Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Glasgow City


2007 Results 
45 Labour
22 SNP
5 Lib Dems
5 Green
1 Conservative
1 Solidarity
(Labour administration)

45 Labour
43 SNP
21 Conservative
21 Green
21 Lib Dems
20 Glasgow First
10 Independents
9 Socialist
9 TUSC (standing as Anti-Cuts Coalition)
6 Unionist
4 Britannica
4 Christian
3 Solidarity
2 Pirate
1 Socialist Labour

ScottishElections.org.uk Prediction
Labour 37-39
SNP 36-38
Conservative 1-2
Green 1-2
Glasgow First 0-2
Independent 0-1
Socialist 0-1
Solidarity 0-1

Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, and its greater metropolitan area spans numerous council areas across the western part of Scotland's central belt.  Glasgow City Council itself covers the city centre and inner suburbs of the conurbation.

Glasgow City Council contains eight Holyrood constituencies - Glasgow Anniesland, Glasgow Cathcart, Glasgow Kelvin, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Glasgow Pollok, Glasgow Provan, Glasgow Shettleston and Glasgow Southside.  These eight constituencies, along with the Rutherglen constituency in South Lanarkshire, make up the Glasgow electoral region.

In the 2007, all bar one of these constituencies were won by Labour, the exception being Glasgow Govan that was gained by the SNP's deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon.  In 2011, the SNP won five of the newly redrawn constituencies.  Bill Kidd gained Glasgow Anniesland with a majority of just 7,  James Dornan gained Glasgow Cathcart with a majority of 1,592, Sandra White gained Glasgow Kelvin with a majority of 882, John Mason gained Glasgow Shettleston with a majority of 586, while Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon notionally gained Glasgow Southside with a majority of 4,349.

For Labour, Patricia Ferguson held Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn with a majority of 1,292, Johann Lamont (later elected the new Labour leader) held Glasgow Pollok with a majority of 623, and Paul Martin held Glasgow Provan with a majority of 2,079.

The regional seats divided up as three for Labour (the first time they had ever won top-up seats in Glasgow), two for the SNP, and one each for the Conservatives and the Greens.

What with nearly all these seats being closely marginal between Labour and the SNP, the council as a whole is very close to call between the two parties.  However, further complicating things, a number of deselected Labour councillors have formed their own party, Glasgow First, who are fielding candidates across most of Glasgow including six sitting councillors.  Furthermore, Glasgow has a wider variety of minor parties standing than in any other council area in Scotland, including first appearances by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (standing as the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition), UKIP, Britannica (a BNP splinter group), the Pirate Party and Socialist Labour.  Throw into the mix a number of defending Lib Dem, Green and Conservative councillors, plus some "celebrity" in the form of Gail Sheridan defending Solidarity's seat, and it's easy to see why Glasgow is being seen as by far the most exciting contest of the election.

40 seats are needed to win an outright majority on Glasgow City Council, with Labour and the SNP both standing enough candidates.  Labour can afford to lose five seats on its 2007 tally to retain a majority, although in effect it needs at least one gain to make up for the Glasgow First defections.  The SNP need to gain at least 18 seats, although in many parts of Glasgow last time they underperformed by not nominating enough candidates, so this is not as big an ask as it first sounds.  Given how close the result is likely to be, and that at least a handful of other parties' councillors are likely to survive, an outright majority either way does seem unlikely.

Noteworthy is that the three main left-wing parties standing, the Socialists, the TUSC and Solidarity, seem to have agreed a non-aggression pact with one candidate per ward between them.  This has avoided the situation of multiple socialist candidates in every ward as seen in 2007, though it remains to be seen whether they can elect any candidates.

Labour topped the first preference share in every ward in 2007, whilst the SNP were similarly second place in every ward.  For each ward's preview, marginality should be taken in the context of the relative strength of Labour and the SNP in comparison to other wards.

Linn (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

One of the less marginal seats, the SNP only managed just over a quota of first preferences in 2007.  The Lib Dems managed to gain a seat ahead of the third Labour candidate while no other parties polled over 10%.

The Lib Dem seat is certain to go, so with only two Labour candidates the seats should split two to the SNP and two to Labour.

Newlands/Auldburn (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

This was a closer seat last time, and is complicated by the SNP councillor re-standing as an independent after briefly defecting to Labour (having also previously spent time with the Conservatives and the SDP).  The Conservatives also have one of their strongest votes in this ward.  The other independent is perennial candidate Chris Creighton, while the Glasgow First candidate here is their sitting councillor for Craigton ward, Ruth Black (elected as Soldiarity before defecting to Labour then Glasgow First).

Labour and the SNP should each hold one seat.  Black would have had an incumbency advantage in Craigton but has chosen to switch wards, which I can only guess was to avoid standing against Gail Sheridan given her past Solidarity sympathies, so she's unlikely to be re-elected.  There's little evidence to suggest Deans can get himself re-elected either, so the final seat is probably a tossup between Labour and the Conservatives, who were much closer to a quota than the SNP were to a second last time.

Greater Pollok (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Christian / Glasgow 1st(x2) / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist

A relatively good ward for both SNP and Labour last time, with Solidarity and the Socialists each winning a reasonable share as well, ahead of the other parties at least.  Glasgow First have two sitting councillors defending their seats in this ward, while the new Labour candidates standing against them include former MSP Bill Butler.

Again, one Labour and one SNP seat are a given.  As for the others, Glasgow First have the benefit of two incumbents, and if their vote transfers well from one to another then they might have a good chance to hold at least one.  The combined left-wing vote last time was over 14%, also putting them with striking distance of a quota.  Labour had a substantial lead overall though, and have consolidated that vote into just two candidates, including one high profile former MSP.  Overall, I'd say there is a four-way tossup for the remaining two seats between SNP, Labour, Socialist and Glasgow First, with SNP and Labour being the most likely victors.

Craigton (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Solidarity
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Green / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Solidarity / UKIP

Solidarity won their only seat anywhere in Scotland in 2007 in this ward, and Gail Sheridan is now standing under their banner here looking to hold the seat after their councillor defected to Labour then Glasgow First.  The Labour candidate who wasn't elected in 2007 is standing as the Glasgow First candidate this time.

One SNP and one Labour seats are assured.  Another Labour seat should be straightforward too given the lack of other really competitive parties in this ward, leaving the final seat as a tossup between the SNP and Solidarity.  The left-wing vote was actually less here than in Greater Pollok, although the Sheridan name on the ballot paper does give them a significant notable-candidate benefit.

Govan (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st(x2) / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / Pirate / SNP(x3) / Solidarity / Unionist

There are two new Labour candidates as of the three Labour candidates elected last time, two are defending their seats as Glasgow First and the other is standing as an independent.  The sitting SNP councillor is also the party leader, and is joined by two new candidates.  No parties other than SNP or Labour polled above 5% last time.

Taking one SNP and one Labour ward as a given, another SNP first seems most likely given Labour's multiple candidate problems and the SNP's heavy targeting of this ward.  Of the remaining candidates for the final seat, the ex Labour independent John Flanagan showed a reasonable personal vote last time, topping the Labour candidates despite being worst off in ballot order, whilst the two sitting Glasgow First candidates could also be in with a chance.  Overall, I'd call the last seat a tossup between Glasgow First and the independent.

Pollokshields (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Con
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

The ward of Glasgow's only Conservative councillor, Labour and the SNP also polled very closely last time.  The Labour councillor defected to the SNP shortly before the election, though he isn't re-standing.  The Greens are also relatively strong here, polling over 10% before.

Conservative David Meikle has had consistently strong coverage throughout the campaign as the only Tory on the council, and although his seat is slimly held, he seems likely to keep it.  The other seats accordingly would almost certainly divide SNP and Labour.

Langside (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

The Lib Dem councillor here is the party's group leader on the council, but with barely half a quota of first preferences last time he seems certain to lose his seat.

Labour and the SNP should hold one each.  With only one Labour candidate, the Lib Dem seat should be an easy gain for the SNP.

Southside Central (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Grn
Candidates Britannica / Con / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist

The Green candidate was elected with half a quota of first preferences last time which, combined with a change in candidate, makes their seat look likely to be lost.  There is no Glasgow First candidate in this ward, but the independent candidate is a sitting ex Labour councillor.

An SNP gain from Green looks likely, with the other seats being held the same.

Calton (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Britannica / Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Ind(x2) / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist / Unionist

Only Labour and the SNP are competitive in this ward, with Solidarity coming 3rd place last time with less than 6%.

This is one of the stronger Labour three-seater wards, as as such the current two Labour to one SNP split is likely to be maintained.

Anderston/City (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Grn
Candidates Britannica / Con / Glasgow 1st / Green / Lab(x2) / LibDem / Pirate / SNP(x2) / Solidarity

A relatively close ward last time with Labour winning under two quotas of first preferences.  The Green councillor benefitted last time from the SNP undernomination and from gathering up a lot of Lib Dem transfers.

Two Labour and one SNP holds seem likely along with an SNP gain from the Greens.

Hillhead (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Grn / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Britannica / Christian / Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist / UKIP
(2011 By-election SNP hold) 

The strongest Green ward in Glasgow, as well as one of the most marginal in general with the Lib Dems in contention last time as well.  The ward was one of the last in Scotland to see a by-election before the six month rule came into effect, holding off any by-elections until May 3rd.  In the by-election, both the Green and Lib Dem votes fell, mostly to the benefit of the SNP and then Labour.

The SNP and Labour should each hold here, and the Greens should be targeting to defend this so their seat should also be quite secure.  The LibDem seat is likely to be lost, especially looking at the recent by-election result, with the SNP favourites to pick it up.

Partick West (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Lab / Grn
Candidates Christian / Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist / UKIP / Unionist(x2)

Veteran Lib Dem councillor Christopher Mason is standing down, making the Lib Dems likely to lose this seat as well.  This was another ward quite close between Labour and the SNP, with the Lib Dems, Greens and Conservatives all relatively competitive too.  Bizarrely, the Unionist Party are standing two candidates here despite missing out all of the surrounding wards.

Labour and the SNP will each hold a seat and are both likely to gain one too, with the Greens possibly just holding a seat against Labour.

Garscadden/Scotstounhill (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab / Lab
Candidates Christian / Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Ind / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC / UKIP

A strong Labour ward last time, with nearly three quotas of first preferences.  Apart from Labour and the SNP, all other parties polled under 6% and are uncompetitive in this ward.

The SNP will benefit from having their vote split two ways instead of three, and should gain a seat from Labour.

Drumchapel/Anniesland (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Ind / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC
(2009 By-election Lab GAIN from SNP)
(2010 By-election Lab hold)

Another Labour fortress like the last ward.  In two subsequent by-elections, incidentally held on the same days as the 2009 European elections and the 2010 Westminster elections, the Labour vote dipped a bit at first but then recovered in the second by-election.  The Labour gain from SNP resulted in this ward being entirely represented by Labour councillors since 2009.

Three Labour holds and one SNP hold seems most likely.

Maryhill/Kelvin (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist

A much more marginal ward, although the Lib Dem seat is pretty certain to be lost leaving it rather uncontested amongst the four SNP and Labour candidates.

The SNP should gain the Lib Dem seat.

Canal (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Grn
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist Labour / TUSC / Unionist(x2)

Again quite close between Labour and the SNP - the Greens came third in 2007 and managed to gain a seat with just 8% of first preferences thanks to SNP undernomination.  The Unionists have again oddly nominated two in this one ward, while Socialist Labour have broken the left-wing pact across the city by standing against the TUSC candidate here.

The SNP should easily gain the Green seat, the other seats being held as they are.

Springburn (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Another very strong ward for Labour with only the SNP being competitive against them.

The result is likely to remain the same as last time.

East Centre (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist / UKIP

Relatively strong for Labour with just over two quotas to the SNP's just over one, and no other parties in contention.

The SNP should benefit from splitting their vote between two candidates compared to Labour's three, letting the SNP gain one from Labour.

Shettleston (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist

Similar to the last ward although slightly stronger for Labour.

Again, having fewer candidates should give the SNP an advantage but the higher Labour vote from last time makes the fourth seat more of a tossup than a certain gain.

Baillieston (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Glasgow 1st / Grn / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / Socialist / UKIP
(Nov 2008 By-election Labour hold)

The strongest SNP seat in the East End last time, seemingly largely due to the personal vote of John Mason who has since gone on to be elected as an MP and then MSP.  That being said, after John Mason's victory in the Glasgow East by-election they still held the seat on a very strong vote share.  A subsequent by-election just two months later resulted in a Labour hold with the SNP picking up a slightly reduced swing.

The Labour councillor elected in the November 2008 by-election is standing for Glasgow First, but two Labour and two SNP holds seem the likeliest outcome.

North East (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab / Lab
Candidates Con / Grn / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Another very strong Labour seat with nearly three quotas last time.

The SNP again should benefit from having fewer candidates though, and be able to gain a seat by getting both candidates ahead of the third Labour one.

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