01 May 2006

From Iain Old

Iain Old of the Scottish Politics website (you'll find the link on the right) - it makes for interesting reading:

A 7 % increase for the Lib Dems may look like a good result for them.

However on the 12 th of April they published the following poll of 600 Moray voters:

SNP 35.3%
Liberal Democrats 32.0%
Conservatives 18.4%
Labour 10.2%
Don't Know 4.1%

The difference between this poll and the actual result was:

SNP + 10.9 %
Liberal Democrats - 12.6 %
Conservatives + 4.5 %
Labour - 0.4 %

So either the Lib Dems blew it by 'using altered, manipulated, and wrongly attributed statements of support in its election literature in an attempt to deceive the electorate.' (a quote from the Northern Scot) or their poll was a rogue.

After Dunfermline the Lib Dems claimed there were no "no go" areas for them in Scotland. Based on their performance there, and the above poll, Moray was winnable for them.

In the event, they not only failed to win by even failed to beat the becalmed and scandal hit Tories into third place.

In 1989, Alex Neil increased the SNP vote by 20.3 % in Glasgow Central. The Scotsman's headline was "Triumph for Labour in Glasgow Poll" and "SNP fails to repeat Govan success." It is interesting that there weren't any similar "Lib Dems fail to repeat Dunfermline success" headlines just two months after their Westminster by-election gain.
The reality is that this was indeed a good result for the Lib Dems, but they will be bitterly disappointed that they did not do much better and have lost a golden opportunity to build on Dunfermline.

One distinct possibility is that disillusioned New Labour voters, who might have been natural Tories in the past, are now moving to Labour's coalition partners the Lib Dems. One reason the Lib Dems did not win Moray may be that the Labour vote there was too small to squeeze.

This is something that the SNP needs to beware of. However a moderate swing from Labour to the Lib Dems might benefit a resurgent SNP and make a large number of Labour seats vulnerable.
It is too early to draw any solid conclusions, but the May 2007 election could turn out to be very interesting indeed, and it may well be the end of Labour's dominance of Scottish politics.

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