Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Is there any chance at all that Labour could lose Edinburgh South?

I've lost count of the number of times over the last year that I've said "if this poll proves to be right, Labour would lose almost all of their Scottish seats to the SNP", with the "almost" referring to the seemingly inevitable fact that Ian Murray will easily hold Edinburgh South for Labour no matter what happens elsewhere.  Last night brought news that the Unite union has voted to "trigger" Murray (ie. to attempt to deselect him as the Labour candidate as punishment for his disloyalty to the party leadership) and that Murray has retorted with all sorts of dark warnings about how replacing him with a "Marxist" could cost their Labour their only safe Scottish seat.  He even suggests that he could help that process along by standing as an independent.

This is almost certainly a bit of a red herring, because reselection attempts very rarely succeed - it's probably intended more as a means of applying indirect pressure on Corbyn-sceptic MPs and encouraging them to toe the line.  It's still pretty likely that Murray will be the Labour candidate at the general election unless he voluntarily walks away.  So the more interesting question is whether there is any chance at all that Labour could lose with Murray as their standard-bearer?

On the face of it, that's a classic QTWTAIN (Question To Which The Answer Is No), because two years ago Murray had a lead of more than 32% over his SNP opponent, which means on a uniform national swing that the SNP would require a highly improbable Scotland-wide lead over Labour of 42% before they could expect to gain Edinburgh South.  But it's worth remembering that in 2015 (the election before last), the SNP came reasonably close to winning the seat with a national lead over Labour of 'only' 26%, and some opinion polls suggest they could be back in that ballpark now.  So if the local contest ends up resembling that of 2015 more than that of 2017, it's not totally impossible that Murray could prove to be vulnerable.

The snag is, though, that what happened in 2017 seemed to decisively change the game and it's hard to imagine that process being reversed.  The decline in the SNP vote in Edinburgh South was actually slightly below the national average, but Labour still built up a formidable advantage by adding 16% to their own vote - completely against the Scotland-wide trend which saw them more or less flatlining.  By contrast, the Tory vote only increased by a trivial 2% locally at a time when it was essentially doubling across Scotland.  It's blindingly obvious that many people who would otherwise have voted Tory lent Murray their vote on a tactical basis to stop the SNP.  And there's little reason to think most of those people would go back to the Tories now, given that Edinburgh is such a solidly Remain city and the Tories are the only major party that is in favour of a Hard Brexit.

But the flipside of the equation is that many people who voted tactically for Murray in 2017 may now be much more preoccupied with stopping Brexit than with stopping a second independence referendum, and will thus no longer have such a laser-like focus on choosing the candidate most likely to beat the SNP.  Is there any reason to suppose that they might be tempted by the Liberal Democrats, rather than the Tories?  Well, yes there is, because you don't have to go too far back in history to find a time when Edinburgh South was a highly competitive Labour-Lib Dem battleground seat.  In fact the Lib Dems came slightly closer to beating Labour in both 2005 and 2010 than the SNP did in 2015.  And the Lib Dems actually held the equivalent Scottish Parliament constituency between 2003 and 2011.

Much depends on whether Remain supporters think that a Labour vote would be an endorsement of Ian Murray's personal anti-Brexit stance, or the Labour leadership's much more convoluted position.  If the latter, we could see a substantial swing to the Lib Dems in Edinburgh South, and that could open up the possibility of either the SNP coming through the middle and taking the seat, or of the Lib Dems winning from nowhere themselves.

I'm not saying that's particularly likely - I would expect Labour to hold on.  But it may be a much more competitive contest than a lot of people are assuming.

34 comments:

  1. Absolute great post.

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    1. Labour will be wiped out in England and Wales for their deceipt and lies over brexit then we will leave the corrupt fascist EU. ONE billion per month saved.

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    2. One billion a month? Sounds like we've found Theresa May's magic money tree after all.

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    3. The Scottish Nat sis have yet to declare how much taxpayers money they are prepared to give to the EU corrupt gravy train. All those Scottish MSPs and MEPs raking in the dosh from hard working people.

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    4. We found blair mcliar who is happily punting the lie that london gives Scotland £10,000,000,000 a year.

      Funnily enough when challenged he resorts to outright fantasy. A correspondent raised the matter of all the whisky money and he invents export duty and says it doesn't exist so there is no missing money.

      According to the treasury Scotland generates £5,000,000,000 in Spirit Duty. A tax on production . According to fatty mcliar and gers Scotland only deserves to be allowed to keep 10% of that money. Also every penny of corporation tax diagio and the rest generate from Scotland is paid in london and counted as london money. It's an accounting trick to make us look poor.
      Fat labour man is traitor to his country. Shock.

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    5. Flob yer knob and save yer brothel money.

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    6. The last few posts have been even more than usually interesting. Really informative. Thanks

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    7. It would be appreciated if the Nat sis could tell the Scottish people how much of the taxpayers money they would be prepared to give to the corrupt EU.

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    8. 3 billion doon already and UK's no even left yet.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-50161426

      Boris Johnson's Brexit deal would bring "considerable challenges" for the Scottish and UK economies, according to the Fraser of Allander Institute.

      Its regular update on the state of the Scottish economy calculates that there has already been a £3bn hit to output.

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  2. Without Scotlands oil England would have nothing to sell

    Jim Rodgers Bloomberg

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  3. It's surely more likely that, if seriously threatened with deselection, Murray would defect to the Lib Dems. And local Labour people are surely aware of this. It's an open secret that at the last two general elections he has had the active support of many paid-up Lib Dems. Hence the weirdly low Lib Dem vote in classic Lib Dem territory.

    It's hard to see Labour winning the seat if Murray stands against them under any banner. They would need a candidate with rock-solid anti-Brexit credentials, which is probably not what Unite have in mind.

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    1. Not forgetting all the Tories of Red Morningside who love to cast a vote for their pet Union Jack waggler.

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  4. Scottish nat si jockos want to give the EU unlimited billions from our taxpayers. David Hume must be wondering why we had the Enlightenment. The Jocko Nat sis are happy to see Scots lying in the streets while the EU bourgeoisie piss it up with their flozzies.

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    1. Brit nat si Scotch want to give the UK unlimited billions from our taxpayers. David Hume must be wondering why we had the Enlightenment. The Brit Nat sis are happy to see Scots lying in the streets while the UK bourgeoisie piss it up with their flozzies.

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    2. You're some team you Yoons eh, one minute Scotland has no money. we're so poor we can't look after ourselves then the next minute you say we're giving *unlimited billions* away

      I blame all this sitting around in yer mammies pants looking at computer screens

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  5. The Scottish fascists in Westminster can put a vote of no confidence in the Tory Government and the Tories will vote for it. We then have a General Election and Labour will be wiped out in the UK then we will have brexit.

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  6. - Do you like chicken?
    - Well wind your gums round this. It"s foul.

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  7. Good post. Let's hope it happens. UJ jacket wearers must be distraught at DUP abandonment. Would be interested in any polls on effect of NI position on 'Scottish' Unionist opinion.

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  8. Murray only won in 2015 with a disgraceful personal campaign against the SNP candidate.
    He relies heavily on Tory switchers who could this time abandon him.
    The LibDems won't take Edinburgh South.
    They're desperate to keep Jardine's seat in Edinburgh West.
    SNP could make inroads in both.
    Winning a long shot though.

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    1. I'd never heard of Murray until he had a public panic attack after someone stuck a pro-independence sticker to his office door.

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    2. I was at an office party once and ended up drinking pints of punch and setting off the smoke alarms by blowing smoke into them. What a laugh.

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  9. If they force Murray out and he doesn't stand as Independent, Labour loses the seat leaving it a fairly open contest but I think it will be more between Tory and SNP with the SNP edging it

    Lib Dems have kinda shot themselves in the foot with Swinson's attempted game playing, they won't get the young vote that's for sure, it'll all be down to the dead the dying and the soon to be dead vote and if it's a winter election with slippy streets they won't come out

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  10. Humnza Jock Paki PekoraOctober 24, 2019 at 1:45 AM

    Yesssur arrefoot, have we done the Jews In Jocko Nazis.

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  11. The fear factor. The likelihood of Corbyn winning and forming, even a minority government may also influence how the good citizens of Edinburgh South vote. Corbyn is unlikely to do so, but there is always the chance (he almost pulled it off in 2017) and the tory press will probably manipulate a few scarely opinion polls just before the GE to encourage their vote out on the day.

    Unilkely that IM will be kicked out but we live in crazy times. Anything could (and will) happen.

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  12. I think that deselection could mean wipe-out for the Labour Party in Scotland. They'll have lost another way to remind people that they exist. IM could quite possibly stand as an Independent and win but his biggest fear might be that an LD candidate took a bite out of his vote.
    Incidentally, I was looking at some of the Unioinst Facebook pages a few weeks back and they were discussing tactical voting. The moderator helpfully posted up details of close-run seats like Kirkcaldy but the faithful seemed slow to grasp the idea of tactical voting. I'll swear that some of them thought it was "anything but SNP". Not a high level of debate or consciousness on display.
    I wonder to what extent there could be said to be a "Unionist grapevine" in various suburban and rural constituencies? Thinking of somewhere like Fluffydales, a Liberal / Tory voter in somewhere like Peebles might not have much of an idea of what their counterparts down by the Solway Firth were thinking and I'm guessing that participation in online politics forums other than general news sites is quite limited.

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    1. I was in a caravan on the Solway Firth and polished off a bottle of cheap sparkly graziola. Whenever we drank graziola and had to throw up we called it the graziola gush.

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  13. As a constituent in the former last bastion of socialism in Scotland personally I cant wait for him to be gone.
    I hear lots about what a good constituent MP he is but am yet to see this in action.
    He was definitely propped up by a unionist vote, and in the suburbs of Edinburgh South that is beginning to lose its effect.
    Remember also that the area is strongly populated by University staff, many of them European, and we can begin to witness a strong change in the political demographic of the area.

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    1. Labour are much more pro Union than Tories, they saw the value of stealing from Scotland, whereas the Tories just take what they want without pretence and the Liberal Democrats just pretend to be everything to everybody while accepting the theft then complaining how awful it is once they profited by it

      Capitalism, Socialism, both seriously flawed and bad ideologies, plain old fashioned democracy of the people for the people by the people, the idea that Scotland had a long time ago was pretty OK, that's why the Americans borrowed the idea then buggered it up and changed it into capitalism because it was working too well

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    2. I was at a party in Edinburgh South once. I had a great time and so did the guy I was with. Wow!

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  14. Today's Scots Word:


    TULCHAN, n. Also tulchane, -in, -can; †tourkin. [′tʌlxən]

    1. A calf-skin stuffed with straw set beside a cow to induce her to give her milk freely (Sc. 1808 Jam.), specif. the skin of her own calf, in which a living calf might be wrapped to encourage the cow to foster it, applied sim. occas. also to a ewe and a lamb. Comb. tourkin-calf, -lamb (n.Sc. 1825 Jam). Sc. 1866 D. Livingstone Last Jnls. I. 51:
    The cattle of Africa never give their milk without the presence of the calf or its stuffed skin, the ‘tulchan'.

    2. Fig. in Sc. Hist. usage: a substitute, a man of straw, a person nominally appointed to some office in order that the power and emoluments may be diverted to another, specif. a nickname for one of a number of bishops created in the Scottish Church in 1572 by the Regent Morton in order that he and his supporters might appropriate much of the Church's revenue. Freq. attrib. and in extended use. Sc. 1712 T. T. Curat Calder Whipt 3:
    From your being the Bishops Journey-Men, mere Tulchans, undergoing the Drudgery for a small Pittance of Hire. Sc. 1731 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) IV. 248:
    As soon as we reformed from Praelacy and Popery, the First Book of Discipline declares against them; after Tulchan Bishops were cast out, the Second Book declares yet more against them. Lth. 1851 M. Oliphant Merkland I. vii.:
    A tulchan laird — a shadow, and no substance. Sc. 1861 G. Grub Eccles. Hist. Scot. II. 226:
    Those simoniacal compacts, which earned for the ecclesiastics concerned in them, the opprobrious name, so well known in our history, of Tulchan bishops. Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Kincaid's Widow iii.:
    He's but a tulchan minister, a man of straw.

    †3. A bag or wallet, esp. one made of skin (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 23:
    His skin wad mak' a gallant tulchin for you.

    †4. A chubby or dwarfish child (Ags. 1808 Jam.); a large-boned, fat person (Abd.7 1925), also in reduced form tulch, “a stout person of sulky, stubborn disposition” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 200).
    [O.Sc. tulchan, = 2., 1574, Gael. tulchan, = 1., from tulachan, a little mound, the calf-skin sometimes being simply laid over a heap of earth beside the cow. Cf. Tulloch.]

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    1. Tulchan is in Speyside on the road between Knockando and Grantown. I see somebody called Grant is Ruth Davidson's new employer, so that might well be a proud scion of the whisky Grants who originated in Speyside. Colonel Windbag will know how to kowtow to that type of person. She has years of experience.

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    2. I've been in Grantown and spent the night there. Then in the morning I got a bus to Aviemore and puked my guts up. What a night that was.

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  15. Wings produces yet another survey backed he says by the public, but of course it's the public in England, but leaving that aside he claims these are the facts and if the SNP don't do as he says then *there'll be hell to pay* he says because he's quoted a poll in England asking people about issues in Scotland and Northern Ireland

    So there you are a definitive poll on what people of another country think about two countries they barely know exist
    Wings doesn't seem to understand that in England if a thing doesn't happen in their street it doesn't exist, they're that uninformed let alone asking what's going on anywhere else

    Maybe Wings should ask the people of Paisley what should be done about Peterhead, incredibly informative nonsense

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  16. I got plastered one night in a tent in Peterhead on Black Russians.
    I've never been drunk in Paisley but I once smoked a cigarette in a bookshop.

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