Scottish Conservative MPs After the Next Election

Yes that’s plural. In all the fun of the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party vs The Labour Party (which does sound like a divorce decree nee The War of the Roses), it’s worthwhile considering who the main beneficiary will be at the upcoming General Election. On a UK level, it’s looking more and more likely that this will be portrayed as a ‘how many seats can Cameron’s Conservatives win?’ contest, and if (a) this will get them to a majority, and (b) how big that majority will be.

The scottish view of the party is going to be very interesting. I don’t yet think that the Tories are in any place well suited for a revival across the country. Political wounds specifically from The Poll Tax and The Miner’s Strike still occupy prominent places in the Scottish mind, especially in the central belt, and as the people who were deeply affected by those policies reach the age group where they are more likely to vote, the likelihood of them switching to a Conservative for a ‘protest’ vote is minimal.

In my mind, the SNP will pick up most of the protesting voters. But that doesn’t leave the Conservatives out for the count. The short answer, I think they’ll reach 20% of the votes and I think there are a handful of potential constituencies that are worth watching in the run up to polling day.

Dumfries and Galloway – (Labour majority 2,992)
If any inroads are made, even a whisper, then it will be in this seat. As far south geographically as possible, this is a straight fight against Labour.

Stirling – (Labour Majority 4,767)
Michael Forsythe’s old seat (and he can still cause a chill to run down our spines) is another straight fight against Labour, with the total Labour vote holding at around 15,000 in the last two elections. The depth of the collapse of Labour in the central belt will determine if this stays red or goes blue. A seat that also declares quite early on Election night, so a good indicator to fortunes.

Edinburgh South – (Labour majority 405 to the Liberals, 3897 to the Conservatives)
A pretty ugly fight in 2005, with dodgy bar graphs, claim and counter claim from the opposition parties eventually allowed Nigel Griffiths to sneak through the middle and win a wafer thin majority over the Liberal Democrats. I’ll be interested to see just how much effort is put into this seat by the respective campaigns.

Edinburgh North and Leith – Labour majority 2153 to the Liberals, 6628 to the Conservatives).
Adjoining Edinburgh South, this constituency presents the Liberal Democrats with a question – it’s 6th on their list of target seats, and the Conservative candidate is some distance back. But Edinburgh South is well within reach, albeit as part of a three way fight. A collapse on the Labour vote hands this to the Liberals, a Conservative resurgence turns it blue.

Perth and North Perthshire – (SNP majority 1521)
Here’;s a might interesting constituency, and one of the few direct SNP/Conservative match ups in the electoral landscape, with Labour out the fight. If the vote holds up here, it’s going to be a good ight for the Conservatives, but I think we’ll see a swing to the SNP and a hold.

Ochil and South Perthshire – (Labour majority 688 to the SNP, 4624 to the Conservatives).
This should be out of reach for the Conservatives, I’ve got it flagged up as a firewall. I very much doubt that this would become blue, but if it does then Labour would be looking at a very long time out of office. This is more likely to return to SNP hands, which is still pretty damaging to Labour both in Westminster and in the knock on effect in Holyrood.

Want me to put a number on it? They’ll win Dumfries, Stirling and one of Edinburgh South or Edinburgh North (depending on how the Liberals campaign in those Edinburgh seats). To take the Perthshire seats would mean a genuine liking of the Scottish Tories, as opposed to a Get Gordon Out vote, so I think that’s unlikely.

Final tally, three or four seats.

Added 10pm, May 12th:
Welcome to readers from Iain Dale’s Daley Dozen post (and thanks Iain, for the link). You can stay up to date with The Scottish Sketch by subscribing to the RSS feed or bookmaring the site (scottishsketch.wordpress.com). Thanks for your time, hope to see you around in the near future.

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9 Comments on “Scottish Conservative MPs After the Next Election”

  1. Daibhi Anseo Says:

    North to the Libs…not going to happen. They have no body heat on the ground for campaigning. Their big target has got to be South (and I`ll think they’ll it this time with Fred M), the Tories will be focussing their efforts in South West to unseat Al Darling (and I think they’ll do it.

    East will go to the SNP and George Kerevan. Well that’s my thoughts at this stage anyway.

  2. Ewan Spence Says:

    Good point on Edinburgh South West (checks figures, Labour 17476, Con 1234, LibDem 9252 at General Election 2005), and yet again it’s the 10p tax band issue that’s going to figure highly in that one – and again it’s going to be one of those close Con/LibDem seats against Labour that seems to figure highly in the Edinburgh seats.

    It’s going to come down to whether people can stomach voting Conservative in enough numbers, or if the Dodgy Lib Dem Bar Graphs are stronger when people reach the polling booths.


  3. The SNP have done themselves no favours in Perthshire over the recent windfarm decision. It could give people second thoughts. I think the LibDems will struggle to get visibility.

  4. Robbie Says:

    Keep an eye on East Dunbartonshire – it includes Bearsden & Milngavie and is historically very promiscuous (has been SNP, Tory, Labour and now Lib Dem in the last 25 years. But it only went Labour due to boundary changes when Bearsden & Milngavie were split into separate constituencies, and now they’re back together).

    A Tory gain in Glasgow’s suburbs? It’s a real possibility.


  5. Yes, you’re right. It is plural. Which is why MPs does not have an apostrophe.

    To write, ‘Scottish Conservative MP’s … ‘ is a possessive referring, ironically, to a single Scottish Conservative MP.

    (Thomas, yes you’re right on the apostrophe point. Now tweaked. – Ewan)

  6. yucca Says:

    just to report that the LibDems are already leafleting in Edinburgh South: they got hold of the electoral register and are sending ‘personal’ letters to all the new entries, including myself (my flat got four ‘personal’ letters from the libdem candidate yesterday);

    but I agree with you: if the swing at the next general election will be enough to give the Tories a stable majority, then Edinburgh South is the kind of place they’ll take… poor libdems, really…

  7. Tom Robinson Says:

    I remain to be convinced that the SNP are not serious runners even for Westminster in Stirling given their stunning Holyrood victory (I know the seats are not identical).

    This seat is not simply a Labour/Tory marginal

  8. Stuart Dickson Says:

    Ewan, I think that you make some good assessments, however I do think that you seriously underestimate the extent to which the ground has shifted away from Labour and the Lib Dems in Scottish politics. Here’s a few of my guesstimates (all wildly wrong on the night, I am sure… ):

    Argyll and Bute – 3-way marginal – Con, LD, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    Aberdeen North – SNP squeak it
    Aberdeen South – 4-way marginal – one of the tightest fights in the country – anyone’s guess!!!! (Begg should just hold on)
    Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock – 3-way marginal – Con, Lab, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    Ayrshire Central – 3-way marginal – Con, Lab, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    Ayrshire North and Arran – 3-way marginal – Con, Lab, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk – Blue gain
    Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Dumfries and Galloway – I agree with you
    Dunbartonshire East – narrow LD hold
    Dunbartonshire West – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Dundee West – SNP gain
    Dunfermline and West Fife – only chance of a Labour gain in the whole country! (fascinating contest)
    East Lothian – 3-way marginal – Con, Lab, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    Edinburgh East – narrow SNP gain (largely thanks to a quality candidate in George Kerevan)
    Edinburgh North and Leith – 4-way marginal – one of the tightest fights in the country – anyone’s guess!!!!
    Edinburgh South – Con gain, LD 2nd
    Edinburgh South West (Darling) – 3-way marginal – Con, Lab, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    Glasgow Central – narrow Labour hold
    Glasgow North – Lab/SNP marginal – SNP squeak it
    Glasgow North East – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Glasgow South – narrow Labour hold
    Glenrothes – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Gordon 3-way marginal – Con, LD, SNP – anyone’s guess!!
    East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Falkirk – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey – LD should just about hold on
    Inverclyde – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Des Browne) – SNP gain
    Lanark and Hamilton East – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Linlithgow and East Falkirk – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Livingston – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Midlothian – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Ochil and South Perthshire – SNP gain
    Paisley and Renfrewshire North – Lab/SNP marginal – anyone’s guess!!
    Perth and North Perthshire – SNP hold
    Renfrewshire East – 2-way marginal – Con squeak it
    Stirling – 3-way marginal – Con, Lab, SNP – anyone’s guess!!

  9. Ewan Spence Says:

    Stuart,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I’ll happily hold my head up and say that I;ve no idea just how much the suport for Lab and Lib-Dem has fallen. Certainly the 2007 Scottish Election is an indicator, but at the same time I’m still not convinced that the Scottish Conservatives will pick up the votes, I think they’ll be spread out around all the parties. A lot depends if any Scottish paper actually gets seriously behind the Tories, and what BBC Scotland will hand the SNP in terms of coverage.

    Yes, there’ll be more Blue in Scotland after the votes. How much is probably the more interesting question. Even more fascinating, if you see a collapse of the Lib Dems in Scotland, and a loss of the UK vote, then they could drop to 25-35 seats. If the SNP pick up 20 (Salmond’s guess) then have an SNP-DUP-Plyd-Tory coalition in Westminster… the fun will never end!


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