Friday, March 5, 2021

Swing to SNP in two North Lanarkshire by-elections

There were two by-elections on my home turf of North Lanarkshire yesterday.  The results are both being billed as "Labour gains from the SNP", but as is so often the case in the wacky world of STV by-elections, things are not quite as they seem - they were both wards in which Labour topped the popular vote last time around, so Labour only needed to stand still to "hold" the seats, whereas the SNP would have needed a sizeable swing to "gain" them.  In the event, there was a net swing to the SNP in both wards, but not big enough to stop Labour.  (The SNP's vote fell in Thorniewood due to an intervention from an independent candidate, but because Labour's vote fell much further, that still counts as a technical swing from Labour to SNP.)

Fortissat by-election result (first preferences):

Labour 38.4% (+1.9) 
SNP 34.6% (+5.5) 
Conservatives 23.5% (+10.2) 
Greens 2.5% (n/a) 
UKIP 1.1% (n/a) 

Thorniewood by-election result (first preferences): 

Labour 36.4% (-13.8) 
SNP 34.5% (-4.2) 
Independent - Budd 18.9% (n/a) 
Conservatives 7.7% (-3.3) 
Greens 1.9% (n/a) 
UKIP 0.5% (n/a)

Although from a psephological point of view the idea that these are "Labour gains" is fairly meaningless, what's very real on the ground is that SNP councillors are being replaced with Labour councillors, and that has rather depressing repercussions for the balance of power on North Lanarkshire Council.  The SNP emerged from the 2017 election as the largest party on the council by a single seat, and Labour only clung on to power by doing a grubby deal with their supposed "enemies" in the Tory party.  However, since then Labour have recovered their traditional position as the largest party with the help of by-election 'gains'.  

It's a bit odd to see that UKIP, who most people would assume are a busted flush, are still persevering by putting up no-hoper candidates, whereas there's no sign at all of Nigel Farage's shiny new Reform UK brand.

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  1. Taxi for Sturgeon. She will pretend not to know that two council seats have been lost or say she wasn't informed or is this a case of mistakes have been made.

    1. Oh come on. I've explained that these are only Labour gains in a very technical sense.

    2. You need to retain a sense of humour these days James.

    3. Others will need to develop one.

    4. IainM - I forecast the SNP will win a majority. There will be no referendum. The deluded "I m with Nicola" crowd will pick up and run with Nicola has a secret plan. Trust Nicola etcetc.

      At the the next UK GE it will be branded the most important election ever. The only difference for me is that I won't be attending any National organised rally in Grorge sq before this UK GE. And so it goes on.

  2. Going by the turn-out, I guess that 77% of people in that part of the world are unconcerned about their schools, roads, sanitation, libraries, sports centers, etc, etc, etc. Or very possibly given up any hope that any politicians would make any difference.

    I think that is what is called 'civic Scotland'.

    1. Civic Britain. Majority unionist areas based on the results.

    2. Incidentally, just as I wrote the above, the rapid pothole repair people pulled up outside and started work. Cold weather, surface water from the fields and farm traffic make a mess of the roads here.

  3. Those two wards have had by-elections since the council election in 2017. You can find the details here.

  4. Sturgeon, Swinney, Forbes, Robertson all second on their respective regional lists. Truly bonkers virtue signalling. It would serve them right if they didn't get a seat.

    Got an SNP election leaflet in for my constituency candidate - the word referendum is not used anywhere never mind a date or legislation for a referendum. He doesn't sound that confident of a referendum any time soon.

    Just the same generic stuff as before - a choice between Brexit Britain or a prosperous future with independence.

    1. Wings did an interesting piece on this. It's a long shot, but if Sarwar runs against Sturgeon and the other Unionist parties stand aside, there might be a chance of him knocking her out of the Parliament altogether, especially if she's just been forced to resign as FM.

      Swinney is an even more interesting case though. His majority is slim, and last time he was up against Murdo Fraser, who has become a bit of an anti-Nicola folk hero during this inquiry. If Fraser runs a heavily Unionist campaign focused on Swinney's obfuscation of the inquiry, it's certainly plausible that he can knock Swinney out.

      Both possibilities are pretty unlikely, but it shows just how risky the SNP's strategy might be. A uniform drop of just a couple of points for the SNP from where they are now could be enough to not just deny them a majority, but also take out several big name MSPs.

    2. Kenny, sounds like you're floating an ANTI-SNP strategy here.
      Popular over on WOS though.

    3. That sums you up Ramstam just like your pal Smearer Skier. Not a comment on the fact that my candidate doesn't even mention a referendum. I truly don't think people like you want independence you just want your party to win seats. Well you have the right leadership in place for continued devolution and more corruption. A party leadership working with the Britnats. A party leadership that has accepted Scotland being subjugated, subservient and humiliated every week. No problem to them as
      long as they have control of their fiefdom.

    4. I made the effort to affect who was selected for Yes parties (the SNP in my case) in my area rather than sitting on my lazy erse just moaning about it. It worked. Their commitment to indy was my top priority. All four I put top have been selected.

      What have you done for the cause IfS? Naff all apart from reading English blogs funded by unknown sources which attack Yes parties.

    5. Smearer Skier (liar since 2014) - what uni employs someone like you who is a pathological liar and a moral vacuum. Pray tell as I wouldn't want family or friends to attend a place of learning that has such low standards as to employ you.

      Is it that well known Britnat uni Edinburgh - the one where an academic published a report in 2014 saying the oil would run out in 5 years time. Was that you? Or are you just lying?

  5. 23.3% turnout in Fortissat, & 25.4% in Thorniewood. 44.8% and 43% in last full council election, so it'd be difficult to say this is indicative of anything except low voter turn-out. I remember Glasgow North-East was touted as a safe Labour seat at Westminster. But that was based on historically low turn-outs. High turn-out favoured the SNP.

  6. Thanks Bobelix for that Ray of positivity amongst all the gloom-mongers.
    I must be one of these "glass half full" kinna guys, as I see a lot of positive signs.
    The enquiry thing has been a bourach of course but hey the unionists tried and failed to weaponise it against the SNP.
    They're desperate now, and it does nobody any good to turn on the SG or FM.
    BTW, has nobody on here noticed the anti-democratic silence from the BritNat press anent Patel's bullying, Johnson's lying and Hancock's pauchling of public funds?
    Today the same "free press" are hypocritically hounding Nicola Sturgeon.
    Meanwhile 10,000 more Scots have joined the SNP.
    May is a huge opportunity.
    Unionists are moving heaven and earth to stop an SNP majority, and are reliant on disunity among Yessers.
    Let's not give them the satisfaction.
    We'll be back leafletting and canvassing again soon, where we have the advantage in terms of numbers.
    But remember, they have money and the state on their side.
    Unity for us is all.

  7. Ok, so my regional list is out. Top 3 are:
    - Emma Harper
    - Joan McAlpine
    - Paul Wheelhouse

    Current SNP list MSPs are:
    - Emma Harper
    - Joan McAlpine
    - Paul Wheelhouse

    So that's no change then.

    That's the last time I listen to Wings or IfS about plots to ensure Joan was for the chop.

    The stupid list policy has had some silly effects elsewhere. People should challenge it if they are unhappy.

  8. Smearer Skier ( liar since 2014) - I never once said anything about plots to chop McAlpine and the list. You are a Blatant liar.

    You just make up stuff. You are a disgrace. It is people like you who are ruining the SNPs hard won reputation for basic decency and Members democracy.