Monday, 21 April 2008

Those 20 seats.

20 Westminster seats.
Should be easy.
You could look at the seats we won last year which are obvious targets for victory this time - Dundee West, Livingstone, Kilmarnock, Gordon, but what else is there?

Well, Govan gets split into three under London rules, so that's three possibles, but there's something even more fun just hanging around if you know where to look - Additional Member votes (second votes or list votes, if you will).

Other than the 21 seats we won First Past the Post, we won the AM vote in Edinburgh North and Leith, Edinburgh Central, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Ross, Skye and Inverness West, all three seats in Aberdeen (I know we hold one, you don't always have to tell me), West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale, and Dumbarton.

Libdems, on the other hand, only won four on the AM vote, two of which combine at Westminster (Orkney and Shetland combine, Ming Campbell's seat was another and Edinburgh West made up the list - Edinburgh West by only 501 votes). The Libdems got horsed in some of the seats they hold FPTP and, with the Conservatives biting chunks out of their vote in places like Edinburgh West, they're in serious soapy bubble. Wonder if they'll be saying vote Libdem to keep the Nats out?

Can't see a massive Conservative revival, but they have to be fancying their chances in some of the Border seats and maybe giving the Chancellor a wee fleg in Pentlands (I know it has a different name for London elections, but Edinburgh South West is a really boring name).

All in all, it looks like Scotland is lined up for an election to the London Parliament which will see the Libdems vanishing under the insipid leadership of Clegg, the Conservatives making a very modest recovery (whether that includes taking any more seats will be interesting to watch), and a battle between Labour and the SNP raging back and forward across the country.
Given how weak Gordon Brown is, appearing more and more like Labour's John Major, the timing of the election and the standing economic position at the time will be interesting. I'm not sure how much Brown factors Scotland into his calculations about such things (Labour politicians appear not to think too much about Scotland at all), but he has a wee problem.

He can hold off, hoping that the SNP Government's honeymoon eventually ends, but there's no sign at all of that happening and he runs the risk of seeing the economy hit the buffers and Cameron coming storming home in a landslide. He also has the problem of the SNP Government building up a reputation for competence and trustworthiness that Labour simply doesn't have.

He and Darling could try to squeeze the Scottish Government's funding, but they've already learned that the Scottish Government fights back and that people are not best pleased with such a lack of grace.

What a quandary - dither and go down as the man who lost Blair's legacy through a lack of decisiveness or go early and be the man who lost Blair's legacy through a hot-headed grab for power?
Blair's legacy?
Well, he won three elections, just like Thatcher. Will Brown manage a Major and pull off an unexpected victory? Well Cameron's no Kinnock, he won't make the same mistakes, Major didn't share the blame for Thatcher's Government in the same way that Brown shares the blame for Blair's, and Brown has already teetered and the edge of an election so now appears weak. I think he's stuffed.

Labour needs a new leader.


Anonymous said...

In Fife we could do well in Glenrothes; Stirling will be interesting having come from 3rd place, Kilmarnock, and if you lot in Edinburgh North put out the right bar charts on your leaflets you win there too. Edinburgh East will be fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

I think you may need to include the Holyrood-Factor (now there's a TV show I'd vote in - last man standing for SLAB becomes the leader, after a viewer vote!). Although Cleggy is a bit insipid in Westminster, Nichol, in Holyrood, isn't. The electorate may well associate the LibDems with him in Scotland, increasing their vote relative to England. Mind you, by the same token the Labour vote should collapse more heavily in Scotland than in England, due to the Wendy "no more questions" Alexander factor.
I think it can be a dangerous business, transposing English polls to Scotland.
Just a thought...

Richard Thomson said...

obvious targets for victory this time - Dundee West, Livingstone, Kilmarnock, Gordon

You've doctored Livingston, I presume? :-)

Stephen Glenn said...

Seeing the Lib Dems vanaish from Scotland in your dreams Callum.

Even when we down to a cab full of Liberal MPs we were still represented in Scotland. Also Westminster has traditionally been poorer for the nats asnd stronger for the Lib Dems, so be careful while you're out there counting the residents in the coop.

Calum Cashley said...

Mr Thomson, such a pun deserves opprobium!

Anonymous said...

The SNP must concentrate on winning Gordon Brown's seat at the next election. Imagine the uproar over that