pay for are delivered.

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  17. I knew the area well,I lived up the road in EK for 45 years,played darts in the Blantyre and District league,Blantyre was a 90% Labour place,to get them below 50% is amazing.

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  18. You can't compare today's political climate with pre-September 14.

    A realistic viewpoint:

    Labour were -25.6% from 2010 in WM elections in this ward. -7% from 2012 is a great win for Labour.

    The tide is changing again. Too many mistakes by SNP in Lanarkshire with 2 steel plants closing, UWS closing and the incinerator being overturned by SG.

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    1. No, it's not remotely realistic to compare -25.6 from 2010 with -7 from 2012. Labour had a nationwide lead of 22 points in 2010, and the SNP had a nationwide lead of 1 point in 2012.

      As I've already pointed out, on a uniform swing the Blantyre result suggests an SNP lead of 17%. Are you really calling that "a great win for Labour"? At best, it's marginally less catastrophic for them than some of the results we've been seeing.

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    2. An SNP lead of 17%, relatively speaking, would be utterly fantastic for Labour. Didn't they lead by about 40% at one time?

      And let's not forget Holyrood is part PR. 17% would kick butt under FPTP but in the Scottish election it would barely scrape an overall majority.

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    3. Putting 46-29 into the constituency element of the Scotland Votes calculator, with realistic levels of support for other parties and 6% for the Greens on the regional ballot gives - get this - SNP 61 seats (loss of majority), Greens 4 seats. That's a pro indy majority of 1, with the SNP relying on the Greens for support in a coalition or alliance of some kind.

      Absolutely staggering.

      Probably wont happen but the idea that it is within the realms of possibility is quite something.

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    4. In five months' time, I'm going to remind you of some of the barking mad things you used to say. I'm sure your 'explanation' will be as creative as ever.

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  19. Jeez, Tories now tearing each others eyes out. Getting almost as bad as Labour. And we've not even got to the EU ref which will rip them apart like it did last time.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35069844

    Delay over airport expansion 'pathetic' says Tory MP

    Zac Goldsmith cannot have a veto over airports policy, a Conservative MP has warned as the row within the party over Heathrow expansion escalated.

    Crispin Blunt, the MP for Reigate near Gatwick, said the delay until next summer was "disgraceful vacillation" and an act of "political cowardice".


    Coming on the back of the growing sex, bullying and suicide scandal too.

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    1. The tories are not without their problems Skier. However, against the old left wing goat and the tartan borg collective, they are the only show in town and will remain so for a very long time.

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    2. Huh? They got 14.9% in the GE; their lowest result ever, following continuous long-term decline since 1959. I'm not sure how that constitutes 'the only show in town'.

      Anyway, it's quite a site watching their new omnishambles. I have the popcorn ready for the EUref!

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    3. The "only show of town" refers to the governance of the United Kingdom, of course - where even a moderate labour leader can be rendered unelectable by the SNP threat, as we witnessed earlier this year.

      GWC is right in one respect - the SNP helps the conservatives.

      Aldo

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  20. Whoa, Tory Autumn statement privatisation plans massively unpopular. Not good for Ruth in May at all.

    New from Survation:

    http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e17762efe2cccb1f0ed943c1f&id=6854837ccf

    New Polling Indicates Lack of Public Support for Proposed Privatisation of Land Registry, Green Investment Bank, National Air Traffic Services and legacy Student Loan Book:

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  21. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Sadly Aldo is right the Tories could probably go to 2025 at least and the SNP could still have the same parliamentary seats. The London airports scenario has been ongoing and will resolve itself. The SNP MPs will continue to collect their salaries and be irrelavant as they are now unless Scotland votes for independence. It would be nice to know if Sturgeon really did favour Cameron for PM. The SNP uses the Tories as the bogey man however in reality the Nat sis are far nearer to the Tories than Labour.

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    1. The Labour man is angry with you. You weren't given permission to have an opinion.

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  22. What kind of retard votes for Labour these days?

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