Friday, July 1, 2011

Labour win Inverclyde by-election, majority drastically reduced, Labour MP Iain McKenzie asked to apologise for intemperate speech by Bernard Ponsonby

Dear All

Labour won the Inverclyde by-election.

But the reality is they kept a seat they already held with a much reduced majority over the SNP.

A 14,416 majority was shrunk to 5,838.

However, the reason in my opinion was never really in doubt because you have to understand the mindset of the people who live in areas such as this.

They wanted a local man.

And despite being a poor candidate in my opinion, he did what he says on the tin.

Fit the bill.

Labour MP Iain McKenzie after winning went on to deliver an intemperate victory speech prompting Bernard Ponsonby to ask he if he want to apologise for it.

He didn’t.

For the Labour Party there was relief as party chiefs claimed the Nationalist momentum from May’s Holyrood election had been halted.

That is wishful thinking, they lost 8,578 votes.

For the SNP, they achieved a significant swing of almost 9% with Anne McLaughlin as candidate.

Tory David Wilson was third which was expected in a night of no real surprises.

Trailing into a poor fourth place and oblivion was the Lib Dem candidate Sophie Bridger, she lost her deposit.

And picking over the result, the Lib Dem situation is the story of the by-election.

The Lib Dem vote has totally collapsed in Scotland flooding the voting market with potential converts.

UKIP’s Mitch Sorbie was last, no surprise.

Iain McKenzie, leader of Inverclyde Council, said the result was “tremendously significant” for Labour and had “stopped the SNP bandwagon in its tracks”.

That is not true and shows how poor he really is politically; I think he even believes this nonsense.

He said:

Labour’s fightback has started right here in Inverclyde.”

They only kept a seat they already held and lost nearly 9,000 votes, it is a win but a pyrrhic victory.

And also to opine that this was an “important step in Labour’s mission to win back the trust of the people both here in Scotland and south of the Border” is ludicrous.

McKenzie added:

“The people of Inverclyde have sent a clear message in this election. Not just to the SNP but to the Tory Government in Westminster. Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg, listen to the people. Stop the unfair cuts which are too deep and too fast and for which you have no mandate. You are hurting thousands of hard working people here with the most savage attacks on our communities since Thatcher.”

Scripted and unoriginal platitudes!

He told The Herald:

“To step up there and have the people of Inverclyde again show their confidence in Labour is absolutely tremendous.

“We were always the ones that said we would work for every single vote right to the last minute. We were never complacent. We never will take Inverclyde for granted and that is reflected in the positive campaign we conducted.”

The Labour campaign was not positive.

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ann McKechin added:

“Just 56 days since losing the Holyrood election, Labour has shown we are able to win back the trust of the electorate in Scotland. This is a real setback to the SNP and a personal humiliation for Alex Salmond, who campaigned here no fewer than seven times and told his party members he would win before a single vote had been cast. I think voters were turned off by the SNP’s arrogant and negative campaign and responded to Labour’s positive vision for our future. This is a great night for Labour and a great night for Inverclyde.”

How can you win back the trust of the voters in a seat they already held?

West Dunbartonshire Labour MP Gemma Doyle admitted lessons had been learned from her party’s miserable performance in the Holyrood poll and said the party could “build from this result”.

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said the swing to his party showed the area was “fertile ground” for the SNP and they would build on it for next year’s council elections.

The MSP for Cunninghame North added:

“We have cut Labour’s majority from 14,500 and we have got the best result we have ever had in a Westminster election in this constituency. The Liberals controlled the council until 2007 and yet they have ceased to exist as a major political force in Scotland tonight. Now it is a two horse race between the SNP and Labour. This is a serious blow to Labour. In just three weeks the SNP has slashed Labour’s lead in their heartlands by over half. There will be real questions for Labour’s leadership after letting such a safe seat come so close to defeat. The SNP’s momentum continues as Labour’s woes deepen.”

There is some truth in that, politics in Scotland is in flux, diehard Labour areas do remain such as Inverclyde and Maryhill and Springburn but people are asking questions of what has Labour done for us?

And the truth is taken them for granted.

Anne McLaughlin said:

“More people voted for the SNP in this election than in any previous Westminster election in this seat. That is a step forward for my party. And it is a signal that more and more Scots now know we cannot have business as usual.”

This result although not a win allows the SNP to claim the momentum of May’s Scottish Parliament victory is still behind them.

And they have to fine tune their picking of candidates for the Council elections, people want local people to represent them.

Inverclyde wanted a local man and that’s what they voted for.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Nikostratos said...

The fact is (no matter how you Nats dress it up) the snp have got to win in seats like these to stand any realistic chance in any referendum.

They didn't a win is a win is a win

the snp are not in the ascendent position they would like people to believe.

If Cleggy hadnt joined the torys the electoral landscape would look vastly different and not to the advantage of the snp.

Anonymous said...

What was the numbers in the postal vote?

George Laird said...

Dear Niko

A win is a win.

I had a sense early on whether this was possible as far back as Wednesday 15th June.

At that time I thought no.

I have a perfect 100% record in predicting wins in by-elections.

During the Holyrood campaign I said openly the SNP should target 5 areas in Glasgow.

Pollok, Southside, Carthcart, Kelvin and Shettleston.

In four out of five were wins and in Pollok a 12% swing.

That was an unusual election as it turned out for everyone.

The SNP ran a good campaign operationally as they always do.

They put in a real effort and MSPs were told to attend.

I would have chosen Innes Nelson rather than Anne McLaughlin, I know both.

It was in my opinion important that a local man fronted that campaign.

I believe I blogged my choice was Innes Nelson.

I could have created a better narrative for him.

MSP George Adam's comment about jabs wasn't helpful but it didn't lose the election, it just didn't help matters.

Too big a mountain and not enough time.

There was always going to be a surge in the SNP vote.

What hurt Anne McLaughlin's campaign was that she was totally out of her depth on defence.

I burst out laughing when she said she wasn't an expert on aircraft carriers.

Simple, it is a ship with a runway on top and Scotland won't be having one after independence.

Number of military bases, they will stay the same subject to the first defence review.

Two questions easily dealt with and batted away.

My mate's brother builds aircraft carriers and his family owe me a favour. He is in the New Zealand Army and he owes another favour.

If you are going to fight in a Westminster election then you have to know and have opinions on reserved matters.

Don't know, don't cut it.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Anonymous said...

You do realise that Labour did not lose over 8,000 votes, the majority was cut by that amount.

Even saying that is misleading, as the party's share of the vote barely fluctuated. In truth, the reduced turnout and LibDem collapse boosted the SNP and created the illusion of a major swing away from Labour when the statistics fail to support that assertion.