Friday, November 13, 2009

Keep Taking the Pills, Jim

The Glasgow North East by election tells us very little about the likely result of the next election in Scotland, apart from the fact that Labour is better able to hold on to its client state than it is in England.

It was certainly an achievement to gain nearly 60% of the vote, albeit on a pathetic 33% turnout. The SNP will have been disappointed not to increase their share of the vote by more than 3%. And the BNP was expecting to do better than its 4.2%, a mere 1.7% better than their 2005 election showing. The Conservatives moved up from 5th to 3rd place, but with only 5.2% of the vote, a mere 0.7% increase in 2005. (UPDATE: It appears from info in the comments that the Scottish Unionist candidate in 2005 wasn't in fact an official Conservative candidate). Meanwhile, the LibDems staggered in in 6th place with a minute 474 votes, surely their worst ever by election performance. No wonder they didn't even bother to put up a candidate in 2005!

It's amusing how Jim Murphy is all over the media saying how this means the Labour Party is on its way to victory int he general election. Keep taking the pills, Jim.

UPDATE: Ben Brogan says there is one clear consequence from this result. Gordon Brown is safe. Hallelujah.

UPDATE: Will Straw's Left Foot Forward has a more sober take than most on the left on what this means for Labour.


trevorsden said...

Surely no one put up a candidate in 2005 as it was the Speakers seat.

A low turnout with labour fiddling the postal vote is hardly any sort of scenario to analyse.

Benny said...

I wonder what your word of the day is.

'mere' ;-) x

David Boothroyd said...

Exactly how sour are those grapes? The Tories did not 'move up from 5th to 3rd' as they did not stand before and you can't compare the tiny and ultra-orange Scottish Unionist Party with David Cameron's lot who were 40-odd votes off losing their deposit.

But this result does fit into a pattern: byelection results under Gordon Brown in Labour heartland seats have been consistently better than the pundits predicted, from Sedgefield, Southall, Glenrothes, and now Glasgow North East. The only one which caught us out was Glasgow East where the local party was not in a fit state and the SNP caught us by surprise.

Labour's core voters will turn out to keep their Labour MPs. The floating vote is still up for grabs because Cameron has not sealed the deal and doesn't have any policies to show them.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

60%? Defies logic.

Iain Dale said...

I assumed the candidate who billed themselves as Scottish Unionist in 2005 was an official Conservative candidate. Clearly that was wrong!

Malc said...

Yeah, Tories didn't stand in 2005.

And the Lib Dems finished 6th, not 5th.

But otherwise right on Iain.

Dungeekin said...

Actually, it does prove something.

It proves a long-held hypothesis about voting Labour.


Frank Owen said...

Of course they weren't an official Tory candidate, it was the Speaker's seat. This hasn't been a Labour seat since 2000, when Martin accepted the Speakership. Lib Dems, Tories and Labour don't contest the Speaker, no matter which party the Speaker was originally from. The SNP do, mainly because the SNP's constitution requires them to contest every seat in Scotland.

Beats me how they managed to calculate "swing" and vote share changes.

Kate j Norden said...

Let Scotland be free to raise its own taxes, let GB be King of Scotland. Let it be.

Stephen said...

So what pills have you taken Iain?

I saw Jim Murphy last night on the TV and thought he was absolutely excellent, a breath of fresh air.

Why have they got this guy locked up in Scotland? He'd be a much better Labour leader than anyone else I've seen.

The Yorkshire Terrorist said...

Erm, what would you expect him to say? "Ah, we had it in the bag all along, we were never worried."

Siezing on by-election victories, no matter how much of a foregone conclusion it was, is de rigeur. Victory is victory, and victory breeds hubris in all politicians.

Don't forget though that Labour had a swing to them. Small maybe, and as you say, on a pathetic turnout, but at this stage in the politico-economic cycle, to get a positive swing is a big achievement.

Unsworth said...

@ David Boothroyd


Who is this 'us'?

Stepney said...

Of the 20 odd thousand votes cast, over 6000 were postal votes so the polling stations must have had tumble weed blowing though them.

And whilst we're doing the Math think about this: 81% of the constituency didn't vote for Labour.

What you're looking at there is not a resounding message of support for Brown it's the death of democracy.

That result in full

Apathy - 41,814 (67.03%)
Labour - 12,231 votes (19.6%)
SNP - 4,120 votes
Tory - 1,075 votes
BNP - 1,013 votes
Solidarity - 794 votes
Lib Dems - 474 votes


Aye We Can ! said...

Above all this was a Labour-SNP fight which labour won, and won well. It has big impliactions for the SNP if it is listening.

The by-election's UK implications are less clear, but given it could, arguably should, have been his death nell, this confortable win for Labour is surely good news for Gordon Brown and Labour UK?

I'd read nothing at all into the poor Tory showing, indeed given the tories are well placed in quite a few SNP held seats, they can take some comfort from the nats' apparent vulnerabilty in Westminster contests.

That said, only the most anglo centic obsever would fail to see some UK wide implications from this result. Brown is safe, Labour aint finished, and Cameron aint closed any deals. Just contrast this morning with the day after June Euro results.

And we should also welcome the poorish showing by the BNP, despite the hype, in no small part fueled by an irresponsible media who gave the BNP disprprtionate coverage compared to the other smaller parties.

And Jim Murphy - watch him. One of the sharpest operators left in Labour ranks. And no Brownite, so a man with a future whatever the post General election outcomes...if he can hold East Renfrewshire from the Tories, a genuine UK battleground seat

Stepney said...

So, in one of Labour's top ten safest seats, where they normally weigh the vote, where a massive proportion of the electorate are dependent on Labour's largesse with public money, they couldn't even get 20% of the electorate to vote for them.

And this is something to be happy about?

50 Calibre said...

Meaningless result in another country. Most of the constituency's electoral register have 'Vote Labour' stamped on their birth certificates. The poor dears know no better...

Paul said...

The Party which is to form the next election barley gets 1000 votes when they are c10-15% points clear of the most unpopular government and PM in half a century - hardly a ringing endorsement Iain.

Iain Dale said...

Did I say it was?

Did I ever expect it to be?



sarah said...

As usual with results like this, one side plays up the result, the others play it down.

Results in Scotland simply have no correlation to Englsih marginal seats - they might as well be on different planets (anyone here ever been to Glasgow north east?)

All this talk of a sudden Labour resurgence based on a by-election in an area where people have a genetic disposition to vote Labour - is, well, total nonsense.

Or have Crewe, or Norwich, been erased from the memories of Labour voters?

Jimmy said...

A more instructive comparison may be the Euros where Labour polled 41% in this seat. Perhaps a tad premature to claim victory in May just yet, but certainly encouraging.

Those who want to explain away a 54% deficit by dark hints about postal votes really just embarrass themselves.

tankus said...

Got to wonder what the average IQ is in Glasgow NE.

Is it substantially below the national mean ?


Jim Murphy is a Nu Labour apparatchik who feeds on a diet of soundbite. He has nothing interesting to say or offer. Like many of his woeful Labour chums he'll be toast in a few months. Labour winning in the Socialist Republic of Glasgow is hardly surprising.

Frugal Dougal said...

You're right - as a headline, "Labour wins Glasgow North-East" is on a par with "Pope Catholic". I'm just sad that people I used to live alongside can't get out of the old rut of either voting Labour or not voting.

pete-s said...

Murphy when Europe Minister kept parroting the usual lie, the Treaty is completely different to the constitution. He will just parrot the last ministerial message he is told to squawk.

Batteredstrat said...

It's not that Labour won, I expected that. It's that Brown went there, so Labour 'knew' it would win.

there is no way on earth that Brown would have been allowed to go to campaign in a seat that might be lost.

Then I read that 30%-35% of the votes were postal. I would like to know what percentage of postal votes were cast for Labour. I would also like to know how many votes are actually under investigation by Glasgow CID, (because it is already apparent that the CID are investigating).

These by elections are a dry run for the GE. I believe strongly that Labour intend to rig the vote, and that they have tried it twice and got away with it in Scotland. It may not be widespread, but they will do it places where they think that they can get away with it.

Ben said...

Overall, a very good result for the Conservatives. They were not humiliated, while Labour unsurprisingly held on to one of their safest seats (on a shockingly poor turnout) and the busy beavers around Brown will take false comfort from their victory which helps to shore up the prime minister.

Keeping Brown in place has got to be good for the result in the next election.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I would call this kind of comment "short termism" but for the fact that it makes the attention span of a goldfish look donnish.

This changes nothing, for lots of reasons local to the Glasgow NE result.

Brown will resign on health grounds and not fight the election. He will cite his "worsening" eyesight and everybody will feel sorry for him. Disgruntled Labour voters will give the new broom a "chance" and we shall face the real possibility of a hung parliament, something that is not going to happen with Brown in charge.

Don't forget who is running the country here. It's Mandy, and Mandy can remove the magic whip at will.


Alastair Campbell on This Week last night was caught like a rabbit in the headlights, after acting like butter wouldn't melt. Of all people, Portillo nailed him with damning evidence of how New Labour operated with the media. Nothing we did not already know, but Campbell visibly squirmed.

Pogo said...

@David Boothroyd: "Labour's core voters will turn out to keep their Labour MPs."

I suppose the real core might. It's astounding though that in a true "shaved chimp with a rosette" constituency 80-odd percent of the electorate either voted against, or couldn't be arsed to vote for, the Labour Party.

Old Holborn said...

I've been to Glasgow North East and can confirm that they have got the MP they deserve. Just like the last one in fact

Glyn H said...

Brown suddenly turned out to campaign in this election – after all the guff in the past that sitting PM’s do not do such a thing. With Browns calculating brain he would have only done that if it were known Labour had already won. And how could that have been known to the Labour party? Only because they ‘knew’ the postal result.

His appearance in the constituency is evidence the election was fraudulent. Don’t believe what they say, watch what they do.

It’s not the Glasgow CID who should be investigating but someone a few steps distant. MI5, SFO?

email said...

The Lib Dem vote has imploded...

norman said...

The message I heard even before the candidates were selected here was theat the SNP did not expect it to win, despite their upbeat forcast weeks ago. This constituency has a lot of elderly voters whose family voted Labour for decades. Now, those Labour supporters who sense Brown victory in the next GE are a load of wishful thinkers. This after Brown's pathetic ramble about immigration. But if wishes were horses...

neil craig said...

The BNP vote was 4.9% not 4.2% & 60 odd behind the Conservatives. Obviously they would have much preferred those extra & to pip the Tories & keep their deposit.

Saying the LudDems didn't bother to put up a candidate (just as the Tories didn't) l;ast time is a chaep shot because one is, correctkly, supposed not to against the Speaker.

Labour Andy said...

are you just sweeping away the 18 years of hell you gave the country?

You lot had no policy on the economy, if it was up to you, we would be in a depression.

Labour Andy said...

Also, if you go down to the South East of England, you find most of them Toffs have "Vote Conservative" stamped on their birth certificate, poor sods don't know any better.