Friday, 25 July 2008

Catastrophe for Labour: Tory vote holds up well

It's official, then. John Mason has won the Glasgow East by-election for the SNP: the only candidate to actually live in the constituency, who seems a thoroughly decent man and will be an excellent MP.

Commiserations to the Lib Dem candidate, Ian Robertson. I know him through my day job and have a huge amount of respect for him. His vote was horrendously squeezed and confirms two things: (1) the Lib Dems are no more than a receptacle for protest votes, and the support they do have is as soft as butter and is liable to switch to a more likely candidate and (2) more fundamentally, the Lib Dems are imploding in Scotland. No longer part of the Scottish Government; leaderless, a national leader who has made zero impact; lingering resentment against the last national leader for the way in which his own predecessor was treated. The SNP are hoovering up all the protest votes which the Lib Dems used to have.

Congratulations to Davena Rankin, the Conservative candidate. From a very low position, the Tory vote held up well, falling by just 0.6%, and moving the party from fourth place to third. Davena Rankin was an excellent candidate, who will make an excellent MP in the future. She is still young, and is highly likely to be selected for a winnable seat in due course. The Conservative vote in Scotland is rising and we can realistically challenge both Labour and the Lib Dems in several constituencies next time.

As for Margaret Curran, the Labour candidate, I lost all sympathy for her when we had the debacle of her 'slip of the tongue' concerning where she lives. Risibly, an unnamed aide was quoted as explaining that Ms Curran was speaking 'without notes': it would seem bizarre that an elected MSP could apparently require a prepared script in order to communicate correctly which constituency she lives in.

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