Saturday, July 12, 2008

SNP Closing on Labour in Glasgow East

Sometimes you just have to shake your head in disbelief. The Telegraph reports an ICM poll in Glasgow East, which puts Labour on 47% and the SNP on 33%, a massive 15 points behind. Why on earth do people in that constituency even consider continuing to vote Labour? To misquote the Life of Brian, what has Labour ever done for them? The constituency has a male life expectancy of around 64, many of the council estates are the poorest in the country. Need I go on? When Iain Duncan Smith first visited the Easterhouse estate there in 2002 someone yelled out to him: "What are you doing here, we're all Labour?" He shouted back: "Yes, and look around you. Look where it's got you!"

The Telegraph and PoliticalBetting.com both report this poll as great news for Labour. I beg to differ. It is actually rather better for the SNP than it might seem at first sight. It shows there has been a 15% swing to the SNP since 2005. They only need another 7% to win and there are still ten days to go. Since 2005 Labour's vote has gone down by a quarter and the SNP's has doubled. There's also 16% of LibDem and Tory voters for the SNP to squeeze. I suspect there will be many Tory voters in that constituency who would happily give Gordon Brown a black eye. I am not for one minute suggesting they should do anything other than vote Tory (natch), but the SNP won't be so squeamish.

Those who are as long in the tooth as me will remember the last time the SNP won a by election in Glasgow - back in 1988 when Jim Sillars won Glasgow Govan. A poll was taken the Monday before polling showing Labour on 51% and the SNP on 33%. For that reason, the SNP won't be downhearted by the ICM poll tonight, and nor should they be. By election campaigns are all about momentum, and there's no doubt that it is the SNP which has the Big Mo at the moment.

47 comments:

The Raven said...

Iain, Labour are helped more than any other party by 'my father voted X, so I vote X' syndrome. It also tends to be the case that when people are more well off and happier, they vote Conservative. So seats like this appear doomed to always vote Labour, despite how little it actually does for them. I didn't know about that IDS story; I'm pleased somebody so high profile had the guts to say it.

bj said...

He shouted back: "Yes, and look around you. Look where it's got you!"

It was this kind of rapport with the public that so endeared the voters to IDS.

Bob Piper said...

A little early in the day for making your excuses about the piss poor Tory turnout isn't it Iain. Surely you could wait to see whether you could blame the weather...

Anonymous said...

Glasgow's East End was of course a land of milk and honey when the Tories were in power.

David Boothroyd said...

What was astonishing about Glasgow East was the immediate arrogance of all the anti-Labour crowd, you included, in assuming that this byelection would be an SNP walkover and kill off the Labour Party in Scotland and indeed everywhere else. You didn't think to ask the people of Glasgow East. So yes, the poll is good news for Labour, but it's even better news for the people of Easterhouse and Bailieston because it shows they think for themselves.

I don't think Tories will ever understand this sort of place. That Duncan Smith quote is a classic and Fraser Nelson wrote the same rubbish in the Spectator to the effect that Labour is responsible for the poverty. What arrogant nonsense! The poorer people in a constituency like this are not going to go for a 'stand on your own two feet' economic policy. Conservative economic policy would be the death of them. They need a caring state which is committed to investing in them. What will Conservative plans to end SureStart do here?

cookie said...

'...remember the last time (and indeed the only time) the SNP won a by election in Glasgow - back in 1988 when Jim Sillars won Glasgow Govan. A poll was taken the Monday before polling showing Labour on 51% and the SNP on 33%. For that reason, the SNP won't be downhearted by the ISM poll tonight...'

I assume there have been many times since (and prior to) 1988 when Labour have led by a similar margin according to the polls and gone on to win handsomely. In which case the SNP have a great deal to be downhearted about. The 1988 example suggests that an SNP victory is not impossible, but says little about the likelihood.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Tories did such a lot for Scotland, starting with the poll tax.

Roger360 said...

Do you believe any of the labour "supporters" are actually going to turn out to vote? By contrat, the SNP guys will be raring to go. I predict a narrow win for the SNP, but if Labour squeaks in you can guarantee your friend Hazel will be there claiming the greatest victory since ....the last great victory

javelin said...

Average life expectancy 64 - and that's including the ones who try to stay healthy.

The problem with Labour is that they can't/don't/won't accept human have an inner mental life. The just do behaviour control (fines, tax, etc). The closest they get is the acceptance of inner mental states is a few abmigiously induced mental states like taking/giving offence.

Enaging the left in arguments involving inner mental states (happiness, motivation and the like) moves the agenda to the right wing.

Sadly left wing voters also don't do inner mental states as that would be to accept that they are somehow in control of their lives. The left prefer to believe that context, and not self, determines a persons state. The good people of East Glasgow believe they are victims of context and until they start to see themselves as autonomous human beings they will not change.

mens sana said...

Iain I am all for nocking labour, but I think it is extraordinary for a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party to be crowing about the potential success of a nationalist party in eclipsing a party committed at least theoretically to the union. Be careful what you wish for!

John MacLeod said...

"Those who are as long in the tooth as me will remember the last time (and indeed the only time) the SNP won a by election in Glasgow - back in 1988 when Jim Sillars won Glasgow Govan."

Um - ever heard of Margo MacDonald, Ian? She won the first Glasgow Govan by-election for the SNP in November 1973.

Diablo said...

I see your friend Nick Palmer has a sense of humour judging by his comment on the PB blog on the poll:

"Hey, and that’s before the impact of my visit It’ll be fun if the Tories come fourth - time to look up all the jibes about our coming 5th in Henley… by Nick Palmer MP July 12th, 2008 at 8:42 pm"

Anonymous said...

gosh the bunker boys are out tonight. Crumbs from the table of despair!

Let us just wait for the actual election. Then waiot for the remarks of boothroyd,piper and co!

I suspect they will be slightly different.

I love bad losers!

Kara Seaton said...

At the same period in the Crewe by-election the Conservatives had achieved about a 10% swing.

So not bad momentum for the SNP and if the Govan example is anything to go by the SNP have an ability to pick up quick in the last few days.

Betty Swollocks said...

@ "David Boothroyd"

The poorer people in a constituency like this are not going to go for a 'stand on your own two feet' economic policy.

No, why would they, when they can keep voting for more benefits out of the pockets of those who do stand on their own two feet?

I notice you aren't so cocky with the "It's a psephological impossibility for the Tories to win the next election" shtick any more, "David", or whatever your real name is. You bullshitting laughable fraud.

David Lindsay said...

I loathe the SNP. I know that several of them are lovely people. Why, even my own late father was an SNP Councillor in the Sixties. But as a party, their single reason for existing is utterly abhorrent to me.

Yet if Labour were to lose Glasgow East to them, then it could only fight back as the party of social justice and wealth redistribution, of the Union, and of an undisputed commitment to Catholic schools. New Labour simply cannot be that party.

The way would be cleared for the re-emergence of a party which cannot be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I don't know where you get your life expectancy figure of 64 years for Glasgow East.

The official figures East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership area (slightly larger than the Glasgow East constituency) is 69.3 years.

Not good, but nothing like as bad as you claim.

Anonymous said...

Think these ICM poll is shared in the Sunday Mirror too - which also puts positive Lab gloss on it.

Ben said...

You find it hard to believe, Iain, that anybody in Glasgow could still want to vote Labour.

Why is GB postponing the vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill? Isn't it because he is afraid of the effect on Roman Catholics in Glasgow East, but calculates that as their attention span can be measured in nanoseconds, they'll be quite happy if he just puts it off for a bit?

He doesn't have a very high estimate of their judgement, and that's what he's relying on.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

If the 'what have they ever done for you' idea is to be believed, you can't just put a statistic down without any context.

Is life expectancy now below what it was in 1997, is the average earnings now below what it was in 1997, etc.

Perhaps it is that life is not great in GE, but it might well have got better - although it may take more time before it becomes the sort of area you have your eye on a seat in.

Anonymous said...

Iain, as a Tory, I agree. Labour have massively let down the people who need them most in places like Glasgow East, but what is the alternative? The Cameron spin of "It's all your own fault you're poor or on drugs or fat or whatever. Pull yourselves together dammit, read some Samuel Smiles, and stop whining about trivialities like Thatcher's decimation of British manufacturing. You're out of work so you must be a lazy dole-bludger now TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY!"

Even Mrs T acknowledged if someone never have a chance it's rum to tell them to buck up their own behaviour. And Cameron as a semi-aristo with a sense of noblesse oblige ought to know better.

Anonymous said...

This here ICM poll - isn't it usual to mention the number of people questioned, the date and the method? Can't seem to find any of this in the Labourgraph, although I can see a bit of Brownite spin from poor old Matthew D'Ancona claiming a "comfortable" Labour lead which, assuming victory (as Matt seems to) will give Brown a chance to plot the "most potentially thrilling political comeback in a generation."

Is that a squadron of pigs I see, zooming low over the rooftops?

Anonymous said...

David Boothroyd.

Voting Labour----"it shows they think for themselves".

Thanks for the Sunday morning laugh.

Wherever you are David,you are not in the West of Scotland or you wouldn't come out with statements like that.

Re the poll. I haven't seen the details, so I don't know if they tested "likely to vote".
Since only 30% or so of the electorate voted last time, it is by no means certain that a majority will vote Labour. It could easily be argued that those supporting the SNP and wanting change are more likely to vote.

Anonymous said...

O/T: I was looking forward to breakfast, until I clicked on your site and that terrifying Total Politics cover photo gurned at me. Do have some regard for the sensibilities of your hapless readers.

Newmania said...

Its a matter of context Iain .When one possibility is the end of the Labour Party , scraping a win in a seat without which you cannot win ever again, is good news .I can recall various films in which the agony of a character was demonstrated by his begging to be shot .A swift death, in this context, also "Good news".

I was always dubious that Labour could actually relinquish a Constituency where about half of the working population are either unemployed or incapacitated ( just over 6% being the former ..hence low unemployment). Sheer dependency should keep them in and I daresay it will.

You are also wrong if you think money has not beeb poured on the area . In fact life expectancy is in places as low as 54 the same as Gambia , lower than Sudan and Bangladesh never mind the healthy 71 for the Gaza strip . But , it has taken billions to achieve this hellish wasteland . Gleaming new developments are covered in graffiti , shiny initiatives adorn Police no-go areas .
If there was ever anywhere that demonstrated how wrong Brown and his socialism are it is this one but the poor people are in a cul de sac, they need their benefits ..


By the way the way to drain this cist is a sort of Wisconsin style attack on work-lessness , but the , as yet ., unacknowledged truth is that it will cost even more than the current benefits tap. Would you be prepared to pay more taxes to help these people ?

Newmania said...

Aha is that David Boothroyd the Public school educated scion of Labour aristocracy who has never had a proper job; I do believe it is. Now let me see , where is he today , last time he was down with the kidz of London( where he moved so as to further his nasty little career). Now he has a unique understanding of Glasgow East a place in which he would last ten seconds.

“The poorer people in a constituency like this are not going to go for a 'stand on your own two feet' economic policy”

What is your option then a 1930s theme Park complete with elsewhere extinct diseases? That is where your arrogant ignorance has got them. They need to be employed adults and that will take some tough love , it will also take more resources than the Labour Party are putting now . As Conservatives we have to start accepting that while only we can solve the problems it will not be cheap .

Boothroyd and his self serving sort will never cure poverty because if they did ,,,what would be the point of the Labour Party , or indeed David Boothroyd. He lives on misery like a maggot on rotting fruit

Why should these people not stand on their own two feet David ….do you think you are so much better than them?

Paul said...

Anon Coward said "Glasgow's East End was of course a land of milk and honey when the Tories were in power."

I think the point is that Labour have been in power for 11 years and male life expectancy in one of their heartland constituencies is now lower than Iraq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

Anonymous said...

javelin said...

"The left prefer to believe that context, and not self, determines a persons state."

'Self' determines a persons state when their context is affluent. Otherwise, mostly, no chance.

Houdini said...

Lots of Labour trolls here making excuses and crowing that they might just scrape through in one of their safest seats.

Silly cretins would be happy with a win of a single vote after having a massive majority, but in the real world....

Newmania said...

I must apologise I managed to discuss the contentious issue of David Boothroyd without reminding anyone of the "A Conservative victory is psephologically impossible "...mularky.

Sorry David , you were talking about arropgance ...do go on ...

Chris Paul said...

Comparisons with 2005 are all very well Iain. But how about comparisons with last week and the week before that? Or even the Scottish Parliament elections. These are what count here.

The betting has gone from a rout for SNP (in the absence of our candidate) to a good chance of a strong hold (with an excellent candidate, and the SNP's alleged to be a weak, misogynist, separatist fundie, bully ... in the MSM).

The people of Glasgow East very likely remember even worse times under the Tories and I imagine, in fact I know, they are a cheerful bunch who waste not want not, make do and mend, and get by.

Margaret Curran would obviously be a better champion for them than the born again charmer that is John Mason.

stephen rouse said...

If New Labour get a kicking for their abandonment of Glasgow East, it will be no more than they deserve. But no amount of frantic re-writing of the history of the last decade as "socialist" can hide the truth - places like Glasgow East have been wrecked by uninterrupted idolisation of the market for the past 30 years. The Government which drags us out of this mess (and it may well be Tory in name) will be Keynesian in nature, even if it dare not speak the name.

JessTheDog said...

Margaret Curran's own Scottish Parliament seat of Glasgow Baillieston was only won by approximately 4,000 votes. The days of big Labour majorities in these seats was over even in 2007. The relative positions of Labour and the SNP have changed markedly since 2007, with the SNP maintaining respectable approval ratings and Labour freefalling both in the UK and in Scotland.

This is like Crewe and Nantwich. Labour would normally be expected to hold this seat with a little effort, even in difficult times. Opinion polls at the start of the campaign and voting history of the constituency supports this view. However, these are not simply difficult times. If Margaret Curran plays a blinder of a campaign, and the SNP blunder their way through the next 10 days, then she could hold the seat for Labour. This is unlikely, given the dismal campaign record of Labour in Scotland and in the UK recently, and the polished performance of the SNP. Moreover, Labour have simply not fought for such seats before, and have simply taken them for granted - it must be worrying for a bankrupt party to throw such money at a notionally safe seat! Add into the mix the ubiquitous unpopularity of Labour, even amongst the core vote, acutely worse since the economic blunderings which have hit people's pockets over the last year. The voters in Glasgow East tend not to be homeowners or carowners, but will have suffered from the 10p tax rate debacle, and the increase in food prices and bus fares (for those not on concessions).

I predict a modest SNP victory, given the following factors:

- Lacklustre or bungled Labour campaign
- Polished (or at least blunder-free) SNP campaign
- Moving of the goal-posts over the next 10 days as Labour's prospects decline
- Modest swing to SNP from Labour amongst those who bother to vote
- Signifiant stay-at-home amongst core Labour voters

It will be interesting to see what positions the Sun and Record take as the campaign evolves. The Scottish media used to be slavishly Labour, but most have changed bandwagon by now (except for the Daily Labour, sorry Daily Record)

The Tories will barely register but at least they are fielding a good candidate, unlike Labour at the most recent by-election!

David Boothroyd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alex said...

Iain,

I think that is the second story I have read in the last few weeks of Conservative canvassers rising to provocation. In many years of campaigning (and with a very high success rate), I have never seen or heard any serious candidate respond that way. I think I would be less inclined to support them if I did.

Jim M said...

The first poll in Crewe - 11 days away from the vote - had Labour on 39%. Nearly a 10% drop from 2005 or 20% of their 2005 vote.

The ICM Glasgow East poll has Labour’s vote dropping by nearly 14% - a 23% loss.

By polling day Labour had lost 37% of it’s orginal vote. A 37% loss of 60.7% in Glasgow East would give Labour 38%.

Depends on the next poll I imagine but there’s a momentum going against Labour.

AfricanMum said...

David Boothroyd's comments have finally made up my mind. 2005 would be the last time I voted Labour in a Gen Election - a party that thinks it's ok that people can't stand on their own 2 feet? It's criminal that places like Glasgow East can exist in this country - despite what a lot of people say, it's a land of opportunity if you have aspiration. My husband and I have aspiration for our kids, for their sakes, we can never vote Labour again.

Anonymous said...

Newmania said...
I must apologise I managed to discuss the contentious issue of David Boothroyd without reminding anyone of the "A Conservative victory is psephologically impossible "...mularky.

Newmania, you keep trotting out that 'psephologically impossible' quote but, as has been pointed out several times on this site, you always attribute it wrongly to David Boothroyd. It is the sort of thing he would say but it was, in fact, said by David Lindsay (on Oct 3rd 2007).

Anonymous said...

Newmania said...
"In fact life expectancy is in places as low as 54 the same as Gambia"

The power of statistical selectiveness!

I could point you to places in Conservative-held constituencies where life-expectancy is even lower.

Newmania said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter said...

This one is all about turnout, if Labour voters dont vote, and why should they, Brown will loose.

Adrian said...

"What has Labour ever done for them?"

Pumped them full of benefits.

I look on it as a (costly) form of appeasement.

will said...

Iain - before you shake your head in disbelief take some time to think. The Tories will always remain hated in scotland, but many are just as suspicious of the SNP. Iain Macwhirter's article today says it all:

http://sundayherald.co.uk/oped/opinion/display.var.2392742.0.0.php

“But I don’t seek to disparage the voters of Glasgow for supporting Labour so doggedly over the years. Those who know this part of the city insist the people here are not suffering from mental delusion or a chronic brain-cell loss but from a kind of anachronistic altruism: they do what they think is morally right rather than what is in their narrow self-interest.

“But this moral imperative represents a problem for the SNP. Many Glaswegians still regard the SNP as a selfish party out to line its own tartan nest by redirecting oil revenues to its Scottish business friends. Alex Salmond rather encouraged this view by making “Scotland’s Oil” and cutting fuel duty the centrepiece of its campaign launch last week, forgetting that most people in Glasgow East don’t actually own a car and that many feel that oil is a national resource, to be used “for the good of all”. You may laugh, but that’s the way they think in traditional Labour constituencies. Crude resource politics don’t work in places where people vote not on their pocket books but on their consciences.

“And the SNP would be wrong to believe the “Tartan Tory” tag can no longer be hung around their necks. We are about to discover that Labour is suddenly a party of red-blooded socialists. They will be out and about in Glasgow parading their anti-capitalist credentials - at least until polling day. They’ll paint the Nats as the modern Thatcherites, in the pockets of businessmen like Brian Souter and Donald Trump; bent on cutting services and business rates. Enough voters might even believe it.”

Newmania said...

I could point you to places in Conservative-held constituencies where life-expectancy is even lower.

Do it then

Anonymous said...

Newmania said...
"I could point you to places in Conservative-held constituencies where life-expectancy is even lower.

Do it then"


Rooksdown in Basingstoke had the lowst life expectancy in England.

Anonymous said...

Adrian said...

"Pumped them full of benefits.

I look on it as a (costly) form of appeasement."

No they haven't. Had nulab either provided good (let's say French style) benefits or, preferably, good jobs (or even any jobs at all) for its core voters then Labour would not now be on the verge of extinction.

The core Labour vote is now well aware that nulab loves foreigners and the rich, rich foreigners being the ideal. Those voters will not be supporting Labour any more.

That is why nulab is now trying to appease tory voters by getting the well-known capital gains tax- avoider to punish the poor for the tory crime of being poor.

freescotlandnow said...

The recent poll in Glasgow East was 'weighted’ and the raw figures are much more interesting.

Possibly the researchers couldn’t believe the SNP had closed the gap so quickly but that is what it actually suggests. A poster 'traquir' on the Glasgow Herals site provided this info and it's accurate:

Poll is here:

http://www.tinyurl.com/5zyad3

The actual figures were:

The sample size is 516. The number actual mentioning who they want to vote for was 303 see page 3 first row.

The actual votes were:

Labour - 131, SNP - 124,

Conservative 29, Liberal 10, Other
10.

[note the difference between the published figures for Tories and Lib Dems as well!]

Which translates to 43.23% Labour and 40.92% SNP!