I’m bored with this game – can we play a new one now? And yes, I know I crashed someone else’s party but it’s a burdz prerogative to complain when it is like every other party I’ve ever been to.
Which pretty much sums up what is likely to happen in the regions of West of Scotland and Central Scotland in 2011. Groundhog day it most certainly will be. Thinking of these regions always puts me in mind of the wonderful quote from Tom Nairn: “Scotland will be free when the last minister is strangled with the last copy of the Sunday Post”. Or in these pairts of Scotland, when the last Labour voter is strangled with the last red rosette.
In 2007, these two regions produced flashes of sunshine yellow, in the form of Cunningham North, Falkirk West and Kilmarnock and Loudoun (now decanted to South of Scotland with a slightly different name and boundary). Using the ICM poll findings – regular readers will know I am nothing if not consistent (!) unlike those fly-by-nights over at Better Nation who have switched polls midway through this exercise – inserting them into the ScotlandVotes predictor produces a sea of red right across all 19 seats in these two regions. How drearily predictable and absolutely no fun at all.
In West of Scotland, I share all of Malc’s predictions for seats in all but one. Yes, the SNP will hold Cunninghame North and yes, Labour will hold all the rest, apart from Dumbarton. And that will give us a woooh moment, to be sure. Dumbarton is 9th target seat for the SNP in swing required alone. Over the years, it has a tumultuous time at local government level and in 2007, the SNP finally broke through to form the administration. They are doing a decent job; indeed, Iain Robertson, the SNP candidate, is a councillor so has some local recognition. The SNP will gain Dumbarton – remember, you read it here first.
UPDATE – I have been reliably informed by someone with much better local knowledge that my prediction is wide of the mark (they were being polite – I think they meant it was mince). So taking into account stuff I didn’t know before, it would appear, ahem, that the burd was wrong. Doesn’t happen everyday I know but hey, I’m in good company. So SNP gain? Probably not. Probably a safe bet for a Labour hold. Shame, I was looking forward to my woooh moment. And as Malc at Better Nation pointed out, you didnae read it here first – he at least flirted with the idea but came down on the sensible side of the fence with a predicted Labour hold.
So that would make it nine for Labour, one for the SNP on my constituency seats which means no list seat for Labour and an additional one for the SNP. Though it doesn’t affect the overall totals….
One more update – this means that my old boss, Fiona McLeod, is likely to return to the Parliament. Hurrah! Not least because as a key champion for children (she was one of the MSPs, alongside Jackie Baillie incidentally, who pushed and pressed for a Commissioner for Children and Young People to be created) I will have a legitimate excuse to buy her a coffee and bend her ear.
One other variant – Eastwood. This is a tricky one, and you just know that Labour’s Ken Macintosh is in trouble when he is heard on Radio Scotland pleading with SNP and Lib Dem voters to lend him their votes. But… the Tories are flatlining, he is a popular MSP (I for one would be sad to see him go), Jim Murphy already pulled one out of the hat by retaining the seat at the 2010 UK election, and given the Scots’ propensity to kick against the Conservative revival, I just can’t see them taking Eastwood. So Malc retracted his earlier prediction of a Labour win for this redrawn seat to plump for a Conservative gain but I reckon it will stay with Labour.
So, Malc predicted eight constituency seats for Labour, one Conservative and one for the SNP – the burd is going for eight Labour, two SNP.
Malc reckoned the SNP would win five regional list seats, the Conservatives one and one for the Lib Dems. He doesn’t think Labour will pick up a compensatory list seat but I disagree. My list seat predictions are SNP three, Conservative two, Labour one and Lib Dems one, though I think that they will come under pressure for this last regional seat from the SNP.
Totals are 8 Labour, 6 SNP, 2 Conservative and 1 Lib Dem; I differ slightly with 9 Labour, 5 SNP, 2 Conservative, 1 Lib Dem.
Switching to the other side of Glasgow, Central Scotland will spring very few surprises. In fact, aside from the omission of Kilmarnock, I don’t know why they don’t just save themselves time, money and effort and agree now that 2011 will deliver the same result as in 2007. A sea of red, an oasis of yellow and a stonking return for the SNP on the list seats.
Where do I disagree with Jeff? Well, Airdrie and Shotts really. The reason Karen Whitefield nearly lost her seat in 2007 was because of the huge local Save Monklands A & E campaign. That issue was resolved when the SNP Government duly did and the burd expects normal service to be resumed in terms of the size of her majority this year. Alex Neil has been a competent Minister and deserved his promotion, he is a consummate politician but he cannot win elections. In fact, he was one of the few SNP candidates in 2007 to witness a Labour MSP returned with a higher majority than before. Nuff said. The SNP will not take this seat and Labour will hold it.
My head and ScotlandVotes tells me that I should also say that Labour will retake Falkirk West from Michael Matheson but I’m gritting my teeth and sticking with Jeff’s prediction. Though I fear I may be wrong….
Jeff calls it seven Labour constituencies to the SNP’s two, which has a bearing on his tally for the list seats, with the SNP taking four, Labour two and the Tories one. The Lib Dems, in freefall in the polls, will take none. I disagree slightly. I think the SNP will take its customary five seats, the Conservatives will take one and Labour will battle it out with the SSP for the last seat. Yes I know they are nowhere in the polls but if they are to make a comeback this is the kind of very left leaning heartland they need to do it in. The recession has not been kind to Lanarkshire and Falkirk; people are hurting here more than most and there is still an idealistic old Labour vote in these here parts. If Labour’s list strategy is to work, it needs to recoup any failure to retake constituencies and it will probably scrape a list seat as a result.
Jeff’s total? Nine for Labour (7 constituency, 2 list); six for the SNP (2 constituency, 4 list); Conservatives 1 (on the list); Lib Dems and Greens 0, which is a net loss for the Lib Dems. My prediction is that Labour will take nine (8 constituency, 1 list); six SNP (1 constituency, 5 list); one Conservative (on the list).
Oh, that’s the same total, though nuanced in its delivery. I did warn you that disagreeing with their more scientific approach would be hard this time round…