Friday, 27 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: City of Edinburgh

City of Edinburgh COUNCIL

2007 Results 
17 Lib Dems
15 Labour
12 SNP
11 Conservative
3 Green
(Lib Dem/SNP administration)

26 SNP
23 Labour
20 Conservative
17 Green
17 Lib Dems
8 Independents
6 Liberal
4 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
1 Pirate
1 Socialist Prediction
SNP 17-20
Labour 15-17
Conservative 14-15
Lib Dems 4-7
Green 2-5

Edinburgh is Scotland's capital and second largest city.  Prior to 2007, the council was relatively safely held by Labour but the introduction of STV brought the SNP onto the council for the first time in large numbers, who then went on to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats to form an administration.

Edinburgh is covered by six Holyrood constituencies.  At present five of these are held by the SNP - Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Pentlands, Edinburgh Southern and Edinburgh Western - with the remaining seat of Edinburgh Northern and Leith held by Labour.  All these SNP seats were won for the first time last year - Edinburgh Central, Southern and Western were notional gains from the Liberal Democrats, Edinburgh Pentlands from the Conservatives, and Edinburgh Eastern from Labour.  Edinburgh also makes up the largest part of the Lothians electoral region, which elected three Labour, two Conservative, one Green and one independent additional members.

30 seats are needed for an outright majority on City of Edinburgh Council, so no party is standing enough candidates to achieve this.  The Lib Dems have already abandoned two seats by cutting their number of candidates down to one per ward with the SNP being the only major party to stand more candidates this time.  The Liberal Party and SSP are fielding a number of candidates in Edinburgh again while the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, UKIP and the Pirate Party are standing for the first time in all out elections.

Any new administration will be inheriting the plagued Edinburgh Trams project, which has become one of the largest political issues across the region, whilst there have also been major issues around spending cuts and the privatisation of services.

Almond (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / LibDem / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP / UKIP

Principally covering the towns of South Queensferry and Dalmeny, this outlying ward saw strong results for the Lib Dems and Conservatives in 2007.  The Labour vote was relatively low, and further compromised this time by their 2007 candidate (and former Lib Dem councillor) John Longstaff standing again as an independent.

The Conservative and Lib Dem seats here should be safe holds while the SNP seat is unlikely to face any real competition either.

Pentland Hills (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Covering the largely rural area southwest of the city, the Conservatives polled a considerable lead here in 2007 with the SNP and Labour close for second place.

The Conservative vote would still have to increase somewhat to win a second seat, so while a Conservative gain from (most likely) Labour is an outside possibility, this ward should see three holds.

Drum Brae/Gyle (3 seats)
2007 Result LibDem / LibDem / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

Made up of well-heeled suburbs to the northwest of the city, this ward was the strongest for the Lib Dems last time around, as well as the seat of council leader Jenny Dawe.  However, they are only fielding one candidate this time with Dawe moving to another ward.  The other parties all polled on a similar level last time, although the Conservative vote might be disrupted by their previous candidate returning as an independent.

The Lib Dem vote is high enough to return their one candidate safely.  The SNP, Labour and Conservatives all came close last time, so one SNP hold followed by a Conservative seat (thanks to Lib Dem transfers) seem the likeliest outcome.

Forth (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / Liberal / SNP(x2) / TUSC
(2008 By-election Labour hold)

A mixture of suburbs in the north of the city, Forth was a relatively close four-way marginal with a Labour lead.  The Labour vote held up well in a 2008 by-election, which saw just a slight swing towards the SNP.

The SNP, Conservatives and Labour should all win at least a quota of votes and return one seat.  The Lib Dem seat looks likely lost to Labour, although the SNP could also be in contention with group leader and deputy council leader Steve Cardownie defending a seat here.

Inverleith (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The Conservatives had a decent lead in this ward but nowhere close to two full quotas last time.  The Lib Dems have consolidated down to one candidate after their split nearly cost them a seat last time, although they will still have a hard time holding it, having barely won a quota in total in 2007.

The first Conservative seat is pretty much safe as is a Labour seat.  After that, an SNP hold would be expected, but having stood two candidates they risk splitting what was a pretty low vote share last time and losing out.  The Lib Dems have a decent vote and just one candidate, but expect to fall back.  In this background, the Conservatives will probably gain a second seat, with the final seat being a Lib Dem/SNP tossup.

Corstorphine/Murrayfield (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP / UKIP

This inner suburban ward was strong for the Lib Dems last time with two candidates elected, but again they have chosen to go down to one this time. After the Lib Dems and Conservatives, Labour and the SNP were neck in neck here last time.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems should each hold their seat. The undefended Lib Dem seat will probably go to the SNP based on the recent swings seen across the city.

Sighthill/Gorgie (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

Located to the west of the city, this ward predominantly voted Labour and SNP last time with the Lib Dems largely picking up a seat because of the lack of any more Labour or SNP candidates.

The second SNP candidate should easily gain the Lib Dem seat, the other seats being safe holds for Labour and the SNP.

Colinton/Fairmilehead (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP / UKIP

A very strongly Conservative ward in the outer Pentlands suburbs, Labour polled just ahead of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats to win the third seat last time.

The two Conservative seats should be rock solid holds.  The SNP are fairly likely to pick up the third seat from Labour based on the small swing needed to get it.

Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / Liberal / SNP

On the western edge of the city centre, this ward was closely fought last time with the Conservatives having a slight lead over the similarly polling other parties.  The Lib Dem seat was won on transfers pushing them ahead of the SNP, which mostly came from Green voters who are much less likely to switch to the Lib Dems now.

The Conservative and Labour seats are relatively safe.  The Lib Dem seat is likely to be lost, either to the SNP or the Greens depending on which way their votes flow.

Meadows/Morningside (4 seats)
2007 Result Con / LibDem / Grn / Lab
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / Pirate / SNP / UKIP

Making up the south western part of the inner city, this ward was Lib Dem-leaning last time and now also sees the council leader Jenny Dawe try to hold the Lib Dem seat here.  The strategy behind this move seems somewhat confusing given the Lib Dem vote here is weaker than her old seat, while she also faces stronger competition from all other parties in this relatively close ward.

The Conservative seat should be safe, and the Lib Dem vote should hold up just about enough despite a strong campaign to oust Dawe by all the other parties.  The Greens, SNP and Labour are battling it out for the final two seats with the SNP likely to make a gain and the final seat being a tossup with a slight Green preference on transfers.

City Centre (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / Liberal / SNP
(2011 By-election SNP hold)

The closest five-way marginal ward in all of Scotland, the first placed SNP were only 3.5% ahead of the fifth placed Greens on first preferences in the City Centre last time.  A by-election held in the ward last year showed the Conservatives edging ahead slightly, although the SNP still won on transfers, while the Lib Dem vote had collapsed considerably with the Lib Dems beaten by the other parties plus an anti-tram independent.

With particular focus on the recent by-election result, the SNP and Conservative seats look safe while the LibDem seat is certain to fall, most likely to Labour although the Greens also have a chance at it.

Leith Walk (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / Grn
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / Liberal / SNP(x2) / TUSC

A slightly Labour-leaning ward last time, although again very closely contested.  This northern part of central Edinburgh has been particularly badly affected by the tramworks with one of the independents Alex Wilson standing on a largely anti-tram platform.

Labour and the SNP should both win at least one seat a piece.  The Green should also be fairly secure after the expected Lib Dem fall-back, leaving the final seat as a Labour-SNP-Lib Dem marginal.  In this part of the city, Labour are probably still the favourites to make that gain.

Leith (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Labour
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / Liberal / SNP(x2)

Another closely split ward last time, the SNP and Labour were both a little ahead of the third placed Lib Dems.

The first two seats will go SNP and Labour.  The Lib Dems are likely to see a substantial fall in their vote, but should still be close enough to a Green or second SNP quota to be competitive, most likely favouring the Greens if the Lib Dem is eliminated and their votes transferred.

Craigentinny/Duddingston (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Labour leaning with a strong SNP second, the Lib Dems won a seat here last time through a combination of SNP undernomination and poor Labour vote balancing.

The Labour and SNP seats are relatively safe, with the LibDem seat most likely to go to the Conservatives who narrowly missed out on a seat here last time.

Southside/Newington (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / LibDem / Grn
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / Liberal / SNP / TUSC

The Lib Dems topped this inner city ward comfortably last time, but with the ward home to a largely student population, this could fall further than in other parts of the city.  Labour and the Conservatives were neck in neck for second place while the Greens were a little further back, just ahead of the SNP.

This is one of the most unpredictable wards, depending largely on how the student vote votes (or chooses not to vote as the case may be).  Labour and the Conservatives should each win a seat, and after that the incumbent Green and Lib Dem and the SNP candidates are facing each other off for two seats.  The Lib Dems and the SNP are probably the most likely winners out of those three, but the large student population might now prefer Greens to Lib Dems.

Liberton/Gilmerton (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist
(2010 By-election Labour hold)

A southeastern suburban ward, where Labour comfortably topped the poll last time in total first preferences.  A 2010 by-election showed even further growth for Labour while the Lib Dems and SNP fell back.

The two Labour seats should be easily held along with the existing SNP seat.  The Lib Dem seat is likely to go, with the Conservatives in a stronger position to take it than a second SNP.

Portobello/Craigmillar (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

Closely fought between Labour and the SNP last time, the Lib Dems managed to gain a seat on transfers after winning only a third of a quota on first preferences in a ward.

The SNP and Labour will each hold their current seat and will each be fighting to gain the Lib Dems', though the SNP will be favourites to gain it.

Scottish Local Elections 2012: East Renfrewshire

EAST Renfrewshire COUNCIL

2007 Results 
7 Conservative
7 Labour
2 Independents
1 Lib Dem
(Labour/SNP/Independent/Lib Dem administration)

10 Conservative
8 Labour
7 Independents
5 Lib Dems
1 Green
1 UKIP Prediction
Conservative 7-9
Labour 6-7
SNP 3-4
Independents 2

East Renfrewshire covers the southwestern part of Glasgow's commuter belt including the towns of Barrhead, Newton Mearns and Giffnock, the latter being home to the council's headquarters.

Traditionally a Labour/Conservative battleground, the SNP won their first few seats on the council in 2007 although this still remains one of their weakest areas.  Following the last local elections, a coalition was formed from all parties except the Conservatives.

Most of the council lies within the Holyrood constituency of Eastwood, except Barrhead which is part of Renfrewshire South.  Although Eastwood has always been held by Labour's Ken Mackintosh, boundary changes made it notionally Conservative for the 2011 election.  Mackintosh went on to notionally gain the seat anyway, with a majority of 891 over the Conservatives.  Renfrewshire South was notionally held by Labour's Hugh Henry with a majority of 2,587 over the SNP.

11 seats are needed for a majority on East Renfrewshire Council so no party can win outright, although the Conservatives are standing enough to win exactly half the seats.  The SNP are likely to make some progress, although Labour and the Conservatives remain the dominant parties here and any new administration will likely be led by one or the other.

Neilston, Uplawmoor and Newton Mearns North (4 seats)
2007 Result Con / Lab / SNP / Con
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The Conservatives topped this ward in 2007, closely followed by Labour with the SNP a distant third.  All three parties are standing two candidates this time.

The Conservatives are likely to hold two, and Labour at least one.  The SNP may have overstretched themselves here with two candidates, and risk their split votes handing a seat to Labour, although one SNP hold along with the other seats seems most plausible.

Barrhead (4 seats)
2007 Result Ind / Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP(x2) / UKIP

Labour's combined vote came top last time, although independent Danny Devlin topped the poll and was elected on first preferences alone.  One of the Labour councillors is restanding as an independent after being deselected, whilst an independent candidate from last time is now standing for the SNP.

Devlin should be safely re-elected, along with at least one Labour and one SNP candidates.  The last seat will probably be held by Labour as well, as the ex Labour independent was the last candidate elected last time and doesn't show much evidence of a personal vote.

Giffnock and Thornliebank (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Conservatives and Labour each won just over one quota of votes last time, while the Lib Dems overtook the SNP on transfers to win their seats.  Independent Hugh Moore is a local community councillor and campaigner.

The Labour and Conservative seats should be more or less safe, with the SNP likely to take the third seat from the Lib Dems.

Netherlee, Stamperland and Williamwood (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Ind / Con
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Another ward topped by the Conservatives, although Labour and the independent Ralph Robertson both polled well too.

A weak ward for both the Lib Dems and the SNP, there should be holds for Labour, Conservative and the independent.

Newton Mearns South (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x3) / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The only ward in all of Scotland where any party is standing a candidate for every seat, such is the Conservative strength here that they could even win the three.  Labour came second last time, but still well behind a single quota of votes.

Neither the Lib Dems or SNP are competitive here, and the independent doesn't seem to have garnered any coverage.  Therefore at least two Conservative seats are safe, with the third seat likely to be close between Labour and the Conservatives, maybe favouring Labour just on the fact that no party has yet won a full sweep in any ward under STV.

Busby, Clarkston and Eaglesham (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Another Conservative dominated ward, the SNP managed to overtake the second Conservative on transfers last time to pick up a seat.

One Conservative and one Labour seats are safe, the third seat favours the SNP but could go Conservative, especially after Lib Dem transfers.

Scottish Local Elections 2012: East Lothian


2007 Results 
7 Labour
6 Lib Dems
2 Conservative
1 Independent
(SNP/Lib Dem administration)

12 Labour
12 SNP
7 Conservative
6 Lib Dems
4 Independents
1 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Prediction
SNP 9-10
Labour 8-9
Conservative 3
Independents 1
Lib Dems 0-2

East Lothian Council covers the various towns that lie to the east of Edinburgh including Musselburgh, North Berwick and Haddington, where the council's headquarters are located.

Labour won the greatest share of first preferences across the council in 2007, but tied with the SNP for seats, with the Lib Dems just one seat behind them.  A deal was struck between the SNP and the Lib Dems to take control of the former Labour stronghold.

East Lothian is covered by two Holyrood constitiuencies.  Most of the area is in the East Lothian constituency whilst the area nearest Edinburgh around Musselburgh is part of the Midlothian North and Musselburgh seat.  East Lothian was held by the former Labour leader Iain Gray last May with a bare majority of 151 over the SNP.  Midlothian North and Musselburgh was a new seat but notionally an SNP gain from Labour by Colin Beattie with a majority of 2,996 over Labour.

12 seats are needed for an overall majority on East Lothian Council, so both Labour and the SNP are standing the required number of candidates to win outright.  The Lib Dem vote collapsed massively in the Holyrood seats here last year, so most of their seats are effectively up for grabs even though that may result in difficulties for Labour or the SNP in forming a new coalition if neither win outright.  UKIP are standing here for the first time, as are the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition under the description "Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition".

Musselburgh West (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Labour topped the poll here in 2007, but not by enough to elect both of their candidates.  This time, they're fielding just one candidate while the SNP have gone for two, which is ambitious after they won just over one quota last time.  The 2007 Conservative candidate is now standing as an independent, whilst the previous Solidarity candidate is now standing for the TUSC.

The Labour seat will be very safe as is the first SNP seat.  This was the second strongest Lib Dem seat last time, but the SNP second candidate will be in contention for the third seat as well, the result a tossup between the two.

Musselburgh East and Carberry (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / SNP

Labour topped the poll here again last time, but were beaten to a second seat by the independent John Caldwell who is again defending his seat.  The Conservatives aren't competitive here, and the Lib Dems aren't standing despite being close to winning a seat in 2007.

At least one Labour and one SNP seats are pretty much assured.  Caldwell was closer to a quota than Labour were to a second on first preferences last time, so Caldwell is most likely to win the third seat against his Labour challenger.

Preston/Seton/Gosford (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / UKIP

A strong Labour ward with the SNP in second place well ahead of other parties last time.  The Lib Dems largely owed their seat to one being left over after the Labour and SNP candidates had all been elected.

This ward should split two Labour, two SNP this time.

Fa'side (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The strongest Labour ward on the council last time, they got two of three candidates elected with a Lib Dem managing to beat their final candidate.  The Conservatives can't win here, while the SNP have fielded an additional candidate.

Two Labour and an SNP hold should be expected, with the final seat most likely to go to the SNP with the Lib Dem vote falling back and the Labour vote not being quite sufficient to have a shot to elect three.

North Berwick Coastal (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

A strong Conservative ward, although they've only stood one candidate here this time.  The Lib Dems overtook Labour on transfers in 2007, benefitting from a relatively strong Green vote plus excess Conservative transfers.

A Tory hold and an SNP hold are expected.  The Lib Dem seat is somewhat defensible considering the number of Tory excess transfers that are likely, but it could be a Labour gain, who were next closest to another quota last time.

Haddington and Lammermuir (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP / UKIP

The Tories just topped this ward, where all four main parties plus an independent polled very closely last time.  The independent this time is a different candidate.

The Tory seat is reasonably likely to be held, with the SNP next safest.  The Lib Dems were just 1% ahead of Labour on first preferences last time, and their seat seems almost certain to be lost to Labour now.

Dunbar and East Linton (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

A very close 2007 result with a difference between the combined Labour and SNP votes of just 0.6% and a difference between the Lib Dems and Conservatives of just 0.1%.

Labour and the SNP should each hold a seat.  The last seat is a four-way tossup based upon the closeness of the result last time, though both Labour and the SNP would have to go some way to win a second quota, so a Conservative gain from Lib Dem seems fairly likely.

Scottish Local Elections 2012: East Dunbartonshire

EAST Dunbartonshire COUNCIL

2007 Results 
6 Labour
5 Conservative
3 Lib Dems
2 East Dunbartonshire Independent Alliance
(Labour/Conservative minority administration)

10 Labour
8 Conservative
8 Lib Dems
3 Socialist
2 Christian
2 East Dunbartonshire Independent Alliance
2 Independents
1 Green
1 UKIP Prediction
Labour 6-9
SNP 6-8
Conservative 4-5
Lib Dems 3
East Dunbartonshire Independent Alliance 1-2
Independents 0-1

East Dunbartonshire Council covers the northeastern part of the Greater Glasgow suburbs, from Bearsden and Milngavie in the west to Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch, where the council is headquartered, in the east.  As well as the Glasgow City area to the south, the council is also bordered by West Dunbartonshire, Stirling to the north, and North Lanarkshire to the east.

The council was something of a 'wrong winner' result last time with the SNP winning the most seats with just 18.2% of the first preferences - well behind Labour and the Conservatives and just ahead of the Lib Dems.  This was largely a result of them standing just one candidate per ward, all of whom won, whilst other parties generally failed to elect second candidates in the closely fought, all three-member wards.

The council is covered by two Holyrood constituencies - Strathkelvin and Bearsden, and Clydebank and Milngavie (which also contains part of West Dunbartonshire).  Both seats were gained by the SNP from Labour last year with narrow majorities.  Fiona McLeod gained Strathkelvin and Bearsden on a 7.7% swing with a majority of 1,802, while Gil Paterson gained Clydebank and Milngavie on a 6.5% swing with a majority of just 714.

13 seats are needed to win a majority on East Dunbartonshire Council, so no party is standing enough candidates to even come close to winning outright.  The SNP aren't fielding any additional candidates over the seats they currently hold, which may make sense in terms of their low votes to seats ratio in 2007, but cannot make any gains as a result.  The Conservatives and Lib Dems are also fielding one candidate per ward, and Labour have fielded a second candidate in two wards.  The East Dunbartonshire Independent Alliance are only defending their two held seats while the Christian Party and UKIP are standing candidates here for the first time.

Milngavie (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con / Lab / LibDem / SNP

A strongly Lib Dem ward in 2007, although they only managed to elect one of their two candidates.  The SNP, Conservatives and Labour polled very closely, with just 2.3% difference between them on first preferences.

This time, the Lib Dems are only standing one candidate, who should be very safe.  Of the other three parties who all polled so closely last time, the SNP should be the likeliest to win the second seat, whilst the third is a tossup between Labour and Conservative, with the Conservatives probably most likely to benefit from a transfer of excess Lib Dem votes.

Bearsden North (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Christian / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP / Socialist / UKIP

The Tories polled a third of the third preferences here last time, with the Lib Dems second although just barely getting one of two candidates elected after their split vote let the SNP and Labour candidates come second and third on first preferences.  The sitting Lib Dem councillor quit the party in protest against Coalition policy, and is defending his seat as an independent.

The Conservative seat here is very safe, and the LibDem would also have been quite safe if not for the ex Lib Dem independent making things more uncertain.  The SNP incumbent is defending his seat, which gives him an advantage, but Labour are also relatively competitive here.  Overall though, the most likely winning combination is a hold for each of the Conservatives, SNP and Lib Dems.

Bearsden South (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Christian / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP
(2009 By-election LibDem GAIN from Con)

Another very close ward in 2007, with just 2% of first preferences between the Lib Dems and Conservatives for first, and 0.2% between Labour and the SNP for third (with Labour actually ahead in the first round).  In the 2009 by-election, the Conservatives took the lead on first preferences, but still lost the seat to the Lib Dems after transfers.

The Lib Dem and Conservative seats both look safe, especially looking at the by-election result.  Labour were very narrowly defeated by the SNP last time, and the loss of the SNP incumbent means that the third seat remains a tossup between the two parties.

Campsie and Kirkintilloch North (3 seats)
2007 Result EDIA / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / EDIA / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The leader of the East Dunbartonshire Independent Alliance, Charles Kennedy, has a massive vote share in this ward - just short of two quotas of first preferences in 2007.  In spite of this, his party isn't trying for a second seat here.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems aren't really competitive in this ward, so the EDIA, Labour and the SNP seats should all be safely held.

Bishopbriggs North and Torrance (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Another strongly Tory ward, although with an interesting challenger in terms of the independent Alan Brown who is a former Conservative Councillor who lost out in 2007 after failing to win a seat in the new Bishopbriggs South ward.

The strong Conservative and Labour votes should make their seats straightforward holds.  The SNP seat was won more precariously in 2007 and while the Lib Dems aren't a threat here, the formerly Tory independent will be challenging them for it.

Bishopbriggs South (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP / Socialist
(2009 By-election Labour hold)

As well as being a good ward for Labour, this was the only ward in East Dunbartonshire in 2007 where any party won more than one seat.  Labour also safely held a seat here in a by-election in 2009.

Labour have a big lead over any of the other parties here, whilst the SNP were also well ahead for second place in 2007.  Two Labour holds and one SNP holds should therefore be straightforward.

Lenzie and Kirkintilloch South (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab / LibDem / SNP

This ward was close between Labour and Conservative for most first preferences in 2007, with the SNP and Lib Dems then close for third place.

However, the expected fall back nationwide for the Lib Dems and the lack of other candidates means that this ward again should see three easy holds.

Kirkintilloch East and Twechar (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / EDIA / SNP
Candidates Con / EDIA / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP / Socialist

Another very strong Labour ward, where the Lib Dems and Conservatives aren't in contention at all.  The Independent Alliance had a strong vote here too, though not as overwhelming as the vote of their other councillor.

At least one Labour seat is assured, and a lot of the rest depends on the performance of the EDIA, and the vote balancing between the Labour candidates.  The SNP and EDIA candidates have the benefit of incumbency, but Labour do have a large lead while the SNP have a national swing in their favour.  Overall, a Labour hold and SNP hold seem likely, while the third seat is a Labour/EDIA tossup, probably favouring Labour.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire COUNCIL

2007 Results 
14 Labour
14 SNP
3 Conservative
1 Independent
(SNP minority administration)

17 Labour
17 SNP
9 Conservative
7 Independents
1 Lib Dem Prediction
SNP 14-16
Labour 13-15
Conservative 3

East Ayrshire Council takes in the towns of Kilmarnock and Cumnock and the surrounding areas, sharing borders with five other councils: South and North Ayrshire to the west; East Renfrewshire to the north; South Lanarkshire to the east; and Dumfries and Galloway to the south.  Kilmarnock is the largest town and also home of the council's headquarters.

The area is covered by two Holyrood constituencies - Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, and Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley.  The former seat was gained by the SNP from Labour in 2007 (as Kilmarnock and Loudoun) by Willie Coffey, who then held it in 2012 with a majority just short of 6,000.  The other seat was gained by the SNP from Labour in 2011 by Children and Early Years Minister Adam Ingram with a majority over 2,000.

17 seats are needed for a majority in East Ayrshire, with both Labour and the SNP standing enough candidates to achieve this, and each only requiring three gains to do so.  The council is mostly split between those two parties as the Conservatives only have a small presence and the Lib Dems are only fielding a candidate for the first time.  Any resulting administration is likely to be either a majority or largest party minority due to the lack of other parties to work with.

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

Labour topped the poll here in 2007, but their vote evenly split between two candidates was only enough to get one elected.  This time, they've opted for just one candidate whilst the SNP have opted for two.  The Conservatives also have a decent vote here, though behind the other two parties.  The Lib Dem candidate is notable for being the first to contest a seat in East Ayrshire.

The Labour seat will be safe with only one candidate.  The SNP seat is safe too, whilst the Conservative seat is fairly safe with their vote being substantially closer to a quota in 2007 than a second SNP quota.  A hold for each party is most likely.

Kilmarnock North (3 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab / SNP(x2)

An undernominated ward with the SNP guaranteed at least one seat as a result.  The SNP were well ahead in the vote here in 2007 anyway, with Labour in second place with just over one quota of first preferences.

Easy holds for the two SNP and one Labour seats.

Kilmarnock West and Crosshouse (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / SNP / Lab / Con
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / SNP(x2)

The SNP won nearly half the votes here in 2007, their candidates both being elected on first preferences alone.  Labour were well ahead of the Conservatives, but not by enough to keep out a Conservative candidate who won nearly a full quota themselves.

The two SNP seats should be safe along with one Labour.  There is an outside possibility of a Labour gain from Conservative, but the Conservative vote is still a lot closer to one quota than Labour are to two, so four holds seem likely again.

Kilmarnock East and Hurlford (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / SNP / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / SNP(x2)

A very undercontested ward with Labour and the SNP each assured one seat, although with the Conservatives being far behind quota in 2007 this seat is barely competitive at all.

Two SNP and two Labour holds.

Kilmarnock South (3 seats)
2007 Results Lab / SNP / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / SNP(x2)

A 'wrong winner' result last time with SNP picking up two seats despite Labour having slightly more first preferences, mostly due to poor vote balancing by Labour.  Again, the Conservatives aren't competitive here.

The third seat will be close but on the general trend since 2007 the second SNP seat should be safe, so all three seats should again be held.

Irvine Valley (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / Con / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / SNP(x2)

Another undercontested ward, with one SNP seat guaranteed.    The same independent candidate stood in 2007 and won a small vote, so this is yet another ward that seems very uncompetitive.

Two SNP, one Labour and one Conservative holds.

Ballochmyle (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / SNP / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Lab(x3) / SNP(x2)
(2008 By-election Labour hold)

Although there are six candidates for four seats, this ward is still undercontested as Labour are guaranteed at least one seat.  Labour won around two and a half quotas in first preferences last time while the SNP won one and a half, so the two are relatively close for their third and second seats respectively.  The 2008 by-election saw a small swing towards the SNP.

The Conservatives are out of contention here so with two Labour and one SNP seats likely safe, the real contest is for whether the SNP can gain a seat from Labour.  Based on the by-election result and the national swing since then, the final seat will be very close between the two, though the replacement of two incumbent Labour councillors with new candidates might just swing it for the SNP.

Cumnock and New Cumnock (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / Lab / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab(x3) / SNP(x2)

A very strong Labour ward, with over three quotas of first preferences in 2007.  With their vote split three ways though, it may be easier for the two SNP candidates to squeeze through ahead of one of the Labour candidates on a relatively small swing, although the Labour candidates' votes were well balanced last time.

One SNP gain from Labour is a possibility, but the scale of the Labour vote here makes three holds look relatively likely, while the SNP should hold their current seat.

Doon Valley (3 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Ind / Lab
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP
(2009 By-election Lab GAIN from Ind)

A classic example of the dangers of a party overnominating, Labour won just short of two quotas of first preferences, but only managed to get one candidate elected with their vote split three ways.  The independent councillor passed away in 2009, resulting in a Labour gain in the ensuing by-election despite a reasonable swing to the SNP.  To further complicate this ward, the former SNP councillor Drew Filson is defending his seat as an independent after issues over a personal bankruptcy, with the SNP by-election candidate standing for them again now.

With just two Labour candidates this time, they both seem fairly safe to be returned.  The third seat will be a battle between Filson and the new SNP candidate, though this seems fairly certain to be held by the SNP.

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Dundee City


2007 Results 
13 SNP
10 Labour
3 Conservative
2 Lib Dems
1 Independent
(SNP minority administration)

16 SNP
14 Labour
10 Lib Dems
9 Conservative
7 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
5 Independents
1 Green Prediction
SNP 15-16
Labour 9-10
Conservative 2
Independents 1
Lib Dems 1

Dundee is Scotland's fourth largest city, situated on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, surrounded by Angus Council.

The council area is covered by the Dundee City East and Dundee City West constituencies at Holyrood, both of which are held by the SNP.  Dundee City East is held by Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister Shona Robison, with a majority over 10,000.  Dundee City West is held by Joe Fitzpatrick with a majority over 6,000.

15 seats are needed for a majority in Dundee City, so only the SNP have fielded enough candidates to win outright.  The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition are standing in all but one ward as the "Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition".

They have been governing the city as a minority administration since the last election but only need to gain two seats to form a majority on the council, making it one of the most likely councils to be won outright in May.

Strathmartine (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Ind / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

The SNP came top in this ward last time, but didn't poll quite well enough to get their second candidate elected.  Independent Ian Borthwick has a strong vote as well, enough to get elected on first preferences last time, with Labour polling over a quota between two candidates.  The split SNP and Labour votes allowed the Lib Dems to win the last seat, ahead of each party's second candidates.

This time around the independent councillor is defending his seat, which seems fairly secure.  The SNP and Labour should hold at least one seat each, however the Lib Dem seat is vulnerable to both the SNP and Labour's second candidates, with the SNP probably most likely to gain it.

Lochee (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem(x2) / SNP(x2) / TUSC
(2007 By-election SNP hold)

This seat is a two party battle with only Labour and the SNP polling significantly.  Given that, it is surprising that the Lib Dems have fielded two candidates here, when their lone candidate last time was nowhere close to winning even one quota of votes.  They've done this in another ward too, which seems to suggest a strategy of standing extra candidates in unwinnable seats for some rather odd reason.

There will be two easy SNP and Labour holds here.

West End (4 seats)
2007 Results LibDem / Lab / SNP / Con
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

By far the strongest Lib Dem ward in the city, their candidate topped the poll last time, although the SNP had slightly more first preferences between their two candidates.

The SNP and Labour should hold their current seats.  The Lib Dem vote is likely to remain high enough to return their candidate, although with fewer transfers available afterwards the Conservatives may be the ones worst off.  The Conservatives won a seat despite being well below quota on first preferences last time, and that seat now looks likely to go to the SNP.

Coldside (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Another ward split mostly between Labour and the SNP, Labour polled slightly ahead of the SNP last time.

There should be two SNP and two Labour holds here.

Maryfield (3 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC
(2009 By-election SNP GAIN from Lab)

The SNP topped the poll here in 2007 winning two of the three seats, but went on to gain the third seat from Labour in a by-election giving them a full slate of incumbent councillors.  One of the incumbents is retiring though, so the SNP are fielding a more realistically winnable two candidates in the all-out election.

The result should be the same as 2007 with two SNP and one Labour candidates elected.

North East (3 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem(x2) / SNP(x2) / TUSC

This is the other ward where the Lib Dems are fielding two candidates, despite polling just 3.4% in the first preferences last time.  It's a strongly SNP ward anyway, with Labour in second place and the other parties all very far behind.

Again, this should return the same result as in 2007.

East End (3 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Similar to the last ward, the SNP are strongest here followed by Labour, with the other parties polling little in comparison.

Again, two SNP and one Labour candidates should be returned again.

The Ferry (4 seats)
2007 Results SNP / Lab / Con / Con
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The city's Conservative stronghold, their three candidates last time won just over two quotas of first preferences.  This time, they seem to be aiming to consolidate those seats, standing two instead of going for a gain.  The SNP polled well ahead of Labour last time, but Labour still won nearly a full quota of first preferences.

The two Conservative seats will be safe without a third candidate.  The SNP seat should be safe as well, with the final seat being competitive between Labour and the second SNP candidate.

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway COUNCIL

2007 Results 
18 Conservative
14 Labour
10 SNP
3 Lib Dems
2 Independents
(Conservative/Lib Dem minority administration)

24 Conservative
20 Labour
14 Independents
14 SNP
5 Lib Dems
3 Green
2 UKIP Prediction
Conservative 18-20
Labour 13-15
SNP 9-11
Independents 3
Lib Dems 1

Dumfries and Galloway covers the south western part of Scotland from its borders with Ayrshire and Lanarkshire down to the Scottish border with England.  The major population centre is Dumfries, which is also home to the council headquarters, with other notable towns including Stranraer and Lockerbie.

Dumfries and Galloway has been covered by two Holyrood constituencies since 1999, although the boundaries of these were redrawn in 2011.  The western half of the council is currently covered by the Galloway and West Dumfries seat (previous Galloway and Upper Nithsdale), which is a longtime SNP/Conservative marginal seat with an SNP victory in 1999, being gained by the Tories in 2003 and held since.  It is currently held former Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson.  The eastern half of the council is now the Dumfriesshire constituency (formerly Dumfries), which has been consistently held by Labour's Elaine Murray since 1999.  Part of the council area also makes up the constituency of the sole Scottish Tory MP David Mundell.

24 seats are needed for an outright majority on Dumfries and Galloway Council, so only the Conservatives are fielding sufficient candidates to achieve this.

The Conservatives, unwilling to work with Labour or the SNP, formed a minority coalition with the Lib Dems in 2007.  Whether or not this could form the basis of a new administration after May is first and foremost dependent on whether the Lib Dems will hold any of their seats here.  If not, a Conservative minority may be the most likely outcome.

Stranraer and North Rhins (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / SNP

Labour had a substantial lead here in 2007, but their sitting councillor Willie Scobie is now defending his seat as the independent candidate against a new Labour candidate.  Scobie topped the poll here in 2007, and also stood for Labour as a Holyrood constituency candidate just last year.

The Conservative and SNP votes are each large enough to get their single candidates elected, leaving the third seat to be battled out between Labour and Scobie.  With his personal vote and high profile from last year, Scobie seems the favourite to beat the new Labour candidate.

Wigtown West (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Con
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / SNP

Again, the sitting Labour councillor is standing as an independent against a new Labour candidate.  The SNP actually narrowly topped the poll here in 2007, but have opted to stand just one candidate again.

The Conservative and SNP candidates are pretty secure to be re-elected with another Labour/Independent battle for the third seat.  Although as the ex Labour councillor here has less of a profile than the previous one, he will benefit from a likely large excess of SNP preferences, allowing him to hold his seat as an independent.

Mid Galloway (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind / Lab / SNP(x2)

The SNP and Conservatives polled the largest share of the votes here before, but with each standing only one candidate, the LibDems managed to gain a seat too.  However, the Lib Dem councillor has stood down without a replacement, so the seat has already been abandoned although it would almost certainly have gone to a second SNP or Tory anyway.

The SNP and Conservatives will hold on seat each, with the third seat being very close between the two, but probably slightly leaning towards the SNP on their slight lead last time.

Dee (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Ind / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Conservatives easily topped the poll here before, but have actually cut their number of candidates from two down to one.  The sitting independent is defending her seat whilst the SNP are the only other party who polled above 10% here last time (making the LibDem decision to contest this seat but not the previous one even more confusing).

There should be three easy holds for the Tories, SNP and sitting independent.

Castle Douglas and Glenkens (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / Ind
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Another strong Tory ward, although poor vote balancing last time lead their two candidates to come first and last respectively in first preferences.

The SNP and Conservatives will hold their seats, whilst the Conservatives will be trying to gain a second seat off of the independent.  If they can correct their vote balancing issues, they should gain it easily.

Abbey (4 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP / UKIP
(2008 By-election Con hold)
(2011 By-election Lab GAIN from Con)

This is one of a number of wards across Scotland to have seen, not one, but two by-elections since 2007.  This ward was strongly Tory in 2007 but Labour narrowed the gap on first preferences in each by-election until they won on transfers in the 2011 by-election.  The sitting councillors (now two Labour, one Conservative, one SNP) are all defending their seats, joined by a new Conservative and a UKIP candidate.

One hold for each of the three parties is assured, with Labour defending their by-election gain against the Tories for the final seat.  The by-election results suggest a trend towards Labour over time, so they seem best placed to win the final seat.

North West Dumfries (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab(x3) / SNP

One of the most severely undercontested seats across Scotland, at least two Labour candidates are guaranteed victory here regardless of votes cast.  That being said, Labour dominate this ward and won nearly three quotas of first preferences last time, only failing to get a third candidate elected due to transfer leakage to the SNP.

Two Labour seats are guaranteed, and the Conservatives should be able to hold their own without problems.  The SNP vote is a little precarious, making the last seat fairly competitive between them and Labour, especially with fewer candidates to move transfers around this time.

Mid and Upper Nithsdale (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP / UKIP

Labour narrowly topped the first preferences ahead of the Conservatives, and the SNP were again quite fortunate to win a seat here last time, polling under half the first preferences of both Labour and the Conservatives.

Labour should hold their two seats and the Conservatives their one.  The SNP seat looks vulnerable to a Conservative gain given the limited transfers to be gained, with the absence of a Lib Dem candidate this time making it something of a tossup between the two.

Lochar (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / Con / SNP / Con
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP

Another very undercontested ward, with the Conservatives and Labour each assured of at least one seat due to a lack of competition.  The SNP won the third seat here rather than the fourth as in the previous two wards, but the party vote was still well behind that of Labour and the Conservatives.  On top of that, the SNP incumbent is standing down.

The Conservatives and Labour are guaranteed one each.  The Conservatives are likely to hold their other seat, and the last seat is going to be competitive between the new Labour candidate and the SNP candidate, although the SNP are more likely to reach a quota with their one candidate.

Nith (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / SNP / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind(x3) / Lab(x2) / SNP

A strong Labour ward, with both the Conservatives and SNP being fairly competitive.  The three independents are all new candidates.

All four current seats here should be easily held.

Annandale South (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / LibDem / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP

The strongest Lib Dem ward in the council area, this will be their best hope for a defence.  Labour topped the poll last time with the Conservatives second, whilst this is the weakest ward in the council for the SNP.

Labour will hold their two seats and the Conservatives their seat.  The Lib Dems polled close to a quota of first preferences last time, but are likely to slip back on the general national swing.  However, they are still considerably closer to a quota of preferences than the Conservatives were to two, however, so a Lib Dem hold seems fairly likely.

Annandale North (4 seats)
2007 Results Con / Lab / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con(x3) / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Conservatives topped the poll here by a long way, with the other parties languishing close together far behind.  The Lib Dem seat is being defended by a new candidate, whilst the other three incumbents are defending theirs.

The Conservatives' two seats should be safe, although being short of two quotas in 2007 does make a third seat seem unlikely.  Labour should hold their seat fine, therefore the Lib Dems are defending their seat against the SNP who were only very marginally behind them in 2007 and seem likely to gain it.

Annandale East and Eskdale (4 seats)
2007 Results Con / Con / Lab / Con
Candidates Con(x3) / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The strongest Conservative ward in all of Scotland, they won well over half of the first preferences here in 2007.  However, one of their incumbents is standing down, whilst another is defending his seat as an independent.

Graham's personal vote is questionable, especially considering he polled third of the three Conservative candidates last time despite having the advantage of being first alphabetically.  Neither the SNP nor the Lib Dems are really in contention here either, so three Conservative holds and a Labour hold seem the most likely outcome.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Clackmannanshire

Clackmannanshire COUNCIL

2007 Results 
8 Labour
1 Conservative
1 Independent
1 Lib Dem
(Labour minority administration)
Full Results

12 SNP
9 Labour
5 Conservative
3 Independents
1 Lib Dem Prediction
SNP 8-10
Labour 7-9
Conservative 1
Independents 0-1

Clackmannanshire is the smallest council on the Scottish mainland by population, with the town of Alloa making up around half of its population alone.  Its small size appears odd, especially when the area is surrounded by the much larger councils of Fife, Perth and Kinross and Stirling, but is a nod to Clackmannanshire's historic position as a separate county.

Clackmannanshire made up part of the Ochil constituency in Holyrood from 1999 to 2007, which saw an SNP/Labour marginal result in every election, initially Labour held but won by the SNP in 2003 and 2007.  The 2011 boundary changes created a new seat of Clackmannanshire and Dunblane which was won by SNP Housing and Transport Minister Keith Brown with a still relatively narrow majority of over 3,000.

10 seats are needed for a majority on Clackmannanshire Council, so only the SNP are standing enough candidates to win outright, although Labour could win up to half of the seats.  The relatively small number of councillors can make forming working administrations a complex affair though, as evidenced by the collapse of the Labour minority administration at the start of 2012 after a no confidence vote, which led to the installation of an SNP minority administration instead.

It's quite possible but not certain that the SNP will win a majority here.  While they only need three seats, those three obviously represent quite a large proportion within the very small council.  They do seem certain to at least become the largest party this time though, which would consolidate their new administration.

Clackmannanshire West (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / SNP(x3)

Evenly split between Labour and the SNP in 2007, this ward is complicated this time by one of the previous Labour councillors re-standing as an independent after he wasn't reselected to contest the ward.

The SNP will probably nudge ahead of Labour here in first preferences, making at least two seats safe.  Labour will pick up at least one seat, with the last seat most likely to go to Labour but with the SNP and the independent also in contention.

Clackmannanshire North (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x3)

The strongest ward for the SNP in 2007, their excess first preferences helped the Lib Dems to gain a surprise first seat on the council from sixth place in the first round.

The SNP are standing three candidates this time, so the Lib Dems have little hope of holding their seat.  At least two SNP seats and one Labour seat are assured, the last seat will be close between the two parties with the SNP probably the most likely to take it.

Clackmannanshire Central (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / SNP(x2)

Labour's strongest ward last time, winning well over two quotas between their candidates.

The ward should return the same share of seats again.

Clackmannanshire South (4 seats)
2007 Result Ind / Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / SNP(x2)

A very undercontested ward with one Labour and one SNP seat guaranteed no matter what, and when you consider that the Conservatives polled nowhere last time, this has to be one of the most predictable seats in the country.  The independent who topped the poll last time is defending his seat as one of the SNP candidates this time.

Two Labour and two SNP seats guaranteed.

Clackmannanshire East (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab / SNP(x2)

Again undercontested, with one SNP candidate definitely winning.  The three parties polled very closely in 2007.

The Conservatives and Labour both have strong votes here, so the SNP are unlikely to pull off a gain from either for a second seat.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Argyll and Bute

Argyll and bute COUNCIL

2007 Results 
16 Independents
10 SNP
7 Lib Dems
3 Conservative
(Independent/Lib Dem administration)
Full Results

33 Independents
18 SNP
11 Conservative
9 Lib Dems
5 Labour
1 Christian
1 Green Prediction
Independents 14-17
SNP 13-15
Lib Dems 4-5
Conservative 3-5

Argyll and Bute covers much of the west coast of Scotland, from the Mull of Kintyre to Oban, the areas inland north of the Clyde, and the islands of the Inner Hebrides as well as the Isle of Bute.  The Council headquarters are located in the small but roughly central town of Lochgilphead, with the major population centres of Helensburgh, Rothesay, Oban and Campbeltown being located in opposite corners of the council area.  Argyll and Bute resembles other northern rural councils, being a stronghold of independents and Liberal Democrats, although the SNP won a significant presence in the 2007 elections.

The SNP had gained the Argyll and Bute constituency at Holyrood from the Lib Dems in 2007 with a small majority, which was substantially increased by Education Secretary Mike Russell to over 8,000 in 2011.  The area around Helensburgh, which while geographically small accounts for a large part of the council's population, is included in the Dumbarton constituency, which has been held by Labour's Jackie Baillie in every election since 1999.

19 seats are needed to win an outright majority on Argyll and Bute Council, so only the independents are capable of doing so; although if every SNP candidate were elected then they would hold exactly half of the seats.  The Conservatives are fielding one candidate per ward, while the Lib Dems are notably not contesting every ward as they did in 2007.  The Christians and Greens are contesting seats here for the first time.

Independents will continue to perform well here as they have done historically, and the Lib Dems may hold up here relatively well compared to other areas.  The new administration is likely to involve the independents forming an administration with whichever party is able to make up the numbers for a majority.

South Kintyre (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The only seat not to be contested by any independents last time now has three of them, although one of these is former Solidarity candidate Deirdre Henderson.  The Conservatives won nearly half of the first preferences here last time, but failed to get a second candidate elected when they failed to vote-balance their candidates with the winning Conservative winning eight times the first preferences of his running mate.  Strangely, rather than try to address their balancing issue, they have opted to only stand the one candidate here this time.  Also strangely, Labour are not contesting this seat after winning their best 2007 result for Argyll and Bute here, actually ahead of the winning Lib Dem on first preferences.

The defending Conservative candidate seems assured of re-election whilst one SNP seat seems a safe bet too.  For the final seat, a lot will depend on where the Labour vote goes to.  This could be to one of the independent candidates, but without being able to find out much more about them, I have to say that an SNP gain from the Lib Dems seems likely.

Kintyre and the Islands (3 seats)
2007 Result LibDem / Ind / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

A strong Lib Dem seat last time, the independent John McAlpine also polled well while the SNP came a distant third to win the remaining seat.

With the three 2007 winners defending their seats and no additional Lib Dem or SNP candidates, three holds seem most likely.

Mid Argyll (3 seats)
2007 Result LibDem / Ind / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The two independent councillors from 2007 are both defending their seats with no new independent challengers.  The Lib Dems narrowly topped the poll last time while the SNP narrowly missed out on a seat, making this ward pretty marginal.

The two independents are probably safe due to the large block of voters in rural councils like these that won't opt for party candidates, with more of these votes available from the reduction in independent candidates.  The final seat will be fought between the Lib Dems and the SNP, with the SNP probably favourites to pick it up on the trend seen here in 2011.

Oban South and the Isles (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / SNP / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x4) / LibDem / SNP(x3)

A relatively strong SNP ward in 2007, they may still have overstretched themselves going to three candidates this time when they won less than two quotas of first preferences before.  The Lib Dems on the other hand have consolidated their vote into one candidate, whilst the defending independent councillor is joined by two unsuccessful independents from 2007 and one new independent.

The Lib Dem vote should be secure enough to return their one candidate.  The incumbent independent polled only slightly ahead of some of the other independents previously, but his incumbency should give him some extra advantage now.  The SNP would probably have easily held two seats with two candidates, but the chase for the last seat here last time was relatively close, and they may end up losing one seat to the Conservatives or an independent from transfer leakage.

Oban North and Lorn (4 seats)
2007 Result Ind / Ind / LibDem / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind(x6) / LibDem / SNP(x2)
(2011 By-election SNP hold)

This ward has seen a plethora of independent candidates - six in both 2007 and 2012 - but swung strongly to the SNP in a by-election in 2011.  The two incumbent independents are both re-standing, along with one other from 2007 (and 2011, polling poorly both times) and three new independents.  The by-election was also notable for a substantial increase in the Conservative vote whilst the Lib Dems declined modestly.

The two independents here both polled strongly in 2007 and again benefit from an independent-voting tendency amongst voters, so should hold their seats.  The SNP performed well enough in the by-election to win two seats, although this was held in the absence of the sitting independent councillors, and the strong Conservative performance in the by-election suggests they could challenge the SNP's second candidate for the final seat.

Cowal (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Ind / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x6) / SNP(x2)

The SNP topped the poll here, but nearly half the first preferences were shared out amongst independents.  The two independent winners in 2007 are re-standing, but with four new independent candidates joining them, their vote could be diluted to the benefit of the party candidates.  The Lib Dems are also not standing here this time, which could prove a boost to the remaining party candidates.

Due to the size of the independent vote in 2007 and the number of independent candidates, this ward is very hard to call.  A relatively safe bet is for the SNP and one independent incumbent to hold their seats, with the final seat being a tossup between the Conservatives, SNP and independents.

Dunoon (3 seats)
Note The election in this ward has been postponed to 10 May after the death of SNP candidate Alister MacAlister.
2007 Result Ind / SNP / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The incumbent SNP candidate here, Alister MacAlister, sadly passed away just after the close of nominations.  Under Scottish electoral law, this led to the postponement of the election to allow the council to publish a new Notice of Election and call for nominations, although only the SNP are allowed to nominate a new candidate with the other candidates remaining in-situ.  The election for this ward will now be held a week later on 10 May.

The two independent candidates are both defending their seats here, which were won with substantial shares of the vote in 2007.  Because this election has been delayed, voters will be able to see the makeup of the rest of the council before voting, and if the SNP manage to get all their other candidates elected, there may be more momentum for their vote to improve here in order to take half of the seats on the council for likely minority control on a casting vote.  On the other hand, if the independents remain likeliest to form the administration, then the two independents should be returned quite safely with just one SNP.

Isle of Bute (3 seats)
2007 Result Ind / SNP / SNP
Candidates Christian / Con / Ind / Lab / SNP(x2)

The strongest SNP ward in 2007, only the independent Len Scoullar picked up a significant vote share amongst the other candidates.

With Scoullar defending his seat and the SNP standing two candidates again, all the seats seem likely to be held.

Lomond North (3 seats)
2007 Result Ind / Ind / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x4) / Lab / SNP

All three seats here were won by independents in 2007, although the candidate who topped the first preference vote last time is standing down leaving the other two defend their seats, joined by two new independents.  The Lib Dem candidate last time went on to be elected in Helensburgh and Lomond South in a 2007 by-election, and the Lib Dems aren't fielding a new candidate here this time.

The two incumbent independents will probably be re-elected, with the SNP favourites to take the third seat unless one of the new independents performs particularly well.

Helensburgh Central (4 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / LibDem / SNP

The only fully urban ward within the council, the independent vote is relatively poor here, although neither the Conservatives or Lib Dems have gone for additional candidates despite strong votes last time.

With one candidate each, the three party seats should be straightforward holds, as should be the seat of the incumbent independent against either of the others.

Helensburgh and Lomond South (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Ind / LibDem
Candidates Con / LibDem(x2) / SNP
(2007 By-election LibDem GAIN from Ind)

The independent elected in 2007 sadly died just shortly after taking his seat, with his seat being gained by the Lib Dems in the resulting by-election.  This ward is undercontested this time, with the Lib Dems guaranteed at least one seat as a result.

The Lib Dems as noted are guaranteed one seat, whilst the Conservative defence should be easy.  The Lib Dems polled well ahead in the by-election, but a lot has changed over five years, and the SNP should probably gain the third seat quite easily.