Friday, September 22, 2023

Vote for pro-independence parties increases in Girvan & South Carrick by-election

Girvan & South Carrick by-election result on first preferences (21st September 2023)

Conservatives 47.5% (+19.7)
SNP 28.1% (+3.3)
Labour 18.0% (+9.2)
Liberal Democrats 3.9% (n/a)
Alba 2.5% (+1.4)

This is technically a Tory gain from the SNP, but as ever in STV by-elections, that's completely meaningless.  The popular vote in the ward last time was won by an independent candidate with 31.4% of the vote, and there was another independent who took 5.6%.  So to make sense of yesterday's result, you'd need to know which party those voters would have plumped for in the absence of independent candidates.  Assuming the answer is "the Tories", the sudden 20-point jump in the Tory vote may be largely artificial.

That said, the Tories are supposed to be struggling at the moment, so this result could be taken as an indication that, in some regions at least, the Scottish Tories can still successfully use anti-SNP sentiment as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The crumb of comfort here is that the total vote share for pro-independence parties has increased (albeit helped by the absence of the non-partisan candidates), as has the SNP's vote share.  Alba can claim to have more than doubled their own vote share, but obviously 2.5% is not going to be any sort of game-changer for the party's credibility and looks very much like their past results throughout the country - which again poses the question of whether it would have been better for Alex Salmond to take the bull by the horns by standing in the Rutherglen parliamentary by-election himself and seeking the type of breakthrough result (10%? 20%?) that might have finally shifted the dial on how people view Alba.


  1. The result will be spun and reported as a win for unionism and a loss for the SNP
    Every loss no matter how you count underlying trends is bad overall for Scotland, for without a SNP majority in the end there can never be anything that even looks like a referendum on independence

    You can have a dozen pro independence candidates in an election but if they all lose then Scotland loses no matter how many votes each one of them gets

    That's what fragmentation of a common purpose achieves
    All splintering ever does is cause pain and loss and the union wins again, it's why Scotland would be rubbish at war, the enemy just has to sew the seeds of doubt and once again get Scotland arguing with itself

    1. You seem to be beaming in from another planet, my friend. Let me explain what you have missed -

      1) There were only two pro-independence parties standing in this election, compared to three unionist parties.

      2) This election was conducted under the Single Transferable Vote, meaning there was no issue with splitting the vote. Once the Alba candidate was eliminated, her votes were transferred according to second preferences, meaning the SNP's chances of winning were not harmed by Alba standing.

      3) Even if you're worried about the psychological impact of the first preference result, the Tories would still have been seventeen points ahead if every Alba voter had instead voted SNP on first preference.

  2. What constituency is this?

    1. Girvan is in the Westminster constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, and the Holyrood constituency of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley. Both currently SNP held.

  3. I wonder what the constituency was in 2014. Basically a 70/30 split to NO here once the indies have ripped the mask away. Obviously not all labour, Libs would vote no so maybe 65/35.

    Must admit I'd have hoped for more inroads into this type of constituency.

    In saying all that, it is a local election. The Tory might just be a very good councillor.

  4. In Scotland "Independent" candidates/councillors are usually conservative and unionist. No surprise about this result.

    1. That's what everyone says, but I think it's usually not right. In this case in 2022 the Independent's surplus split SNP 24%, Con 21%, Labour 15%, the other Independent 21%. In my own ward the Independent (who I know) is Independent by Indy vote as well. Labour are about 30% YES.

      We don't know how the 2nd independent would have split as the SNP was already elected.

  5. So basically by election Conservatives 47.5%, SNP 28.1% after
    2022 (ignoring first elected independent) Con 33.9%, SNP 32.4%.

    So Con 47.5% (+13.6%) SNP 28.1% (-6.3%)

    Fairly quick and dirty.

  6. Soz, that was pseudo-2022 to get the comparator.

  7. Which is the more likely?

    The continuation of "Our Precious Union" for longer than three years
    The return of Lord Lucan with cast-iron proof of his innocence

    LOL. Get the welcome mat ready for the toff!

    1. Hahahaha nice one!

    2. As long as the numpties in the SNP continue to let Westminster run the SNP you are probably spot on.

    3. Yup. Yoons may clutch at straws but at the end of the day it's pretty much over for the Yoonyon.

  8. I see Salmond was in the National declaring 20 MSPs as a feasible result for Alba at the next Holyrood election, while bemoaning the fact that Alba currently lacked "credibility". Well, of course it does Alex, when its own leader tucks tail and runs from the most obvious electoral opportunity to gain credibility!

    He seems to be under the misapprehension that success will simply fall into his lap if his ambitions are high enough. But you can't bluff your way to success if you decline a seat at the table.

    Alba are in dire need of some voices that aren't simply mindless Salmond cheerleaders. For the sheer fact that you're actually willing to politely call out his strategic errors, I'd say the Alba NEC needs you more than ever, James.

  9. Is it true that there will be 2 fewer seats at the next Westminster elections? Of course the british media are not putting attention to this

    1. Yes, it's something to do with redrawn boundaries.


      Scotland 59 seats
      Wales 40 seats
      England 533 seats

      This is due to change to:

      Scotland 57 seats
      Wales 32 seats
      England 543 seats

      No change for Northern Ireland, which has 18 seats.

    2. Yes, there's this about the Treaty of Union:

      "A new British Parliament would be created with the addition of Scottish representatives to the English Parliament (about 10% of the new total)."

      For 2024 that will be 8.8%, as people were literally replaced by sheep.

    3. Isn't it funny how there's no outrage about Northern Ireland not having or wanting English political parties in their part of the world, yet in Scotland the branch offices of English political parties keep insisting they're Scottish, and there's outrage if we state the truth and fact that they're not

  10. YouGov Westminster voting intention, Scottish sub-sample, field work 21 - 22 Sept.
    Con 16% 5 seats (-1), Lab 24% 8 seats (+7), LibDem 10% 5 seats (+1), SNP 36% 41 seats (-7), RefUK 6%, Green 5%, Other 3%.
    That’s three or four YouGov sub-samples in a row that have been less that apocalyptic for SNP.
    V O’B

  11. It's not often I agree with Neil Mackay of the Herald, in fact the last time was like, well errr, never.

    "Cybernat attacks on trade unions shame Yes movement"

    One SNP MP raised his voice, and Bill Ramsay of the SNP TUG wrote angrily in the National. From Yousaf, and anyone campaigning in this by-election? Nothing, nada, zip, zilch.

    The SNP can kiss bye-bye to Rutherglen and West Hamilton. Who, in any constituency, doesn't know someone who works in a school?

  12. The ferry fiasco goes on and on.
    The contract awarded to Fergusons in Port Glasgow by the SNP SG in an attempt to make political gain, which has backfired so spectacularly.
    Launched by Sturgeon in 2017 to great fanfare, but still not in service. You couldn’t make it up.
    And we’re to believe this hopeless, corrupt shower of incompetents are capable of running an independent Scotland. Dear oh dear oh dear.