Friday, 27 April 2012

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.


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  2. Good analysis and I look forward to reading your update.

    In Bearsden North, the loss of Conservative incumbant Amanda Stewart, who did appear safe, was a shock. She may have been squeezed out by the fight between Lib-Dem group leader Ashay Ghai, who moved over from Bearsden South after his 2009 by-election win, and former Lib-Dem and now Independent incumbant Duncan Cumming.

    Ashay Ghai's seat vacated in Bearsden South has been filled by Labour's Manjinder Shergill, the first time a Labour Councillor has represented this area on East Dunbartonshire Council.

  3. In 2007 , what was called the 'Unholy Alliance' between Labour and the Tories made a deal and came together to keep out the Nationalists and this alliance has run the council for the past five years. Labour is now in a stronger position gaining another two seats in the chamber , very interesting times ahead of this NOC council.

  4. The detailed voting figures showing first, second, third, etc preferences show that the Tory Councillor's defeat had nothing to do with a so-called fight between the Liberal Democrat candidate and Duncan Cumming, the Independent. Firstly, Duncan Cumming was so well ahead of all the other candidates that it is pretty irrelevant to talk about a fight between him and anybody else. He had first preferences to spare by the bucketful. Any fighting going on was between the Tory, SNP and Lib Dem candidates, with Labour trailing behind. Secondly, the mass of second preferences from Duncan Cumming did not go to the Tory candidate, which suggests that the loss of the Tory seat had more to do with their performance in the ward than anything else. To lose a seat when you have a surplus of first preferences at the previous election is quite some feat. To explain that you really need to have some knowledge of the local circumstances. The fact is that the Tories put out fewer leaflets than any other party except the SNP. Basically, they took the seat for granted, expected to romp home and got their come-uppance. The voters just weren’t impressed. It’s as simple as that.