The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Labour’

The Biggest Irony Of Election Night

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 6, 2011 @ 09:06

A very misleading photo of some guy

One quick thought for you.

Labour, in Scotland, suffered a “shellacking” at the hands of the SNP.

That defeat was magnified to a very large extent by none other than the First Past The Post electoral system.

You know, that system most of them came out and backed.

But wait!

Scotland doesn’t have just FPTP. It has the joyous Additional Member System, allowing additional MPs to be distributed in accordance with the PROPORTIONAL preference of the electorate. And, even better, taking into account seats already won under FPTP, thus correcting for its distortion.


To recap. Labour, facing meltdown at the hands of the First Past The Post electoral system in Scotland, are rescued from utter disaster by a fair voting system, enshrined in proportional representation.

“Lord” Reid, your boys took a hell of a beating.

How do you like them apples, Iain?


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Scottish (Labour) Power

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 9, 2010 @ 18:12

Wonder if Labour would change this back...

The most boring, and yet the most intriguing, result at the last election was the one in Scotland. Let me explain.

Boring because not a single seat changed hands.

Intriguing because not a single seat changed hands.

The SNP ran quite an ambitious campaign. They insisted they were on course for as many as 20 seats, and there were certainly at least a few within their reach. You couldn’t move during the campaign for Alex Salmond complaining about his exclusion from the debates. And, to be fair, the BBC, ITV and Sky more than made up for it, with fair few Scottish debates of their very own.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems too were hoping to capitalise on Labour’s perceived weakness. After the stunning by-election win in Dunfermline and West Fife, and a number of easy targets in Edinburgh and beyond, the feeling was good that progress could be made.

The national opinion polls were putting Labour in the doldrums. But little did anyone, or at least anyone south of the border, realise that Scottish Labour voters had not gone anywhere. The national opinion polls hid the greatest variable of them all. Scotland.

The Tories improved on their miserable voting share, but remain with just a single MP. And that is very likely to be their high watermark. Meanwhile, the national Lib Dems, who these days look very English, failed to resonate north of the border, and the Scottish party remains in terminal decline.

The failure of the others to dent Labour expressed itself even further. In some seats, Labour’s vote share actually increased. Not bad for a party apparently at rock bottom after 13 years in power.

All this is very good news for them, especially with crucial Scottish parliamentary elections in May next year. At least, we think they’re in May. And with the SNP not looking quite so good as they used to, their perilous one seat lead over Labour looks in real jeopardy.

Even better, with Labour now out of power in Westminster, the Scottish Labour party can get a boost from the national party’s usual opposition bonus. The aggression of the outsider can be once more turned to their full advantage.

There is just one down side. Iain Gray, Scottish Labour’s leader. Not the best, shall we say.

But, at this stage in the game, I would strongly expect Labour to be the largest party in Holyrood after May 2011.

Then what? Coalitions?

No way. Lab-SNP, a massive joke. Lab-LD, tried in the past, could work again. Oh, but hang on, those pesky Lib Dems are now in coalition with the Tories at Westminster. Which is, naturally, toxic in Scotland. Labour would never touch that.

And even if Scottish Labour were crazy enough to offer, the Lib Dems would surely realise it would just look a little too opportunistic to be in bed with different partners in different parts of the country. Which happens anyway at local council level, but who cares about that!

So a Labour minority government will be in place. Oh well, at least that’s something new!

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Glasgow North East: Who Will Win

Posted by The Futility Monster on August 18, 2009 @ 08:09

This morning is leading on the issue of what exactly is going to happen in the Glasgow North East by-election.

For those considering a punt on the outcome, clearly nothing would be closer to the front of their mind, and the site’s punter-in-chief Mike Smithson has yet to come to a considered judgement on the issue.

It’s understandable why. As we know, the three “main” parties didn’t stand against Michael Martin at the last election by convention. The result looked like this:


As you can see, Michael Martin managed to secure over 50% of the vote. Probably easy considering the paucity of the opposition. But the presence of the SNP is an important factor. I would venture to suggest that the serious party opposition may well have hoovered up a significant degree of the votes that the other opposition candidates would have got.

Nevertheless, the suspiciously large vote share for the Socialist Labour party would also suggest that a significant proportion of these voters were confused and could well return home to the Labour Party when they get the chance.

I’m prepared to assume that most of the vote for the Speaker will return to Labour at the by-election. Michael Martin was well known locally, and Scottish Labour is particularly tribal. Most of its supporters will have been well aware who the “Labour” candidate was.

For those who voted for him but were not supporters of Labour, perhaps they will return to their natural party. But I think this will be balanced out by those returning from Scottish Labour.

The outcome, I think a similar vote of 15,000 or so for the Labour Party candidate would not be unreasonable. In the circumstances, I reckon that would be sufficient to win the seat.

The SNP, Tories and the Lib Dems will be all be competing to say which amongst them is the best home for the “only we can beat Labour” vote. Yet, clearly, only the SNP will have the genuine right to claim that. The Lib Dems, alas, don’t have a chance. And I think the anaemic performance of the Conservatives in the 2008 Glasgow East by-election, held at the height of Labour’s unpopularity (another one), will naturally rule them out for this one.

I just don’t think, though, that the SNP will be able to get enough traction. The Glasgow East by-election victory last year was unprecedented. For lightning to strike twice is surely asking too much. Last year the opposition to Labour was extraordinary; and yet they still achieved a vote of 10,000. Those levels of fever pitch are not quite so strong now. Bear in mind that only a few months later Labour sailed home in Glenrothes. Not entirely comparable, but a good sign that Labour aren’t doomed to failure at every single by-election they encounter…

My conclusion: this will be a Labour victory. It will be a well fought battle,  and the SNP will indeed get close. But I think a Labour majority of some two to three thousand over the SNP the most likely outcome.

Of course, we haven’t even had an “official” election campaign yet as no by-election date has been called and won’t be until October. Maybe something exciting will turn the tables by then. We can but hope…

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