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.

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