Wednesday, 4 December 2013

By-election Preview: 5 December 2013

There are eight by-elections this week.  Five are covered over on the English Elections blog, while two seats up for grabs in Cardiff are covered on the Welsh Elections blog.  Meanwhile in Scotland, Labour have a seat to defend in Glasgow.

Glasgow City Council; caused by the death of Labour councillor George Ryan, a Glasgow city councillor since reorganisation in 1995, at the age of 51.

Housing on Sandyhills Road
  © Copyright Stephen Sweeney and licensed for
reuse under this 
Creative Commons Licence.
This eastern Glasgow suburb, about two-and-a-half miles east of the city centre on the Shettleston Road and London Road, was reported by the Observer in 2004 to be the only place in the UK where life expectancy is falling: the life expectancy here is 63, mainly due to poor diets, high levels of alcohol and tobacco use, and general deprivation.  The ward also includes the slightly detached village of Carmyle, in a bend of the River Clyde south of the M74 motorway.

Shettleston has been relatively unaffected by the SNP rise in Glasgow, and in the 2012 election the Labour share of the vote rose from 52% to 61%, mostly at the expense of minor parties.  Since the introduction of PR in 2007 the SNP have held one of the four seats here with Labour in possession of the other three.

The minor parties could be back with a vengeance with twelve candidates on the ballot paper, several of whom also stood in the Govan by-election two months ago.  Labour's Martin Neill has to be the favourite to win the by-election and should do so in the first round.  His main opposition will come from the SNP's Laura Doherty, a 22-year-old art gallery assistant, and, if the evidence of the Govan by-election is anything to go by, the anti-bedroom tax campaigner John Flanagan.  Also standing are Raymond McCrae (Conservative), Alasdair Duke (Scottish Green Party), Tommy Ball (Scottish Socialist Party), James Spiers (Lib Dem), Charles Baillie (Britannica), Jamie Cocozza (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Victor Murphy (Christian Party), Arthur Thackeray (UKIP) and James Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance), who must surely do better this time than the one vote he polled in Govan.

Parliamentary constituency: Glasgow East
Holyrood constituency: Glasgow Shettleston (Glasgow region)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Glasgow
Postcode districts: G31, G32

Charles Baillie (Britannica)
Tommy Ball (SSP)
Jamie Cocozza (TUSC)
Laura Doherty (SNP)
Alasdair Duke (Grn)
John Flanagan (No Bedroom Tax)
Raymond McCrae (C)
Victor Murphy (Chr)
Martin Neill (Lab)
James Spiers (LD)
Arthur Thackeray (UKIP)
James Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance)

May 2012 first preferences Lab 4256 (3 seats) SNP 2172 (1 seat) C 284 Grn 105 Glasgow First 98 SSP 63 LD 52
May 2007 first preferences Lab 4616 (3 seats) SNP 1896 (1 seat) C 565 Solidarity 458 LD 420 BNP 268 Grn 227 Scottish Unionist 190 SSP 163