27 May 2009

The Boundaries are A-Changin: Highlands & Islands

The most significant change in the Highlands is that the region acquires Dumbarton, which I never really thought of as particularly Highland in character and I suspect that the locals will be just as surprised as I am. If the revised Regional proposals are going to depart in any major form from the initial ones, this will probably be one of the changes. But we're into the realms of speculation now.

Anyway. With the exception of Dumbarton, the best way to sum up the region is 'as you were'. While there's a great deal of chopping and changing in the three Highland seats, and some fraying at the edges of Moray, neither doesn't affects the arithmetic.

Consequently, Jim Mather retains a majority of 800 over the LibDems. The enlarged Caithness, Sutherland & Ross yields a notional 3,000 majority for Jamie Stone - that's a larger figure than at present, but vote share figures barely change.

Dumbarton may go Highland, but it retains its Labour status on the notional figures, though a 3% swing to the SNP would change that.

Inverness & Nairn sees Fergus Ewing's majority goes down to 4,000 (and a lot of MSPs would love it if 4,000 was what their majority fell to) but again, vote share doesn't change much.

Moray's small adjustments project an SNP majority for Richard Lochhead of 7,000.

Na h-Eileanan Iar has been Gaelicised but that's the only change: the possibility of it being connected with the mainland was ruled out very early on in the process and so I can comfortably state that Alasdair Allan is defending a majority of 687.

Similarly, changes to Orkney and Shetland are precluded by law, though the two seats will be officially known as 'Orkney Islands' and 'Shetland Islands', with LibDem majorities of 2,476 and 4,909 respectively.

Meanwhile, Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch (the successor to Ross, Skye & Inverness West) remains notionally LibDem, but with a majority slashed to 1,200. This will be a keenly fought contest.

The List is, like the outcome of the constituencies, a model of the status quo. The addition of Dumbarton does not affect Labour's three seats, the SNP retain two and so do the Tories, with the LibDems not needing any.

No comments: