Friday, 30 March 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Aberdeen City

Aberdeen City Council

2007 Results 
15 Lib Dems
12 SNP
10 Labour
5 Conservative
1 Independent
(Lib Dem/SNP administration)
Full Results

25 SNP
24 Independents
21 Labour
14 Lib Dems
13 Conservative
9 Green
6 National Front
Full Details Prediction
SNP 18-21
Labour 9-11
Lib Dems 5-7
Conservative 3-5
Independents 2-4
Green 0-1

Aberdeen is Scotland's third largest city and base of the North Sea oil industry.  The council has been controlled by a Lib Dem and SNP administration since 2007, originally under a Lib Dem council leader until two by-elections in 2011 led to the SNP becoming the largest party and subsequently taking over the council leader role.

There have been a number of key events in Aberdeen since 2007, notably heavy spending cuts implemented by the administration in 2010 and 2011 seeking to balance the budget, a split in the Conservative group that eventually resulted in the exclusion of three of its members from the party, and most recently a referendum on the Union Terrace Gardens project in the city centre that resulted in a slim majority in favour of development.

The SNP notionally held the new Holyrood seats of Aberdeen Central and Aberdeen Donside last May, whilst gaining Aberdeen South and North Kincardine from the Liberal Democrats.  The SNP also saw a 12% increase in their list vote in those elections, resulting in them holding one list seat despite winning every constituency within the region.  Of the other list seats for the region, three are held by Labour, two by the Conservatives, and one by the Liberal Democrats.

22 seats are required to win a majority on Aberdeen City Council, meaning that only the SNP or Independents can win outright.  The Lib Dems have already surrendered one seat, fielding one less candidate than they won in 2007, while the National Front and UKIP are contesting seats for the first time.

The SNP are almost certain to emerge as the largest group, and they will be hoping to win an outright majority although they may need help from another group to form an administration, possibly the Liberal Democrats in a continuation of the current arrangement.

Dyce / Bucksburn / Danestone (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP (x3)
(2011 By-election SNP GAIN from LibDem)

The SNP won nearly two quotas of first preferences here in 2007, though as they fielded only one candidate the Lib Dems benefitted to gain a second seat.  Lib Dem Cllr Ron Clark passed away in 2011, resulting in a by-election that was won by the SNP after a significant drop in the Lib Dem vote.

The SNP are likely to win at least two seats and Labour at least one.  The fourth seat will be a contest between the SNP, Labour and the Lib Dems.

Bridge of Don (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP (x3)

The SNP again undernominated in this ward in 2007, with one candidate winning nearly two quotas of first preferences.  Both of the Lib Dems elected in 2007 are re-contesting their seats this time as Independents.  Cllr John Reynolds left the Lib Dems on a point of principle, while the other Cllr Gordon Leslie was suspended by the party after being fined for loitering in a red light district.

The SNP and Labour are likely to win at least one seat each.  It is difficult to determine how well the ex-Lib Dem Independents will fare although Reynolds seems far more likely to win re-election than Leslie, but they could each potentially hold their seats or lose them to the SNP candidates or the new Lib Dem candidate.

Kingswells / Sheddocksley (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / NF / SNP(x2) / UKIP

This is a highly marginal seat where the SNP and Labour were roughly equal on first preferences here in 2007 with the Lib Dems not far behind.

The SNP and Labour seats should be relatively safe, while the Lib Dems will be defending against the challenge from a second SNP candidate.

Northfield (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab (x2) / LibDem / NF / SNP(x2)

The SNP and Labour both pollled very strongly here in 2007, winning over 90% of the vote between them.  SNP Cllr Kevin Stewart was elected as MSP for Aberdeen Central in 2011, and has been replaced by a new candidate.

The distribution of seats here is likely to remain the same.

Hilton / Stockethill (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x3) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / NF / SNP(x2)

Labour polled significantly ahead in this ward in 2007, but poor vote balancing between their candidates resulted in the Lib Dems picking up a seat they could have won.

Either the SNP or Labour are likely to gain the Lib Dem seat here.

Tillydrone / Seaton / Old Aberdeen (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / NF / SNP(x2)

Again, Labour polled ahead here but transfers from other parties benefitted the Lib Dems, pushing them ahead of the second Labour candidate.

Either the SNP or Labour are likely to gain the Lib Dem seat here.

Midstocket / Rosemount (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)
(2007 By-election SNP GAIN from Con)

The Lib Dems came close to winning a seat here, but their vote was split between two candidates and vote leakage on transfer kept Labour ahead of the leading Lib Dem candidate.  Conservative Cllr John Porter passed away in 2007, and the SNP very narrowly gained his seat in the resulting by-election.

The result is likely to be the same as in 2007, with the Conservatives recovering their by-election loss.

George Street / Harbour (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x3) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / NF / SNP(x2)

Labour and the SNP were roughly equal here in 2007, with the Lib Dems performing well and the Greens getting their best result in the city in this ward.  The Labour councillor is re-contesting the ward as an Independent.

The SNP and Labour are each likely to win one seat, while the third seat is a toss-up between the two, the ex-Labour independent, the Lib Dems, and possibly even the Greens.

Lower Deeside (3 seats)
2007 Result LibDem / Con / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Lib Dems and Conservatives were strongest in this ward last time, with one seat also going to the Independent Marie Boulton just ahead of the SNP.

The SNP could gain one seat, potentially from any of the previous winners.

Hazlehead / Ashley / Queens Cross (4 seats)
2007 Result LibDem / Con / LibDem / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem(x2) / SNP(x2)

A strong ward for the Conservatives and Lib Dems, with the SNP picking up a seat last time due to poor vote balancing by the Conservatives.  The Conservative Cllr is re-contesting the seat as an Independent.

The other Independent candidate Helena Torry, rather bizarrely, appears to be a shop dummy registered and nominated as a candidate by its owner Renée Slater.

The SNP, Conservatives and Lib Dems will probably win one seat each, with the fourth seat being a contest primarily between the Lib Dems and the ex-Conservative independent.

Airyhall / Broomhill / Garthdee (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP
(2011 By-election SNP GAIN from LibDem)

Again a Conservative/Lib Dem marginal, although the SNP were close in 2007 and in 2011 were able to gain a seat in a by-election caused by the disqualification of Lib Dem Cllr Scott Cassie.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems should each hold a seat.  With the Lib Dems only trying to defend one of their seats here, the third seat should be an easy SNP gain on 2007.

Torry / Ferryhill (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / Con
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x4) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / NF / SNP(x2)

The only four-way split ward in Aberdeen last time, this is a very marginal seat where the SNP and Labour have a slight advantage over the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

The likeliest result here seems an SNP gain from Lib Dem, although Labour could also gain a seat too to the expense of the Conservatives.

Kincorth / Loirston (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP

A marginal ward in 2007 with the SNP and Labour polling similarly and the Lib Dems close behind.

The SNP are only fielding one candidate again here, so only Labour challenge the Lib Dems for their seat.