I'll start off with a disclaimer. I've only been to Glenrothes once in the last two months. And that was to attend a wedding in Markinch. So I have no real point of reference for what I'm about to say. But bear in mind that my only trip to the east end of Glasgow during a by-election there was to Celtic Park - and I still called that one correctly (ignore the leadership predictions!).
So here's what I'm going to say: I think Labour might actually win it. I wrote about Glenrothes the day after John MacDougall's funeral, suggesting that Brown might kick it to November - then hedging and deciding he'd probably call a snap election in September. Quote me (19 August 2008):
"Of course, the other, much touted option is to kick it long - possibly even into November. This has a couple of advantages - not least the opportunity for the economy to turn around, Brown to relaunch, polls to turn, a decent candidate to step forward, a new leader in Scotland to tackle the First Minister." Now, what has actually happened? Well, the economy has been saved/ decimated (depending on your SNP/ Labour filtered glasses) Brown had his relaunch at Conference, polls are beginning to turn for Labour, arguably Labour have a decent candidate... and, well, they have a new leader in Scotland (though not so much tackling the FM as... well, I don't know.
But surely they are in a better position now to win the seat than they were two months ago? And they might just do it - by around 1,500 votes I reckon. Maybe.
There has been some discussion of the Lib Dem chances - but at 100/1, there's a better chance of John McCain winning the US election. An election, incidentally, which may have more impact upon the people of Glenrothes than the election of their own MP, given the current economic climate.
Maybe Gordon got that one right - maybe people will be more interested in what happens Stateside two days before Glenrothes.
Turnout, I'd suggest, might be considerably lower than we've seen in recent by-elections. But, I think, with 2 weeks to go, I'm leaning towards a Labour hold... but it is a totally uneducated guess!
Beyond the grave
1 day ago