Friday, May 5, 2017

SNP soar to best ever result in local elections

As the BBC are busily misleading their viewers by claiming that the SNP have "lost seven seats since 2012", I thought it might be useful to post the real numbers.

Councillors won with changes since 2012 :

SNP 431 (+6)
Conservatives 276 (+161)
Labour 262 (-132)
Independents 172 (-28)
Liberal Democrats 67 (-4)
Greens 19 (+5)

The 2012 result was the SNP's best ever showing in a local election, so by exceeding that they have set a new record high.  Even taking into account the slight change in the overall number of seats, it's also a record high for the SNP in terms of the proportion of seats they've won.

The BBC's excuse for giving inaccurate figures is that they are using 'notional results' to provide a baseline - in other words, they are using rough estimates of what the 2012 result might have been if the new boundaries had been used.  In my view that is unsatisfactory.  The difference between a 7-seat drop and a 6-seat increase is a trivial one, but it does have a big psychological impact, and to give viewers such precise numbers based on educated guesswork seems wholly wrong.

One other obvious point I didn't hear anyone on the BBC programme making is that if Scotland had been using the English voting system (you know, the one that artificially produced the hundreds of "incredible" Conservative gains we heard so much about), we'd have been looking at an SNP landslide and much more sweeping gains.

All the same, the three unionist parties have in combination narrowly failed to win a majority of the council seats in Scotland.  It's likely that there are enough pro-union independent councillors out there to swing the balance - but it's also highly likely that those independent councillors were not elected on the basis of their constitutional views.  So the Peter Kellner propaganda line that this was some sort of vote against an independence referendum simply does not stack up.

In fairness, though, perhaps we should be raising our glasses to the propagandists in London, because the over-hyping of the Tory gains is going to send expectations of a Ruth Revolution sky-high.  If the SNP win three-quarters of the seats in June (which is still eminently possible), it's going to be hard for the media to plausibly switch narrative and argue that Nicola Sturgeon should be winning every single seat, and that anything short of that is all terribly unexpected.

Given the hoo-ha over the Tory surge, it's truly extraordinary just how close the Tories came to remaining stuck in third place in terms of seats - which would have been acutely embarrassing for them and would have enormously complicated their spin operation.  It'll take time to pick over the entrails of the results, but I'm wondering if anti-SNP lower preferences from Tory voters helped Labour win significantly more seats in SNP/Labour battleground areas than they otherwise would have done, and paradoxically almost kept Labour in overall second place.  That might also help explain why an increase in the SNP's popular vote was not replicated in the form of a significant increase in their number of councillors.

If it turns out that Labour have indeed proved a little more resilient than expected in their former heartlands on the back of Tory transfers, there may be reassurance at hand for the SNP as far as the general election is concerned.  With just one vote at every Tory supporter's disposal, it's unlikely that the zealous new converts will be lending their support back to Labour in sufficient numbers to make much of a difference.

I was mightily relieved that the SNP managed to become the largest single party in my home council of North Lanarkshire by the absolute skin of their teeth.  Labour and the Tories do still have the numbers in combination to freeze the SNP out of power, but will Labour take such an enormous gamble?  It's one thing for them to do deals with the Tories in places like Stirling, but in North Lanarkshire they would be crucified for it.

It's fascinating to see that the Tories were "only" 11% ahead of Labour on UK-wide projected vote share - much lower than the lead suggested by most recent opinion polls for the general election.  It's true that there are ample precedents to demonstrate that local election results can flatter the main opposition party, but nevertheless with Labour morale at rock bottom it wouldn't have been surprising to see carnage on a much bigger scale.  Opinion polls in Britain have very rarely overestimated the Tories, but it's an interesting possibility.

64 comments:

  1. So, after 10 years as Government in a Council election SNP increases seats and does fucking brilliant.

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  2. I'm worried that focusing on the absolute numbers and the subsequent and inevitable riposte about boundary changes that we're missing the elephant in the room - the Tories failed their own test regarding "sending a message" about an IndyRef2. If we distract ourselves with this stuff and allow them to huff and guffaw at our small potatoes it will properly miff my goat.

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  3. FYI: news over here is that SNP failed to increase, conservatives picked up 127 or whatever...I think they just rewrite bbc. Bloomberg. I think voter disenchantment is partially caused by inability of media to actually COVER election results.

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    1. The word actually should be, accurately ��

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    2. Bill Palmer. Is that not the BBC Way ? Any pro Indy Party will be Portrayed as "Seperatists""Nats" " Just to Keep the Licence Extortion Fee for Gov !

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  4. It will be interesting to see the final SNP 1st preference vote compared to the 32% they achieved in 2012. The Tories must have spent a large fortune centrally in mailing out multiple No 2nd Ref letters and leaflets without candidates name up and down the country so they didn't count as an election expense. Still, their 1st preference vote share was much lower than the SNP. What is worth it? Perhaps it help the SNP in the long run as getting 26% is too low to break through the FPTP voting system. Half a dozen at the most and that is being optimistic.

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  5. Yes parties on 37%

    No parties on 49% (of seats)

    It will be interesting to see the first preference percentage figures for each party. It is a win for the SNP but a hollow one. SNP/Green will not be a viable option in many councils, due to the Greens only having 19 seats across the whole country. There will be quite a few BT coalitions.

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    1. Away back under your stone.

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    2. If I was still with Labour I would be saying "have we still not learned our lesson regarding going into coalitions with the Tories".

      That said, Kezia is in charge so it will likely happen. Some cannot learn.

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    3. Aldo confidently told us all that Remain would win the EU referendum.

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    4. Orange Blues for UnityMay 5, 2017 at 7:16 PM

      OrangeLodgeScotland‏ @OrangeLodgeScot 56 minutes ago


      Congratulations to all the Orangemen and Friends elected to their local council today. This organisation is alive and kicking.

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    5. Cardinal O'Brian Bum BhoyMay 5, 2017 at 11:29 PM

      Well said my son. Those orange pagans need a good seeing too. Did I ever give you the favourite?

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  6. The ever increasing polarization of Scottish voting intentions is more and more apparent Labour and becoming an irrelevance in many parts of Scotland.It may well be that Scotland will become a Labour free zone in GE2017

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    1. I'd say it's more likely than not. After every election since 2007, SLAB have thought they must have hit their lowest point, only to fall even further at the next one. Complete annihilation is the only place left to go.

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  7. So the BBC are using notional figures to calculate the council results. I suppose that means that notionally if my auntie had a dick she would be my uncle.

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  8. Remember to highlight how many by-elections there were. I recall there being quite a lot since 2015.

    By-elections favour the largest party disproportionately.

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    1. Not sure that's true (the latter statement, I mean). There have been any number of by-elections where the SNP failed to "defend the seat" even though they hadn't won the popular vote in the ward last time round.

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    2. Fair enough. I forgot to slip a "generally" into there!

      Still, the SNP did go into 2017 holding a few more seats than they won in 2012. So on the whole, I'd say they had been the cumulative beneficary of the by-elections.

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  9. It's even clearer now that it's a pro-indy versus anti-indy battle, at least until Scotland regains its independence. All elections will now be referendums on independence. Fine by me.

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  10. One vote to the Tories scum are one vote to much

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  11. Independence was never going to be easy.it takes durability ,determination ,and a firm belief we can do it. Stay strong

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    1. A big thumbs up to you!

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    2. It will also take a financial plan that will not bankrupt the country - as yet we haven't seen that. It is the glaring elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.

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    3. It will also take a financial plan that will not bankrupt the country - as yet we haven't seen that. It is the glaring elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.

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    4. Anon, you might not have noticed that the UK is already bankrupt. When will it have a viable financial plan?
      iScot will spend more on conventional forces and nothing on nukes.
      It will invest in reinductrialisation, especially on things that exploit our natural advantages in maritime and energy sectors.

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  12. James,

    If you look on Wiki (I know, I know) it gives SNP at 438 seats (I think these were by-election wins since 2012 vote taking SNP from 425 to 438 seats in Scotland). Thus 438 – 431 = -7.

    Is this not more likely what has happened? If so, then BBC is not making a like for like comparison. Spin as usual since the SNP will probably go on to win many local by-elections in next 5 years taking their tally beyond 431 and even beyond 438.

    Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_local_elections,_2017

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    1. the BBC 'figures' for the final result have changed a few times already. even they can't keep their own yoon spin straight

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    2. No, the BBC clearly state that they are using notional figures from 2012 to calculate seat changes. In any case, I would be very cautious about those Wikipedia numbers - with defections and various other ambiguous changes in affliation, it's very hard to come up with a definitive number of councillors for each party several years after an election. I've already been led astray today by one small inaccuracy on Wikipedia, although to be fair it is a mostly reliable resource these days.

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    3. The notional figures used by the BBC give a total of 1227 council seats up for grabs in 2012—four more than the 1223 seats than there actually were that year, and eight more than the 1219 seats that were available this year.

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    4. Yoon spin for beginnersMay 5, 2017 at 8:02 PM

      Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 28 minutes ago

      The British media, where in the space of 20 minutes 431 minus 425 can be 6, -7, 31, -14 or minus more than 30:

      https://wingsoverscotland.com/chinese-arithmetic/

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    5. Well, I feel ridiculous. I clearly mistyped the figures from this year into my calculator and got 1219 instead of the correct answer of 1227. It still doesn't change the BBC's bizarre claim that the SNP would have somehow won the equivalent of 438 seats in 2012, but it is slightly less bizarre than I initially thought.

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  13. Thanks for that James stay in England and was being told we had lost seven, so cheers thats good to know.

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  14. Let them think they have won. Although it is fantastic to see them shitting themselves.

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  15. It's weird, the extent to which the Scottish press have given up on Labour. They actually ran the SNP closer in Glasgow than they could have expected, but the media are too busy salivating over the Tories sneaking a handful of third-placed seats in orange areas to notice.

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  16. The big rammy about +6 vs -7 is most amusing. Are the SNP really so insecure they have to nitpick?

    As I understand it, the -7 is based on notional results from 2012, using the new boundaries. But the braindead are getting wound up about this massively, because they don't understand anything in that last sentence.

    I certainly hope broadcasters aren't forced into reporting fake news just because some volatile chip on shoulders type people can't cope with facts.

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    1. ROFL because some volatile chip on shoulders type people can't cope with facts.May 5, 2017 at 10:08 PM

      Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 6m

      I'm losing count now. 431 minus 425 is either -7, -41, +31, -31, -30 or minus "a handful". The only number it definitely ISN'T is six.


      Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 19 minutes ago

      Oh for fuck's sake, now the Guardian has the SNP *down* 31 seats and *up* 31 seats at the same fucking time.

      I certainly hope broadcasters aren't forced into reporting fake news

      PMSL

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    2. Robert Bryce‏ @rb2003 1 hour ago

      431 is more than 425 (except for viewers in Scotland).

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    3. As I understand it, the -7 is based on notional results from 2012, using the new boundaries. But the braindead are getting wound up about this massively, because they don't understand anything in that last sentence.

      If you hover your cursor over the scroll bar on the right hand of this window, then push the mouse away from you whilst depressing its left button, you'll find that the third paragraph of the blogpost you're replying to states precisely what it's taken you this long to work out.

      But I agree it's silly to quibble over a seat here and there. Every side in an election is always going to spin the result as a triumph for them. These days the bar is so high for the SNP and so low for everyone else that they might as well just let the Tories have this one.

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    4. pmcrek‏ @PiratesForIndy 3 hours ago

      No surprise, projections for 2015/16 title based on new relegation/promotions show that Aberdeen theoretically won the SPFL last year.

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    5. "As I understand it, the -7 is based on notional results from 2012, using the new boundaries. But the braindead are getting wound up about this massively, because they don't understand anything in that last sentence."

      If that's the case, then why were there notionally eight more council seats than there actually were in this election (1227 according to the BBC vs 1219 according to reality)? Even in 2012, there were only 1223. I fail to see how this makes comparing the results from this year and five years ago easier.

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    6. ^Well, as I said in my previous comment above, I feel like a tit. The BBC were correct in calculating on the basis of 1227 seats, since that's how many there are. I still think the claim that the SNP would have won an extra seven seats if the boundaries in 2012 were the same as they were today (the same assumptions give Labour one more seat than they would have had, the Lib Dems one seat fewer, and the Tories three fewer) is dubious.

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    7. "I certainly hope broadcasters aren't forced into reporting fake news"

      Don't worry, Aldo, they went ahead and reported Fake Nooz without requiring any encouragement.

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  17. Kipper Theresa and her westminster bubble incompetentsMay 5, 2017 at 10:11 PM

    Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 3 hours ago

    HISTORY FACT: the SNP got 45% of the vote in the 2011 Holyrood election but dropped to 32% in the 2012 council election.

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  18. Very pleased with the result generally. Gains in important regions and a clear shot straight at the Conservative Party from now on. If you started throwing around evil and nasty to describe your opponent when talking Labour it just did not fit so well. But the Conservatives I have no embarrassment describing as such. They clearly are the Evil. Now just who is voting for them? We need to find out and push their noses into everything the Conservative Party does while asking "Do you REALLY agree with this?"

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    1. Evil! You idiot why are the Nat xss continuing with Tory policies!

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  19. WeSaidNoToYesMenMay 5, 2017 at 10:56 PM

    Tories plus Tartan Tories (snp) means scotland is now 60% proven tory. A sad day. :-(

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    1. No one seems to want your party in charge of anything :-(

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  20. Why are there so many unionist voters? Or is it just the same lot getting a second shot through 2nd pref? And if so what can we learn from that?

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    1. low turnout. But then very high turnout brings out the unionist grannies. We need a high but not too high turnout.

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  21. The anti Nat si parties will have to form an alliance against the fascist English haters.
    The anti Tory crap from the Nat sis is now being put in the dustbin.

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    1. The poster above is a far-right racist tory sockpuppetMay 6, 2017 at 12:36 AM

      you're supposed to be pretending to be labour and against the tories you complete fucking twat of a sockpuppet

      LMFAO

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    2. The leader of the Nat sis in Glasgow has said the millions cut from the Glasgow budget is a fair deal. Very reminiscent of the Thatcher years.
      Declare UDI ya scum or go for a referendum. Geeze a laugh shitebags.

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    3. Maybe if you spent your time chapping doors rather than posting on here as your boys got hammered at the ballot box.

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    4. Becoming the biggest party of local government in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee, wresting control of Glasgow from SLAB and coming first by a 155-seat margin is an interesting definition of “Hammered” for the SNP to come to terms with, but it definitely seems to be the Tory line.

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  22. Rape Clause Ruth and her revolting kipper toriesMay 6, 2017 at 12:39 AM

    David Halliday‏ @DavidJFHalliday 9 hours ago

    Another election that Ruth Davidson has won stunningly by losing heavily. Brilliant tactician. Future PM?

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  23. Rape Clause Ruth and her NHS Privatising toriesMay 6, 2017 at 12:41 AM

    James Ford‏ @Ford000001 5 hours ago

    Sturgeon claims victory despite only being 155 seats ahead of second place Tories.

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  24. James,

    I think your 'single vote' comment is entirely on the button. Traditional Labour and Conservative voters have presumably no option but to vote for their teddy bears.

    The complete, utter , nonsense of STV will not apply.

    I would be interested to hear how you think that will play out?

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  25. If STV is to make any sense to voters, then perhaps there should be a positive and negative component to it? Voting for your favoured candidate at 1 should mean +1. Voting for your least favoured candidate the bottom of your list should mean -1.

    It might keep the extremists out?

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  26. I wish more authors of this type of content would take the time you did to research and write so well. I am very impressed with your vision and insight.
    brexit app

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately for the authors over two million do not share their anti English fascist vision.

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    2. The poster above is a far-right racist Neo-Nazi sockpuppetMay 6, 2017 at 6:00 PM

      The troll 'GWC2' calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

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    3. The poster above is a far right English/British hating piece of excrement.
      And probably a religious bigot.

      Delete
  27. Rape Clause Ruth and her Pension Stealing ToriesMay 6, 2017 at 6:02 PM

    Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 3 hours ago

    Or put another way: unprecedentedly massive TORY surge, as reported by all newspapers, results in net Unionist council-seat swing of 1.2%.

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