26 May 2009

The Boundaries are A-Changin: Lothian

With Linlithgow moving into East Central Scotland and East Lothian coming in from South of Scotland, the region gets shifted eastwards, and the way things play out is guaranteed to cause ructions.

First comes Almond Valley, the successor to Livingston, which initially sounded rather pretty but now I can't shake the feeling that it sounds like it should be the name of a dodgy processed foods company. I just have the image of a recent sufferer of food poisoning taking a box (that once contained some form of chicken balti) into his GP for him to take a look at before he sends it off to Environmental Health, and written in small print on one of the sides are the words "Produced in the EU for Almond Valley Foods (UK) Ltd". Anyway, flight of fancy over, it's still notionally SNP. Just.

The newly relocated East Lothian stays Labour, which is probably a good thing for Iain Gray who would almost certainly have to decamp to safer ports were this in jeopardy.

Edinburgh Central, however, is not: it goes LibDem, but only just. Edinburgh Corstorphine & Forth (because Edinburgh West just didn't sound middle-class enough), meanwhile, is safe LibDem, as you'd expect.

Edinburgh East & South (why couldn't they have just called it Edinburgh South East? I know parts of it aren't South East, but parts of the current Edinburgh South West aren't South West, South or West, and the Edinburgh East Westminster Constituency contains Tollcross, which in no way could be considered even remotely East...) is still SNP, but by a whisker.

Edinburgh Pentlands (the name has been reprieved) stays Tory, while Edinburgh Southside (which is misleading as the bit of the City considered to be the Southside rather than, say, Newington is actually in Central) stays LibDem. Edinburgh Trinity & Leith (which sounds like a fixture in a local football league) stays Labour by my reckoning, as does Midlothian North & Musselburgh.

This is where things get hairy. Under the old Lothian region, the SNP led on the Regional Vote. On the new one, there appears to be a Labour lead of just over 200 votes. This comes into play on account of the LibDems picking up a third constituency (giving them more seats in Lothian than the Tories, who pick up more votes). Now, Labour notionally gain a List seat to compensate for Central changing hands, but as the LibDems don't have a Regional seat to lose, it has to come at someone else's expense. It would come at the expense of the SNP. Accordingly, the only way for both Ian McKee and Shirley-Anne Somerville to have been elected on the List (OK, OK, Ian McKee and Stefan Tymkewycz if we're splitting hairs) would have been for Fiona Hyslop to decamp to East Central with her Linlithgow stomping grounds.


Jeff said...

Will, this is incredible!

Thanks for the hard work in combing through the rammifications of the boundary changes.

PS Definitely agree with Almond Valley, I have chips and beans lodged in my mind right now.

Will said...

Well, one does one's best, Jeff - even if it was probably the primary cause of me bursting into hysterical laughter at work this afternoon and sticking my head in my bin...

The question is, which party will be made to feel ill by the result in Almond Valley?

Stephen Glenn said...

I think you should eat your chips and bean in tha Almond Valley Copuntry Park. Personally I don't know why the drastic name change and why to this.

Will said...

AFAIK, the rationale is to avoid Westmnster and SP constituencies having the same name. They don't quite succeed (Moray keeps its name, and the Western Isles get Gaelicised but obviously the Westminster and Holyrood seats have identical boundaries) but I'm pretty sure that if you take a look at where seats in the two parliaments were called the same, there's been at least some form of adjustment to the Holyrood name.

Of course, this begs the question of why this didn't occur to them when they were finalising the Westminster boundaries, but still...