29 November 2006

Is Canavan about to go back to Labour?

According to the Herald, the answer may be yes, despite his promise that he wouldn't re-join the Labour Party while Tony Blair was its Leader (though, in fairness, he won't be the Leader for much longer). Labour's selected candidate, Dennis Goldie, has been pressured into standing aside for the Council elections, and with the Executive supporting Canavan's calls for a St. Andrew's Day holiday, there are signs that the MSP for Falkirk West may return to the fold. However, the paper also reports rumours that Canavan may stand down, and take a leading role in Glasgow's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

This would be the ideal solution for Labour. Canavan's return to the party may not affect Labour's overall total number of seats after the Election, but it may make the difference between in terms of how many seats (if any) Labour pick up on the Central Scotland Regional vote. A Canavan victory in Labour could prevent one of the Party's List candidates of getting a seat, so rather than getting an independent Canavan who is sympathetic to Labour on some issues, plus a (probably) reliable, loyal Labour MSP on the List, you get a nominally Labour MSP for Falkirk West who has what the leadership will view as a dangerous tendency towards independent thought plus an extra Regional MSP from another Party.

However, this is not without risks. Firstly, Labour would have to find a completely new candidate in time for the Election, unless they reverse their decision to ask Dennis Goldie to step aside. Either way, the SNP's candidate is Michael Matheson, who is already a Regional MSP. This could give him a higher profile than any Labour replacement for Canavan. Also, there's no guarantee that those who had switched to Canavan in the first place would vote for a Labour A.N. Other candidate should Canavan's name not be on the ballot paper.

Of course, we've been here before: Canavan was about to re-join the Labour Party years ago before he changed his mind. Labour could find themselves with Canavan still in the race, still as an indpendent and with no candidate to challenge him available unless they parachute someone in quickly. In that case, they'll be lucky to retain the 3rd Place they took in 2003.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's Labour planting a carrot for Canavan in the hope that he bites - the Commonwealth games job

Considering what he's done in the past 7 years there's no way he'll go back to Labour. When he left they were still seen a reforming party. Now they are up to their necks in sales jobs in the legislator and firm allies of the most right wing US government in history.