Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Scotland's Bellwether Constituency

Following a discussion on the Vote UK Forum about the closest Westminster constituency results to the overall national result, I decided to do a quick analysis for the same idea on 2011 Holyrood results.

I assessed the difference between each constituency result with the overall national result (in the constituency votes) by simply comparing each of the main four parties' results in each constituency with their overall result, and then adding these differences together.

By this method, I found that in terms of voting pattern the most 'typical' constituency in Scotland in 2011 was Strathkelvin and Bearsden, with a difference of 9.4 percentage points from the overall national result.  This constituency lies wholly within East Dunbartonshire, covering parts of the northern suburbs of Greater Glasgow, but is perhaps a surprising find for most typical result given it has had some very atypical results in the past, for example with independent Dr Jean Turner winning the seat in 2003.

Stirling was the second most typical constituency with a variance of 9.9 percentage points.  Interestingly, it was also a very close result in 2007 where there was a variance of 16.3 percentage points on the old boundaries.  Indeed the SNP and Labour results were almost bang on with the national results, with the variance largely produced by the Conservatives overperforming and the Lib Dems underperforming.  Furthermore, Stirling has always been won by the party who went on to win the most seats in the Scottish Parliament.  Could Stirling be Scotland's bellwether constituency?

The full table with every Holyrood constituency is available here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Bob Constable Elected New Midlothian Leader

SNP Councillor Bob Constable (Bonnyrigg) was voted in as Midlothian's new Leader yesterday, along with Owen Thompson (Midlothian West) as new Depute Leader. 

Former Leader Cllr Lisa Beattie resigned last week after reportedly being forced out by her colleagues who threatened a vote of no confidence in her leadership, with her Depute Cllr Jim Bryant then issuing his own resignation just an hour before the special meeting called to elect a new leader.  This resulted in complaints from the Labour group about lack of time to nominate one of their own to replace Bryant. 

The SNP's new leadership team was successfully elected however by a 9-7 vote against Labour's nominees of Cllr Derek Milligan (Bonnyrigg) and Cllr Jim Muirhead (Midlothian South).

Midlothian's sole Green Party Councillor Ian Baxter (Bonnyrigg) supported the SNP nominees, noting in a blogpost that "I cannot say I yet have total confidence in the SNP-led administration, but what I do know is that if today's performance by Labour is anything to go by, they'll need to change their game plan if they have any hope of me changing sides."