Tag Archives: General Election 2019

Airdrie and Shotts Result 2019- The Outcome

From Sky NewsThe night of the 12th December into the 13th was a long and eventful one. As I was following the Scottish coverage I missed just how many big names went in our southern neighbours electoral battlefields. It was a night of big surprises, but in other ways delivered just what I expected.

What I expected was a Tory majority and that was exactly what the outcome was. Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit Done” message was simple and repetitive and no attention was paid by many to the devil in the detail.

Corbynism is now dead and gone and we can “look forward” to another two or three Conservative governments before we get any kind of reprieve. Anyone who still believes that another Labour government is just round the corner really does need their head examined.

The SNP did exceptionally well in Scotland, better than I had expected to be honest. I was delighted to see Jo Swinson gone, and it will be interesting to see how much money the Lib-Dems threw at that seat.

Locally the SNP also did better than I expected. In Coatbridge Hugh “Two-Jobs” Gaffney became merely Hugh Gaffney as Stevie Bonnar took the seat back for the SNP, despite the ongoing infighting in the branch. In Airdrie the SNP’s Neil Gray saw off the challenge of Helen McFarlane of the Labour Party, and did so comfortably. Early in the campaign I had stated that the SNP lost around 10,00 votes between 2015-2017 and this was partially due to their failure to motivate those who had previously supported them to get out and vote.  That’s not a mistake that was repeated this time, with Nicola Sturgeon making a number of high profile references to Indyref 2020. This wasn’t really repeated in local leafleting though and I thought this may be a weakness. It wasn’t perceived as such.

There was also much effort on social media at organising and directing tactical voting. Former Labour MP and now Scotland in Union Chief Executive Pamela Nash was the main proponent of this with her Tactical Voting Advisor being used to advise British Nationalists which way to vote. Such was the volume of chatter that I saw it as likely that if the SNP failed to enthuse it’s lapsed support then the Labour Party would be the beneficiary of those who had stated they were going to “hold their nose and vote Labour (in reference to Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged IRA support).  So what happened?

Firstly, let’s look at turnout. In 2017 Airdrie and Shotts had 64,146 registered voters. In 2019 that had DROPPED to 64,008! That’s not much, but you would expect the registered electorate to rise, not fall. In the great scheme of things it’s not much, but then again it’s not far off Neil Gray’s majority in 2017. Of those registered 39,772 voted in 2019, up on 2017’s 38,002. So, with an extra 1770 voters turning out, how were those votes carved up?

The SNP increased their vote by 3,638.

Labour lost 1,368 votes overall.

The Tories lost 1,802 votes.

The Lib-Dems increased their vote by 617.

The Greens took 685 votes (didn’t stand previously).

Given that it’s unlikely that voters would switch from pro-Indy/Anti-Brexit SNP to anti-Indy/anti-Brexit Lib-Dems, we might see much of the Lib-Dem increase coming from Labour/Tory voters who were against Brexit.

We can probably put much of the remaining Tory loss down to tactical voting for Labour, and this could mean around 1,500 votes went to what they viewed rightly as the SNP’s main challenger.

Which begs the question: what happened to the Labour vote? If we assume that around 1,500 votes were lent by the Tories, then Labour retained around 11,200 votes from 2015, dropping almost 2,900 votes somewhere along the way.  Were those voters simply not energised by Jeremy Corbyn this time round? Did they stay at home and not bother voting at all? Or did they switch to the SNP and Greens? Those are questions which Labour will no doubt be asking, but which the SNP must also ask too. Because they need to know whether their rise in this election came from lapsed supporters or people who switched from their constitutional opponents, and if it’s the latter, have they changed their mind on the constitutional question?

As for Labour, they need to ask the same question and decide where their future lies. At the head of the party is a wounded leadership still resolved to backing the union, but how much of the remaining rank and file are now open to independence?

And what of my predictions? I saw the British Nationalist tactical voting coming and had turnout followed similar lines at 2017 Labour would have comfortably taken the seat. What I didn’t see was the total collapse of the Labour vote which rendered the tactical voting null and void. Time will tell whether they rebuild to former levels or not. I wouldn’t put money on it though.

Misleading Scotland – Dodgy Bar Charts and Alternative Facts

The last election leaflet has now been delivered and there have been some whoppers. At this election across the UK it has been reported that there have been some rather dodgy bar graphs used in the electoral material which take the statistics from the previous elections and present them as, well, something else entirely. So how have we fared in Airdrie & Shotts?

Here’s the Airdrie & Shotts result from 2017.

The SNP took 37.6% of the vote, followed closely by Labour on 37.1%. The Tories increased their vote, but still trailed in around 5,000 votes behind on 23.4%, while the Lib-Dems lost their deposit with a mere 2.1% of votes cast. In the 2019 leaflets issued by all parties both the SNP and Labour decided not to use bar charts. From the SNP’s point of view that’s understandable as such a graphic would show how close they were to being unseated, and might encourage tactical voting against them. As challengers it’s therefore strange that Labour failed to do so, as it would have showed them as strongly placed and at the same time revealed the claims made by the Tories and Lib-Dems as misleading. How so? Here’s how…

Lorraine Nolan Leaflet

The Conservative candidate presented a graph showing them romping ahead of Labour and would indicate to the casual reader that they were in pole position to challenge the SNP. One problem: the graph showed the rise in their vote share, not their actual vote share, and would need around a 70% rise to beat the SNP! That’s right. Seventy. Seven Zero. Top marks for audacity, nil points for accuracy.

William “the ghost” Crossman.

Not to be outdone the Lib Dem candidate William Crossman, who appears to have either been photoshopped onto his leaflet or popped off the train at Airdrie for a selfie and then jumped on the first train back out (has anyone ever seen him?) made the claim that the Lib-Dems are “challenging the SNP across much of Scotland”. By much he means some and that certainly isn’t in Airdrie. In his chart he’s decided to use the results of the 2019 European Election to show how the Lib-Dems increased their vote by almost 7%, which if replicated in this election could see the Lib-Dems increase their vote share from 2.1% to 2.2 and a bit %. Haud me back!

In but a few short hours we’ll see who comes out tops, but if there are awards for brass neck and bullshit the Tories and Lib-Dems would be the clear winners. Congratulations!

For comparison I uploaded all the 2019 electoral material I received to the site electionleaflets.org and you can view them all HERE.

Airdrie and Shotts- Labour Gain?

All aboard!

It’s early days yet and perhaps I’m jumping the gun a little, but there is currently no Tory candidate for Airdrie & Shotts. In the 2015 election Neil Gray romped home when the independence vote coalesced around the SNP to kick out Pamela Nash who has since gone one to take over as the Chief Executive of British Nationalist extremist organisation Scotland in Union. Helen McFarlane of Labour almost came close to making Gray a one term wonder reducing his majority from around 10,000 to a mere 196. Or did she?

In the 2017 election the SNP famously campaigned while trying not to say i*******e and shed votes across Scotland. Turnout in Airdrie & Shotts was down by around 7% with many SNP voters simply not turning out. The Labour vote dropped and the Tory vote rose, with many in the area enthused by the Ruth Davidson Party for Ruth Davidson’s North Britain and unwilling to vote for the allegedly “pro-IRA” Jeremy Corbyn.

It would be not only overly simplistic but indeed extremely silly to assume that the voters who failed to turn out for the SNP somehow jumped to the Tories. I think many Scot’s voted for the SNP out of a sense of deep personal shame at their No vote in 2014 and were unlikely to jump ship. The real realignment in the vote was within the British Nationalist bloc. Ruth Davidson at least realised that the Tories, Labour and the Lib-Dems were all fishing in the same pot for a share of the 55% and falling who backed the UK, and this led to many working class people turning a blind eye to their previous behaviour and rallying to the fleg. The Conservatives gain was probably what led to Neil Gray clinging on.

Unionist guide to voting 2019

With the Tories and Labour in a loose coalition in North Lanarkshire could it be that they have realised that they will have to work together again to remove the seat from the SNP? With no  Lib Dem candidate announced and no Tory candidate either, are they giving Labour a clear run at the seat? Between that and the Greens perhaps siphoning off vital votes there’s every possibility that the seat will go from SNP back to Labour, and the SNP have only themselves to blame. Their failure nationally to campaign on independence cost them dearly, and locally the party shed members hand over fist. They made no attempt to enthuse new members, to train them and to turn them from voters and supporters to activists and agitators. Recently attempts have been made in North Lanarkshire to drain the SNP swamp but it may be too little, too late. The lack of activists will tell dearly and Labour will not struggle on that score, with trade union backing courtesy of Leonard and McFarlane, and more reinforcements in the north of England available a short bus ride away. The clock is ticking, and on current form Neil Gray will not see the inside of Westminster again.

Next Time, Take The Lens Cap Off

On Saturday a significant number of independence supporters gathered in Glasgow  for a rally organised by The National newspaper, where a cross party platform reaffirmed their commitment to independence via a referendum in 2020.

The BBC news coverage that evening consisted of a close up shot of Nicola Sturgeon’s speech, and well, that was it. With a reporter speaking against a backdrop of an empty George Square one might be led to believe that the attendance was two men and a wee ginger dug.

It’s not as though the BBC didn’t have any footage. Sarah Smith was there, and the photo above shows Sally McNair doing a piece to camera which clearly shows the huge crowd. One has to wonder whose editorial decision it was not to include any footage. Answers on a postcard to Pacific Quay…