Friday, May 14, 2021

SNP comfortably win Airdrie & Shotts by-election

This came a lot earlier than I was expecting, and I can't find any coverage at all on TV, but according to North Lanarkshire Council this is the result of the Airdrie & Shotts by-election for the vacant seat in the UK parliament...

Anum Qaisar-Javid (SNP): 10,129 votes (46.4%, +1.4)
Kenneth Stevenson (Labour): 8,372 votes (38.4%, +6.5)
Ben Ron Callaghan (Conservatives): 2,812 votes (12.9%, -4.7)
Stephen Philip Arrundale (Liberal Democrats): 220 votes (1.0%, -2.6)
Neil Peter Manson (SDP): 151 votes (0.7%, +0.7)
Jonathan Marc Stanley (Scottish Unionist Party): 59 votes (0.3%, +0.3)
Martyn William Greene (Reform UK): 45 votes (0.2%, +0.2)
Donald Murdo MacKay (UKIP): 39 votes (0.2%, +0.2)

So a closer result than at the 2019 general election, but I don't think anyone in the SNP will be overly worried about that, bearing in mind that their own vote share actually increased. It looks like Labour may have been the beneficiary of tactical voting from Tory supporters - either that or lapsed Labour voters are returning to the fold after trying the Tories out.  Turnout is sharply down, which complicates the arithmetic, but it's highly unlikely that the Tories would suffer from that more than other parties, so that's not the explanation for their mini-slump.

This is a by-election that could have been a major problem for the SNP if last week's Holyrood election hadn't gone to plan, because their own supporters would have been demotivated and might not have turned out.  However, the good result effectively removed that risk.

It shouldn't go without note that the Liberal Democrats almost suffered the humiliation of being overtaken by the SDP - a party that most people probably don't even realise still exists.


  1. This is why figures suggest up to 2% of the UK's population has 'got out of England* while it still could'.

    EU citizens arriving in UK being locked up and expelled

    ...Eugenia said the experience was so traumatic that she had given up on trying to live with her boyfriend. “I’m not going back,” she said. “I don’t want to go through that again. The idea of moving to Britain appals me.”

    *The population of Scotland hasn't fallen, but instead it has continued to rise, attracting EU and other British citizens fleeing England

  2. The first SNP Westminster seat fought at a by-election and retained.

  3. SDP did not gain more votes than the LibDems, but the Rennies that cause sore guts can take no pleasure from their abysmal performance. It looks like unionist tactical voting to me.

  4. Good spot Marcia.

    I think the SNP have now more than comfortably convinced a majority of people that the SNP ( perhaps with a tinge of Green also) is the best party to govern Scotland.

    There are though an unknown number of people ( of which there are 2 in my 5 strong family group) who will happily vote for the SNP and Green Party but will always say they don’t want another referendum snd they don’t want to be ‘separate’.
    That’s still a cohort to be won over.

  5. It seems now that unionist tactical voting on a massive scale is going to be with us for a long long while, until independence probably. Blue tories in particular seem to be more than capable of holding their noses and voting for the enemies of their enemies. Red tories have traditionally been less likely to go the other way, although it seems, for some Labour voters at least, that this anti-tory sentiment is softened considerably by staunch unionism. Hopefully, indy supporters will also start voting clever and loan their votes accordingly when the opportunity arises. The million votes for two SNP MSPs last week was a wasted opportunity. Isn't life just full of those? Interesting times.

    1. What the result doesn't show is how the votes are going between all the different parties. On the face of it some Labour have gone to the SNP and more to the Tories.

      That may change over time once the pro-independence side start actually countering the anti-SNP/anti Independence propaganda being pumped out every day ad nauseum away from social media .

    2. I’m definitely curious as to whether what we’ve seen over the last two weeks is the extent of unionist tactical voting or whether they’re just getting started. An interesting question for a hypothetical future poll would be to present people with a binary choice between the SNP and whichever unionist party is dominant in their particular constituency (or more realistically region, as I doubt it would be possible to get that granular with the standard 1000-ish sample size) and see which one they’d plump for. Myself, I suspect there’s a limit to how many unionist voters are going to be prepared to hold their noses and vote for a party that’s otherwise diametrically opposed to their principles (some Labourites are just never going to be prepared to vote Tory, and vice versa), but I wouldn’t like to guess how many that holds true for.

  6. Is there a get out clause in the act of union?