Thursday, February 18, 2016

SNP's spectacular by-election gain is an oceanic Oban occasion

The SNP have gained a local council seat in the Oban North and Lorn by-election, which was bizarrely the third by-election to be held in the same ward since the 2012 election.  It's a genuine gain in both senses of the word - the vacancy was caused by the resignation of an independent councillor, and the SNP were also well behind the combined votes for the assorted independent candidates in 2012.

The full result doesn't seem to have been published yet - I'll post it here as soon as I know it.

UPDATE : Ruth Davidson is claiming the Tory vote is up by 14.1%.  I'll treat that with caution until it's confirmed.

UPDATE II : Here is the result -

SNP 42.3% (+11.5)
Conservatives 23.2% (+14.1)
Independent 23.1% (n/a)
Greens 11.4% (n/a)

For the avoidance of doubt, the percentage change figures above are measured from the 2012 result, and not from either of the subsequent by-elections.  However, there may be a tonne of confusion on that point, because each party or candidate will choose the baseline that casts tonight's result in the best light for them.  Oddly, the 'Britain Elects' Twitter account is quoting slightly different changes and yet is saying they're measured from 2012 - I think that must be an error.

At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much interest for Labour in this contest, because they didn't stand in 2012 and they didn't stand this time either.  However, the independent candidate today was Kieron Green, who stood for Labour in both of the by-elections in the ward in 2014.  There seems to be a perception that he was effectively a Labour candidate again in all but name, and had perhaps dispensed with his party label to avoid being dragged down by the national state of play.  If so, the scam may have worked, but only up to a point - his vote was about 1% higher compared to the July 2014 election, and about 3% higher than in October 2014. (Having said that, Labour's national fortunes have slipped even further since then, so he may have saved more votes than it appears.)

Although the increases in both the SNP and Tory votes look impressive, it's not very useful to directly compare today's contest with the 2012 result, because there were no fewer than six independent candidates four years ago, and I'm not sure whether any of them were bashful Labourites.  Technically, there has been a small net swing from SNP to Tory, but given the strangeness of the circumstances, I doubt if anyone will be losing too much sleep over that.

22 comments:

  1. The Council website is giving the number of first preference votes cast as

    Kieron GREEN, Independent 608
    Julie MCKENZIE, Scottish National Party (SNP) 1113
    Pat TYRREL, Scottish Green Party,300
    Andrew Ross VENNARD, Scottish Conservative,609

    Interestingly, the Independent Candidate appears to have previously stood as the Labour candidate in this ward.

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    1. I wonder if any prospective Labour MSPs will try and put themselves forward as a sort of "independent Labour" candidate in May? Things are desperate for Labour.

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  2. The 6 Independent candidates racked up 1,994 votes in 2012, so (if we pretend as SLab does that Green was an Independent, shouldn't the vote % changes be SNP +11.5% : Con +14.1% : SGP +11.4% (from zero): LD -5.2% (because they are irrelevant numpties and didn't put up a candidate): Ind -31.8%?

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    1. Yes, those are the figures I've got in the blogpost. I think Britain Elects must have miscalculated.

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    2. Presumably all or some of the 6 independents in 2012 had political affiliations which were probably known to the locals. So was there actually any shifts in political opinion since 2012? Very probably, but impossible to tell when comparing apples and kiwi fruit! :-)

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  3. Lib Dems not standing here?

    Guess Labour must have had local difficulties but what's their excuse?

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  4. fyi the britain elects website is registered to the same house as a ukip mailing list

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  5. Remember this was in a Lib Dem Westminster seat until last May. Wonder what happened?

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    1. An extremely good, well-prepared & enthusiastic SNP candidate....!

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  6. I libe in the Highland Council area which I think shares features with Argyle and Bute. We have a lot of "Independent" Councillors. I would suggest that many of them are Closet Conservatives in the Westminster mould, out for themselves and a clique of better off locals.

    Most are very good at getting their faces in the paper for things that really don't mean much to the majority of residents, but impresses elderly folk that don't get about much.

    As the "group" in control, they are usually a shambles.

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    1. You wouldn't be referring to Lochaber and the odious Dr. Foxley by any chance?.

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  7. Congratulations to Julie McKenzie.I'm sure she will work hard.

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  8. This closet slabber posing as an "independent" is slightly concerning and something we should watch out for in 2017. IMO the 2017 council elections will be crucial and many closet unionist slabbers may opt to hide under the "independent" cloak. Of course, the tories have been at this game for years - hardly surprising given their low standing in Scotland, but the slabbers trying this on could result in a number of useless, unionist-controlled councils in disguise. Watch them carefully.

    You may note that most "independent" controlled councils are staunchly unionist. This is no coincidence - they are closet tories!

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    1. @Luigi

      That really is a terrible sign for Scottish Labour, the Tories in Scotland started to pull that stunt in local council elections in the late 1980s and 1990s. When you are too scared to use the party name then it generally spells political disaster.

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  9. Yes,similar to the British Labour party trick during the Westminster elections of sending out their candidates leaflets without mentioning the word Labour.

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  10. Well done to all SNP members/supporters in Oban North and Lorn.

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  11. SOS!
    Where is "Aldo" and the other buttock of his Unionist bahookie, "GWC", in response to this result?

    Treating their collective posterior for piles of votes against them?

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  12. Hang on, there was an "independent" candidate called 'Green'?

    Labour must think the Scottish electorate zips up the back...

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassFebruary 19, 2016 at 6:52 PM

      On reading the result it is clear the two Tory parties have won a substancial vote between them. Cleary this must be a well aff area where the better aff do not want to be taxed tae help their fellow Scots. The Nat sis have brought out and exposed the greedin Scotland.

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  13. Glasgow Working ClassFebruary 19, 2016 at 6:38 PM

    No one now left to stand and fight the Nat si council cuts. The people in Oban must be relatively well of and do not care about their fellow working class Scots who are being hit hard by the Nat sis,

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    1. The left ball wakes up....

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