Thursday, 6 November 2008

Glenrothes By-Election LIVE BLOG

1.04 Right, after two of these in three nights, I'm absolutely shattered. Off to bed. Its been a good night for Labour, a "reality check" for the SNP, a disappointment for the Tories and a disaster for the Lib Dems. Sound like a fair analysis? More will follow tomorrow, but for now, thanks for joining me. Have again, thoroughly enjoyed the liveblog and the chat in the comments. Until the next one, cheers!

Jim Silliars says its a "good thing" for the SNP that they haven't won Glenrothes - its a reality check. Which makes sense. Also, he says that "Independence must be put back on the front of the party's agenda" and they must start talking it up independence, making the case for it. But he also goes off on a bit of a rant about everything which takes away from his point a wee bit.

So there we have it. Labour hold the seat - and get slightly more votes than previously. The SNP increased their vote massively - 5,000 more than last time out. Disaster for Lib Dems, who fall from third to fourth for the second by-election in succession as well as losing their deposit again. Tories up to third but they lost their deposit too.

Lindsay Roy is banging on that the SNP are making cuts and that is bad. Doesn't he realise that we're in a recession?

0.43 RESULT:
Lindsay Roy, Labour 19,946
Peter Grant, SNP 13,209
Maurice Golden, Conservative 1,381
Harry Wills, Liberal Democrats 947
Jim Parker, Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party 296
Morag Balfour, Scottish Socialists 212
Kris Seunarine, UKIP 117
Louise McLeary, Solidarity 87

Majority, 6,737
Swing 5% from Labour to SNP

David Mundell makes a good point - shouldn't extract anything on a national scale from this by-election. Willie Rennie is making out that its a worse result for the SNP (finishing second - presumably - with an increased vote share) than it is for the Lib Dems (possibly finishing 4th, losing their deposit). Doesn't that make him sound a bit silly?

Though, in fairness, she makes a decent point about the SNP being judged on actions - record at Holyrood and at Council level in Fife. On another point, sometimes I slate the BBC for their coverage, but tonight, it has been pretty good.

Anne McGuire, the awful MP for Stirling, is now on BBC... she's almost the worst MP I've ever seen. She's my Gran's MP - true story.

Kiss of death in by-elections appears to be a prediction that you will win from Scottish Tory Boy. Two by-elections - two wrong predictions. Oh dear...

Two points that are being made here: If you don't win a seat do you lose it? Or is it only if you hold the seat and don't win it that you lose it? That's an interesting take...

Angus Robertson is spinning his way out of Alex Salmond's prediction. And he's doing a pretty decent job of it. Glenn Campbell is toasting him a wee bit though. It's all about "progress" for the SNP and "slashing" the Labour majority.

Apparently a result from Glenrothes in 15mins. Don't hold your breath.

I have news from Forth by-election. And that is a Labour Hold as well. Labour won 2,000 votes there to the SNP's 1,800. Tories grabbed 1,200, Lib Dems 900 and Big Brother Independent got 200. Obviously the figures are somewhat approximate...

Susan Deacon makes a good point. The realities of governing impact hugely upon a party.

The blog at the Guardian makes a good point. Maybe we shouldn't gift wrap this for Labour yet. The projections have been all over the place all night. Might not be over yet. Anyone buying this? No? Me either...

No confirmation on the Forth by-election yet, but early rumours are that Labour may have held onto that one too. Looks like a clean sweep for Gordon's boys and girls...

There was also a by-election in Glasgow East tonight - the Ballieston ward of Glasgow City Council. Looks like Labour have held that seat - with a majority of 260. Or so I hear.

Just got a text from a Labour source. He is hearing that the party are "home and dry..." Not looking like a big win, but a win nonetheless.

Yeah, here's what I said two weeks ago:
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.
Though I also suggested that the turnout would be much lower - so why would you trust anything I predict?!

Murphy predicts 1. Lab, 2. SNP, 3. Con, 4. LD. I think that's what I'd go with - and that's what I said last week.

Is it time for me to go all smug and say "I said last week when everyone else was predicting SNP would win that Labour would hold it" or do I hold off? Its still early...

Turnout over 52% - huge for a by-election.

Claims that Labour have HELD the seat - maybe by around 1,000.

John Curtice (Prof, Strathclyde Uni) casting it as a vote about Gordon Brown's handling of the economic crisis.

Willie Rennie MP (Lib Dem for a close-by seat!) also claims incumbency for the SNP - perhaps trying to paint that if they don't win, it's a disaster?

Jim Murphy (new Sec State for Scotland - more on that later) is playing a smart game on Newsnight. He's saying that Labour are underdogs... that the SNP won the equivilant Scottish Parliament seat (Central Fife - 80% of the seat) and managing expectations well. He stopped short of saying that the SNP were "incumbent"-esq but not by much...

David Mundell comes out with a bombshell on BBC coverage. He tells us that the Tories have NOT won Glenrothes. Let me repeat that... the Tories have NOT won...

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the result of the US Presidential election will probably impact more directly on the lives of constituents in Glenrothes than the new MP for the area?

Just to be perfectly fair, here's a list of the candidates fighting the by-election in Glenrothes:

Morag Balfour, Scottish Socialists
Maurice Golden, Conservative
Peter Grant, SNP
Lindsay Roy, Labour
Kris Seunarine, UKIP
Harry Wills, Liberal Democrats
Louise McLeary, Solidarity
Jim Parker, Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party

I think I'm right in saying that the by-election for the Forth Ward of the City of Edinburgh Council was also held today. Perhaps not as nationally interesting at Glenrothes, but maybe crucial for the power in Edinburgh. Labour defending the seat but if either the SNP or the Lib Dems win, it would give them a wee bit more breathing room at the City Chambers.

As my non-Tory Anon commentator points out, Brian Taylor suggests that the SNP may have sneaked it in a close vote - and points out that the Lib Dem vote may have crashed, thereby leaving the SNP to mop up the anti-Labour vote.

I'm hearing a bit of chat that both the Lib Dems and the Tories might lose their deposits... with the Tories pipping the Lib Dems for third. As I say, just a bit of chat - anyone know any different?

Anseo is blogging from the scene. He sounds pretty positive for the SNP. I know I called it a Labour win by 500 two weeks ago... but I think it might be even closer than that. And the SNP might just have done it. Thoughts?

Anyone have any early chat from Glenrothes? Anyone been there today (or previously?) and know what the chat is?

Polls have closed in Glenrothes. If you're at home and waiting for the coverage to start on TV, you can listen to some early chat on Radio Scotland. Wee plug for my PhD supervisor, who's acting as an "expert" on the show.

22.00 I said I'd start liveblogging about the by-election at around 10pm so here we go.


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 22:08  

I'm getting scared, Malcy (I hope you don't mind me calling you Malcy).

Any inside info?

Malc 6 November 2008 at 22:14  

Inside info? Actually yeah...

It's been raining fairly constantly in Glenrothes today.

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 22:15  

I love it when you get sarcy, Malc;)

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 22:24  

BBC reporter at the count says it looks tight.

Hardly ground breaking news, but thought I'd throw it out there.

Malc 6 November 2008 at 22:28  

Thanks for that, anon-tory...

Tony,  6 November 2008 at 22:30  

guys, don't feel good about this one, not quite sure why. Maybe as a result of being the favourite, I never feel comfortable about that I'd much rather be the underdog!

How labour have managed to dampen expectations so much, I'm not sure.

Anonymous NON- tory,  6 November 2008 at 22:32

Brian Taylor predicts SNP win

Malc 6 November 2008 at 22:33  

Tony - take it you're a Nat? I'm the same, I'm always favouring an underdog (probably comes from watching Scotland at football/ rugby!). Which is probably why I'd called this for Labour a couple weeks ago. Though that might have had more to do with the way the media had played it... who knows though?

Malc 6 November 2008 at 22:34  

Sorry, that should have read "a non story"...

PJ 6 November 2008 at 22:44  

Any idea what time they are expecting a result?

Malc 6 November 2008 at 22:49  

PJ - result sometime between midnight and 1am. Or so I am led to believe.

However, I hear it is pretty tight, so we may be looking at a recount...

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 22:59  

The Labour odds on have just moved in from 3.0 (2-1 in old money) to 1.2 (1/5)!

Tony,  6 November 2008 at 23:00  

Malc yes I'm a Nat also, not a member, but a firm supporter. I think I hear Angus Robertson trying to manage expectations a little on Radio Scotland, hope that is not an indication of things to come.

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:03  

H.R - interesting stuff. Think its leaning Labour?

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:07  

the numbers are all over the place at the moment Malc; now the SNP aer back in front at 1.44 while Labour are back over 2 again. It's pretty liquid so a couple of decent bets are enough to change the picture quite dramatically. I'll keep an eye on it!

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 23:07  

Guardian are live-blogging too:

They seem quite optimistic about an SNP win.

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:09  

I'm glad they do (anon) - I'm shiteing it!

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:09  

HR - I don't think either party offer any value at this point. Before it was called the SNP were 1/4, Lab were 9/5 and worth more of a punt. But now? No way.

Stu,  6 November 2008 at 23:10  

i'm dismayed there seems to be little mention of the senior citizens on your blog malc

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:13  

My apologies Stu. Are you a senior citizen? Have you particular concerns that you want me to address?

Stu,  6 November 2008 at 23:18  

well i'm ageing every second. Senior citizenship is getting closer every day and if i ever retire to glenrothes i would like to be cared for!

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:18  

Malc - I'm not looking for value; I find betfair a very reliable barometer of how election counts are going. Might be something to do with their mobile phone service....

Latest is SNP 1/3 Labour 11/5 which is back to where we were an hour ago. On examination of the market history it lloks like someone swamped the market to drive the prices into reverse. Cost them about a grand as far as I can make out.

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:20  

Stu - if you can find me ANYTHING about the SSCUP's candidate, I'll happily post it.

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:21  

HR - okay. And if I can make a light-hearted joke out of it, my money's on Mandelson driving the market...

Or Robert Peston.

Arnie 6 November 2008 at 23:23  

A couple of concerning comments on politicalbetting, one of them saying the SNP people are looking a little less confident, the other from a Lib Dem in the count saying Labour have just held it.

Still don't see it though.

Of course, what upsets me more than either of those things is David Mundell's appalling statement that the Conservative Party had not gained the seat. It is not over until the votes are counted, after all.


Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:26  

Mundell was good value. He wouldn't be kidding anyone if he said the Tories had a shout. Nice to see a (Tory) politician being honest!

Who knows... I think its close.

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:28  

Did I mention that I can see Glenrothes from my house?


Sam 6 November 2008 at 23:28  

I'm mostly here cos I missed Malc's US live blog. so can anyone give me a rough guide to Glenrothes? I have literally almost no knowledge of why this matters...

but at least I'm here yeah?!

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:30  

Let's ignore the fact that you're coming late to the party and embrace the fact that you came at all, Sam.

In all honesty, it doesn't really matter...

Sam 6 November 2008 at 23:33  

Damn. I was promised excitement and tension and really wild things. Though I'm guessing i'll need less Red Bull than last time

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:36  

Radio Scotland have quoted a LbDem source at the count calling it for Labour with a majority of 5000!!!

No real change at betfair to that particular bombshell yet...

Mono 6 November 2008 at 23:37  

Have a gut feeling Labour have held it. Was going to put a £10 on Labour weeks back when they had a long shot. If they won, I was richer, if they lost I was happier.

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:39  

Indeed. Basically, Labour won the seat last time round by 10,000+. The SNP won corresponding seat for Scottish Parliament. They've been cast as favourites since the election was announced - at 1/4.

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:39  

Yeah, hearing Labour have sneaked it...

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:41  

another reversal of the positions in the betting.... Labour 1/5, SNP 3/1!

Sam 6 November 2008 at 23:41  

Guardian reporting, "Of those who applied for postal votes, 80% returned them".

Who goes to the trouble of applying & then doesn't return it?

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:42  

Against all other polls, I said Lab would win it last week.

Though, in fairness, I said McCain would comeback...

Sam 6 November 2008 at 23:47  

Congrats to Malc, good call (& good bragging).

Can I ask what it means for Labour to hold a by-election? Was it a referendum on the SNP?

Malc 6 November 2008 at 23:54  

It is a Westminster by-election, so there is the argument that people still see WM as "first-order elections" while Scottish Parly is "second order" and are happy to give the SNP their vote in that one. So there's that.

And to compare it to Glasgow East is incorrect - Glasgow voters wanted to kick Brown while now he seems to be saviour of the economy.

Not a referendum on the SNP I don't see it...

H.R. Pufnstuf 6 November 2008 at 23:59  

wasn't there also an election in the Forth ward for Edinburgh Council today? Any news on that?

Mono 7 November 2008 at 00:00  

just heard that the SNP basied of the figures that they've seen expect Labour to hold with a majority between 3,000 and 5,000 votes.

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:02  

No word on Forth yet. Looks like Labour might win it too though...

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:03  

Mono - yeah, I hear that too.

Tony,  7 November 2008 at 00:09  

gutted by the result, if confirmed. Can imagine the headlines tomorrow!

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:10  

Yeah, the unionist press will have a field day!

Anonymous,  7 November 2008 at 00:11  

this is pretty gutting.

the question needs to be asked how the party hierarchy were so out of the loop as to what the reality of the situation was amongst the voters

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:12  

Malc why don't you get posters like PJ1970 on the Guardian blog?

"Given the total media support for Zanu NU Labor it would be a miracle for the SNP to overturn a 10600 majority.

A narrow labourite win is just postponing the inevitable.

Death to Brown."

Zanu NU Labor - inventive

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:13  

Idiots like that post across the newspaper forum all the time...

H.R. Pufnstuf 7 November 2008 at 00:14  

22-1 now available on the SNP.

The SNP will learn lessons from this. Perhaps Salmond will reflect that his success in predicting the outcome of this byelection mirrors the success of the racing tips he passed me once.

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:18  

The economic crisis has had some effects. But one thing you can't (easily) fault Gordo for is his crisis-management. Or is that spin-management? Either way he looked better than Alex "Arc of Prosperity" Salmond.

@ Anonymous - Labour MP Nick Palmer said Labour "canvassing data was zero" as per usual in 'safe' seats. You guys really screwed this one up then.

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:19  

HR - I'd suggest its probably over.

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:20  

Yeah, I don't think that nickname for Salmond will catch on Sam...

But yes, I think the perception is that Gordon has dealt with the economic crisis well.

H.R. Pufnstuf 7 November 2008 at 00:24  

Agreed. Congratulations to Labour for holding on to their seat. An increased SNP vote as well :)

Thanks for the Forth report.

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:29  

How is it possible to hold a seat and not win it?

Decreased vote? come on it was a by-election.

There was an empty seat up for grabs, it was anyones to take. and you said Malc that some in the SNP were talking about themselves as incumbents.

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:32  

No Sam, what I said was that Jim Murphy - the Labour MP - was trying to claim the SNP as incumbents.

And my point was about Angus's categorisation - though not necessarily agreeing with it - was that IF you hold a seat, you haven't made a gain. So you haven't really won anything - just stayed still...

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:36  

Ah sorry. it sounded like you were trying to do some spinning of your own! my mistake.

Given the expectations of a few weeks ago, it does seem that this is going to go down as a Labour victory even if its not a SNP loss (which would be a harsh analysis). So maybe thats how you win: by beating expectations.

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:40  

Agreed. Though up until about 2 hours ago everyone (except little ol' bloggers) had the SNP down as winning...

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:43  

1-0 to the little guys.

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:47  

What are you watching Malc? You posted those at least 2 mins before I saw them read out on BBC News 24

Malc 7 November 2008 at 00:52  

Newsnight Scotland!

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:53  

it would be nice to see a magnanimous victory speech in UK politics wouldn't it?

Sam 7 November 2008 at 00:57  

Well I'm off. Congrats Labour, cheers for hosting Malc.

Commiserations to your Nat lot. At least you've got some rugby to look forward to victory in eh? what? oh.


Malc 7 November 2008 at 01:00  

Cheers for your company Sam. I've enjoyed the chat.

Jess The Dog 7 November 2008 at 01:27  

Yup, fairly shocking! Shows how events can have such an unexpected impact. I reckon a combination of the Brown Bounce and an effective attack on the SNP council on home care won it.


The recession will bite even deeper (not a good thing)

If forced ahead, the HBOS takeover will cost thousands of jobs (not a good thing)

Obama is in the White House and Brown will suffer by comparison (a good thing)

Overall, the tide is still going out on Labour. They can parachute their high heid yins into a single seat during a by-election....they can't do that for every seat in a general election. We won't see Sarah Brown again, she'll be too busy next door!

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