Today the British Labour Party declared a fightback against the SNP in the contest for political dominance in Scotland after a narrow victory in the Inverclyde by-election to the British Parliament. The Labour candidate Iain McKenzie retained the seat for the London-based party over the SNP challenger Anne McLaughlin, who came in second.
According to the Belfast Telegraph:
‘A tight contest between the two parties had been forecast in the Labour stronghold after the nationalists swept the board in May’s Scottish parliamentary elections.
But speaking after the count Mr McKenzie said: “With a result like this I think we can safely say the SNP bandwagon has ground to a halt. Labour won this election because we listened hard and took nothing for granted. This is the start of Labour’s fightback and there will be a lot more listening to do over the coming months and years.”‘
Er, okay. Except none of that is quiet true, is it, Iain? At the last general election the Inverclyde seat was held by British Labour with a majority of more than 14,416 votes and was generally seen as one of the safest Labour seats in Scotland (or indeed the whole of the UK). With the death of the former MP David Cairns, Iain McKenzie was all but guaranteed to keep the seat for the party – and comfortably so. What in fact has happened is that Labour has seen its 14,416 majority more than halved to 5838. Some ‘fightback’ that, loosing around 9000 votes.
The SNP on the other hand saw its share of the vote go from 17% to 35%. An impressive jump by anyone’s standards, and completely trouncing the also-rans of the Conservative and LibDem parties.
Far from a British Labour comeback in Scotland, or the damming of the rising SNP tide, the Inverclyde by-election in fact proves that the momentum of the Scottish Parliamentary elections, which saw the SNP sweep to victory in Scotland, is continuing. As the BBC points out:
‘A sign of the concern Labour felt can be seen in the cast of characters they deployed to the streets of Greenock, Gourock and Port Glasgow.
Ed Miliband, David Miliband, Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Ed Balls joined hundreds of activists who pounded the hills and housing estates of Inverclyde encouraging people to back the party.’
A desperate Labour Party threw everything bar the kitchen sink into this contest yet they still saw their vote shredded and a massive majority reduced by over half. If British Labour can portray this as a ‘victory’ then they really are in even more trouble than they realise.
- British Labour: Scottish Nationalists Are Neo-Fascists (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Labour fends off SNP challenge (mirror.co.uk)
- And so to Inverclyde… (sluggerotoole.com)
- A New Plaid Cymru For A New Wales? (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)