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Friday, 13 November 2009

Glasgow North East by-election - the aftermath and analysis

So, finally the Labour Government have gained a seat in a parliamentary by-election in this Parliamentary term. Labour have finally turned the corner in campaigning terms in Scotland in my opinion.

Watching them in three consecutive by-elections in just over 12 months has been really interesting.

In Glasgow East Labour ran not only the wrong campaign, they took so long getting their campaign into gear it was quite obvious they were going to lose, plus the SNP pushed them onto the back foot and stole their thunder.

Then we moved to the Glenrothes by-election where Labour once again took a little time to warm up but then got into it and got into the groove and although the SNP were quite obviously on a high after Glasgow East they became arrogant.

Tavish Scott was right to highlight during the Glenrothes campaign that Alex Salmond as First Minister should be busy running the country not gallivanting around Fife in a by-election campaign.

The Glenrothes result was a catastrophic result for the SNP and they had Angus Robertson running around the media scrum at the count telling people they had won, with me and Graeme Littlejohn, our press officer telling everyone it was a Labour hold.

In fact the Labour Party were coming to us for clarification of their own victory, they weren't 100% sure. We were, we got the result from our box counts within 0.2%.

Even the infamous Michael Crick got it wrong, despite us telling him minutes before he went on air. Willie Rennie MP had great fun the following morning rubbing his nose in it.

And then there was Glasgow North East, Labour waited 144 days to fill the vacancy and maybe that was their strategy all along. As both Glenrothes and Glasgow North East were played as the long game, whereas Glasgow East was just three weeks.

Labour hit the ground running this time, third time lucky, local candidate, in fact the only one to vote in the by-election, although by postal vote, good local messages and rebuttals plus the added bonus of a not so good SNP candidate who made gaffes as the campaign hotted up.

On day one the media stated it was a two horse race between the SNP and Labour, and to be fair it was because the SNP didn't have the deceny to observe to protocol of not standing against The Speaker, while we do. The Conservatives also had to do well as the Government in waiting.

We didn't have the pressure on us despite us being the second Westminster Party in Scotland.

The media storm following the BNP appearance on Question Time definitely helped their vote, but the fact the newspapers gave them more column inches than the four mainstream parties at times, including the Daily Mail who dedicated two, yes two, front pages to the BNP.

No wonder they did so well.

Obviously I am disappointed by our result but I am also aware that when the media dictate the horses in the races, the remainder are pushed out.

I suspect from yesterdays line up of candidates there will only be two names back on the ballot paper at the General Election, Willie Bain and our own Eileen Baxendale.

Well done Eileen, you and the team did us proud.


Anonymous said...

Elieen Baxandale, you are joking right.

I mean don't get me wrong, as a councillor and well meaning lady I've got absolute respect for her but she's not candidate material.

I'd expect to see Kerr and the Conservative Candidate and Sheridan all back though probably not in Glasgow North East.

Word on the street is that the liberals are haemorrhaging support ot eh SNP all over the country.

subrosa said...

The SNP didn't run a good campaign and that's all there is to it. They really have to stop being 'decent' and drag up all they can as labour do.

I have to agree with Wardog. In my constituency the liberals don't even bother putting anyone on door duties for elections now.

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