Glasgow North East (UK) by-election 200

Labour has won a surprisingly comfortable victory in yesterday’s Glasgow North East by-election, held to replace Speaker Michael Martin (Labour). Despite Labour’s low numbers nationally and regionally in Scotland, Labour fended off a strong SNP challenge in this safe Labour inner-city Glasgow constituency with little trouble.

Willie Bain (Labour) 59.39% (+6.07%)
David Kerr (SNP) 20.00% (+2.34%)
Ruth Davidson (Conservative) 5.22%
Charlie Baillie (BNP) 4.92% (+1.68%)
Tommy Sheridan (Solidarity) 3.86%
Eileen Baxendale (LibDems) 2.30%
David Doherty (Greens) 1.61%
John Smeaton (Jury Team) 1.25%
Kevin McVey (SSP) 0.74% (-4.2%)
Mikey Hughes (Independent) 0.26%
Louise McDaid (Socialist Labour) 0.23%
Mev Brown (Independent) 0.16%
Colin Campbell (TILT) 0.06%

Turnout was 33.2%, down 12.6% on 2005, marking the lowest turnout ever in a Scottish by-election. The previous Scottish record had been set by the Falkirk by-election in 2000, held shortly before Christmas…

The results are a clear victory for Labour, which has done remarkably well, as well as a deception for the SNP, which had hoped for a repeat of the Glasgow East 2008 by-election here. It wasn’t even close. The reasons for Labour’s strong victory vary, a lot saying that Labour was helped by leading a local campaign and campaigning as an opposition party to the SNP, a winning strategy also tried in Glenrothes. Others have suggested that Glasgow East voters had voted SNP in a real hope or aspiration for social change, but that voters in this very poor constituency had little hope that either Labour or the SNP would change anything, and resigned themselves to voting Labour. The SNP was also hurt by it’s candidate selection troubles earlier on in this campaign.

The Conservatives can breathe a sigh of relief as they save their deposits, do slightly better than they did here in the European elections (4.4%) and get a symbolic third ahead of the BNP, which was rumoured to be in third for most of the count. As for the BNP itself, a good result, but below the 5% threshold for deposits and behind the Conservatives, disappointing for them. However, as an observer, I’d just like to make a point of noting the stupidity of the talking heads taking the BNP’s ‘breakthrough’ with 4.9% of the vote in a 35%-turnout by-election as a massive shock and the equivalent of the election of the Nazi Party to power. In most countries with a strong far-right, most can only dream of the day when the far-right polls only 4.9%!

The Trot Tommy Sheridan, despite facing a perjury trial, came in a solid-ish fifth, though somebody on the BBC’s election night special noted that a few years ago, Tommy Sheridan running in a constituency like this would have come close to 20%. Though the man facing a criminal trial did do better than the LibDem candidate, amusingly enough. Little use in commenting further, though I will note the Green result is disappointing given that the Greenies came in third in the Euros, with 6.5% here.

Labour won due to a good local-opposition campaign, but that will be difficult to repeat in England in the 2010 election. This by-election will likely have little effect, especially south of the border in England.

Posted on November 13, 2009, in By-elections, Scotland, United Kingdom. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Labour held the seat, but given that even in his pre-speaker days Michael Martin used to get about 70%, it wasn’t a great achievement. This was an election which told us nothing.

  2. Labour hasn’t held many safe seats lately, I think they will be swept out of office as soon as they have to call a general election. Buh Bye Gordon Brown.

  3. It’s not exactly inner city – more impoverished proletarian suburbs. Area is full of tower blocks.

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