Sunday, 8 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Aberdeenshire



Aberdeenshire Council

2007 Results 
24 Lib Dems
22 SNP
  14 Conservative
  8 Independents
(Lib Dem/Conservative administration)
Full Results

Candidates 
36 SNP
27 Independents
22 Lib Dems
21 Conservative
14 Labour
6 Green
3 Christian
Full Details 


ScottishElections.org.uk Prediction
SNP 29-32
Conservative 14-16
Lib Dems 13-15
Independents 6-8
Green 1
Labour 0-2

Aberdeenshire is a large, rural council area surrounding Aberdeen from the coast of the Moray Firth, inland to the west along Deeside, to the North Sea coast south of Aberdeen.  The historic association of the area with Aberdeen and the lack of a major central town makes Aberdeenshire notable for being the only council in Scotland to have its headquarters out with the council area, based as it is within Aberdeen City.  Since 2007, the Council has been run by a Lib Dem and Conservative administration.

Aberdeenshire Council has been at the heart of the controversy over Donald Trump's development plans to build a golf course at Menie.  The planning application was originally rejected by the council on the casting vote of the planning committee chair, but was then taken in and approved by Holyrood itself.  These events led to several members of the main Lib Dem group leaving to form the Democratic Independent Group on the council, and two Lib Dems defecting to the Greens including the ex-chair of the planning committee, Dr Martin Ford.

The SNP won every Holyrood constituency in Aberdeenshire in 2011 with substantial majorities.  SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond notionally held the new seat of Aberdeenshire East with a majority of over 15,000, while Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson held Banffshire and Buchan Coast with a majority of over 12,000.  The party notionally gained Aberdeenshire West and Aberdeen South and North Kincardine from the Liberal Democrats on substantial swings.  On top of this achievement, the SNP also managed to win one top-up list seat in the North East region, along with three seats won by Labour, two by the Conservatives, and one by the Lib Dems.

35 seats are needed for a majority on Aberdeenshire Council, so only the SNP are capable of winning outright.  The Lib Dems have already surrendered three seats by fielding fewer candidates than they won in 2007.  The Christian Party are standing here for the first time.

Based on the swings seen in 2011, the SNP will emerge as the largest party with the Liberal Democrats facing heavy losses.  The SNP are probably unlikely to win a majority alone though, and will probably have to work with one of the current administration parties.  Labour will be looking to win their first seat in Aberdeenshire, whilst the Greens are aiming to defend their councillor, elected last time as a Lib Dem.


Banff and District (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Ind
Candidates Christian / Con / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The SNP won nearly two quotas of first preferences here in 2007, but narrowly lost out on a second seat to an Independent candidate, John Cox.  However, Cox has since joined the SNP and is now their second candidate this time around.  
The SNP will very likely win two seats here this time.  The Lib Dems polled narrowly ahead of the Tories last time, and will probably lose their seat to the Conservatives.


Troup (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)
(2008 By-election SNP hold)

The SNP won nearly half of the first preferences here in 2007, their single candidate being elected well over quota.  In the 2008 by-election caused by the death of their Cllr Mitchell Burnett, they held the seat with an even greater share of the vote.

The SNP should win two seats here this time, given their massive leads in 2007 and 2008.  The Conservative councillor outpolled the Independent in 2007, and is the slight favourite to hold the remaining seat.


Fraserburgh and District (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / SNP / Ind / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind(x4) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x3)

This is one of the strongest SNP wards in the entire country, and they will dominate the vote here.  The remaining vote last time mostly scattered amongst the independent candidates with little share for the other parties.

The SNP will easily hold their three seats.  The last seat is something of a toss up, but likely to be held by defending Independent Cllr Michael Watt.


Central Buchan (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Ind / Con / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The SNP are the strongest party in this ward, but two fifths of the votes last time were taken by independent candidates here.  One of the independent councillors Norman Smith is defending his seat whilst the other has stood down.

The SNP, Conservatives and Smith are each likely to hold their seats here.  The retiring independent's seat will probably be picked up by the SNP, although it could potentially be won by one of the new independents.


Peterhead North and Rattray (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Ind / SNP / Con
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x3)

Another very strong SNP seat.  The Conservative candidate narrowly beat the third SNP contender last time, but the incumbent has now stood down.

The SNP seem likely to gain a third seat at the expense of the Tories.  Independent Alan Buchan should be able to defend his own seat.


Peterhead South and Cruden (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / SNP / Lib Dem
Candidates Con / Ind(x3) / SNP(x2)

Again, the SNP dominate in this ward.  The Lib Dem elected last time, Sam Coull, was one of the councillors who fell out with his group over the Trump planning decision and is now defending his seat as an independent.

The SNP should easily hold their two seats.  The last seat will go to an independent, most likely the defending Coull.


Turriff and District (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Ind
Candidates Christian / Con / Ind / SNP(x2)

The Lib Dems have abandoned this seat entirely with the former councillor not standing and no new candidate to replace her.  I missed the Lib Dem candidate because she was hidden away on the next page of the Notice of Poll...  Although still a strong SNP seat, the Conservatives and the defending Independent both poll well enough to keep this ward competitive.

The SNP will hold their current seat.  For the remaining two seats, the incumbent Lib Dem and independents are probably the most likely winners, though the SNP could gain one of these seats.


Mid Formartine (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The Lib Dems were the strongest party here in 2007, but again the Lib Dems have effectively given up a seat here, with their other councillor from last time now standing as an independent.

There should be easy defenses for the SNP, Conservative and Lib Dem candidates.  The fourth seat will be close between the second SNP candidate and the ex-Lib Dem independent.


Ellon and District (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)
This ward was something of a "wrong winner" result last time with the Lib Dems gaining the most seats despite a fair SNP lead in votes - the result of an SNP under-nomination.  One of the Lib Dems here defected to the Greens, but has chosen not to defend her seat.
With the single Lib Dem candidate, the other Lib Dem seat should be an easy SNP gain.


West Garioch (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / LibDem(x2) / SNP

The SNP missed out on a second seat here last time due to under-nomination, but rather bizarrely have gone again with just one candidate.

The SNP and Lib Dems should each hold a seat.  The second Lib Dem seat probably would have gone to the SNP, but with no second candidate might go to the Tories, or even be a Lib Dem hold.


Inverurie and District (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / LibDem / Con
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

A strong Lib Dem ward last time, but again they have lost one of their councillors who is re-standing as an independent.  This was also the strongest Labour ward last time, polling not far behind the winning Conservative.

The SNP and Lib Dems should each hold a seat.  The Conservatives are also quite likely to hold their seat, with the last seat being too close to call between the SNP, the ex-Lib Dem independent and Labour.


East Garioch (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Lib Dems have lost one of their previous seats here again, this time to the Greens who are aiming to defend with the incumbent Martin Ford.  This ward was close fought between the SNP and Lib Dems last time, but each party is only fielding a single candidate this time.

The SNP and Lib Dems should have easy holds.  The third seat seems likely to go to the Greens if Martin Ford retains his large vote share from last time.


Westhill and District (4 seats)
2007 Result LibDem / Con / SNP / Ind
Candidates Con / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

This ward is pretty undercontested with five candidates for four seats, especially with Labour polling far behind the other parties last time.

The independent seat going undefended will be picked up by the SNP's second candidate.


Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The Lib Dems have again already lost a seat here, with one councillor not re-standing.

The second Lib Dem seat should be a straightforward SNP gain.


Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / LibDem / Con
Candidates Con / Lab / LibDem(x2) / SNP
(2009 By-election LibDem GAIN from Con)

This ward was overwhelmingly Conservative in 2007, but they lost one seat to the Lib Dems in 2009.  However, it still seems strange that they have only fielded one candidate this time.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems should each hold a seat.  Although the single SNP nominee is likely to beat the two Lib Dems on first preferences, there are likely to be a large number of Conservative transfers in play which will probably favour a second Lib Dem.


Banchory and Mid-Deeside (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / LibDem / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Another undercontested ward, as neither the Greens or Labour are in contention here.

Easy holds for the Conservatives, Lib Dems and SNP.


North Kincardine (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con / Christian / Lab / LibDem(x2) / SNP(x2)

The Lib Dems were lucky to win two seats here last time, mostly down to SNP under-nomination.  Standing two candidates again here seems an unusual choice given the seats already abandoned in better wards.

The SNP and Conservative seats are straightforward holds.  The Lib Dems might hold one seat, but they may have split their vote too far with two candidates, and lose out to the SNP and Labour.


Stonehaven and Lower Deeside (4 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab / LibDem(x2) / SNP(x2)

A clear wrong-winner result last time with the Conservatives well ahead on votes but second Conservative candidate Sandy Wallace beaten for a seat by the Lib Dems, probably due to poor transfer management between the Conservative candidates.

The Conservatives should be able to easily gain that second seat from the Lib Dems this time.


Mearns (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem / LibDem
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

A relatively close ward last time, although the Lib Dems did have a lead in vote share.  However, they're again only trying to hold one seat.

The first three seats should all be held.  The undefended Lib Dem favours the SNP slightly ahead of the Conservatives.

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