07 November 2008

Not to be this time

It seems that Labour have held on in Glenrothes. Further, it would appear that Labour have retained Baillieston and Forth on Glasgow and Edinburgh Council respectively.

It seems that the majority in Fife is to be reduced, but the talking heads are correct, it's placings that count and we're not in the gold medal position. Sadly, I do suspect that it's going to be harder to be an SNP blogger as of now. But we press on.

It's easy at this time to point to the likely swing in favour of the SNP, and argue that the Party is still on track. Tomorrow I'll crunch the numbers and do a more detailed analysis. I'm still posting ahead of the result.

But we have to bear in mind that momentum is a fickle mistress, as I mentioned after Glasgow East: I recall the LibDems' cry of momentum in 2006, and it's worth bearing in mind what happened to them in 2008. Momentum alone isn't enough. We have to realise that.

The state of the Council, and Council policy, has counted against the SNP.

The quasi-incumbency factor hit the SNP.

Labour are in a stronger position now than they were in advance of Glasgow East. If a chunk of the SNP vote was based on not being Labour, then that is no longer enough.

The LibDems believe that they have lost their deposit. Where did their vote go?

What of the Euro Elections? The SNP were clearly favourite a few hours ago. Are there any snap judgments available now, or will it all come down to the relative popularity of Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond?


Anonymous said...

After a good night's sleep, we rely on you for analysis: simply a vote against council incumbents? I'd like to think that, but worry that other factors are in play. The spin re 'arc of insolvency' may, I fear, have traction. Jim Murphy et al seem to be relentless with that 'talking point'.
But did Alex's 'hubris' also contribute? And, if so, who will tell him to 'calm down' and adapt his undoubted presentational skills to the reality of government.......i.e, oppositional rhetoric works in the first year but, after that, you are perceived as 'in charge'. So, sort it and change the narrative without recourse to Scotland as victim. Time for the higher ground.......

Fifi la Bonbon off the Scotsman comments said...

Jim Murphy put it very well in a remark to Nicola Sturgeon on the BBC - there's nothing wrong with being confident, but Scots can tell the difference between confidence and arrogance, and the SNP campaign was full of arrogance.

Fifi la Bonbon off the Scotsman comments said...

And do you not think that Labour winning the Baillieston by-election is quite significant? John Mason better not sign a long lease on his London flat!

stuart w said...

Can't say I'm disapointed with the result (despite Labour being far from deserving winners), but I do feel sorry for people like Will - after the euphoria of Glasgow East and the hubr...er...confidence evident in Glenrothes, the result must be pretty gut-wrenching.

At least the result underlines what's been learnt and forgotten from past lessons - much of the forecasting is mere hunch/wishful thinking rather than something to be taken seriously.

Anyway, presumably many Lib Dems and Tories (to a lesser extent) must have voted Labour to keep the SNP candidate out?

Maybe someone should start a new blog - Lib Dem Tactical Voting!

Anonymous said...

A good analysis Will (and like you I'll hopefully do a longer one later).

Ultimately this is a sign of the diofficulty of being in government and thus being judged. It also reflects the fact that some (not all) of the SNP's strength was anti-Labour, which may be turning a bit.

Interesting times and all that.

Will said...

Anon 1, all good points. I think the 'arc of insolvency' line has an impact, not for the content but for the impact it's had on the debate: for a long time, Nationalism has been the source of pro-active arguments and it's now having to find reactive counter-arguments. Nationalism needs to find its front foot again and should, of course, stop comparing itself with other countries. The point of independence is that Scotland would be able to go its own way. That doesn't mean imitating other states. And there's an aspect of Alex Salmond's approach that I'll be looking at in my full post later on.

Fifi, I will touch on the 'arrogance' point - I think the issues raised on the campaign were the right ones but there is a point worth analysing and again, that's for the full thing. Re: Baillieston, that's been overshadowed and it's important, but not unexpected as the result was close in September, and Andy Muir benefits from, in effect, being able to continue his campaign from September while the SNP obviously had to introduce a new face. That counts, believe me.

Stuart, there's an element of crowing in your post which I wouldn't expect from a party htat just fell to fourth, lost a massive chunk of its vote, fell into three figures and lost its deposit. And indeed, it serves only to prove a point I made before, that the LibDems are on the side of the Labour status quo - a very illiberal place to be. That said, there is an interesting polarisation going on in perceived two-horse races, especially as only two parties could retain a deposit (even the Haltemprice & Howden By-Election saw three parties manage that!) and those two parties notched up 91.6% of the vote between them.

IoC, an interesting point which I'm planning to touch on.

stuart w said...

Will, I'm sorry that you considered my earlier post to be 'crowing' about the result; I went out of my way to express my preference (as in the Whiskas cats!) while at the same time trying not to rub your nose in it - what form of words would you prefer, and I promise to use them next time..err..I mean in the unlikely event that a similar result happens again ;-)

I also apologise to you for seemingly conveying the impression that I'm in some way a Lib Dem supporter, although I'd be interested to know how you concluded that!