Friday, 12 August 2016

11 August: Labour Defeat Sturgeon's Dad - But Leadership Should Take Heed

One of the main hopes (indeed, it bordered on expectation) of Corbyn's leadership was that it would reverse the party's decline north of the border.  In fact, with the party having fallen behind the Tories in both Holyrood and current opinion polls, things have only gone much, much worse.

The trend continued last night, with Labour's vote falling in both the Scottish council by-elections.  They lost their seat in Renfrew South & Gallowhill to the SNP, although the party actually gained the North Ayrshire seat of Irvine West despite a decline in support of more than 7%, with Nicola Sturgeon's dad the defeated SNP candidate.

The facts behind this Labour victory are, you sense, unlikely to be recognised by the national leadership.  Labour gained the seat only because of the proportional electoral system north of the border, the anti-SNP vote from other parties combining to give Labour only their second council by-election gain of the summer

The lesson - which will almost certainly go unheeded - is surely that Labour needs to establish itself as a focus north of the border for any disillusionment with the nationalists.  If they don't the danger is surely that the Conservatives - who increased their vote in both Scottish contests last night - will position themselves thus and leave Labour even more marginalised.  Predictably, both Nicola Sturgeon and her dad blamed the loss on a 'Tory-Labour Alliance' - another over-simplification but an equally telling one.

In the one English by-election fought last night, the Tories held on the Worcestershire seat of Ombersley, continuing the party's recent pattern of capitalising on a collapsing UKIP vote.



11 August 2016 Results:


North AyrshireIrvine W. LAB Gain
PARTYVOTEPCT.CHG.
SNP1,16437.50.7
Labour [Elected stage 6]1,02933.1-7.1
Conservative63920.68.6
Socialist Labour1314.22.6
Green9433
Liberal Democrat481.5-3.2
RenfrewshireRenfrew S. & GallowhillSNP Gain
PARTYVOTEPCT.CHG.
SNP [Elected stage 4]1,30947.86.9
Labour1,01236.9-8.5
Conservative36613.49.1
Liberal Democrat531.90.1
WorcestershireOmbersley CON Hold
PARTYVOTEPCT.CHG.
Conservative95663.215.3
Liberal Democrat22414.89.7
UKIP21214-19.2
Independent1207.97.9



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