The Springburn Stramash: Glasgow NE By-Election Special

Hi folks! After almost six months of waiting, we’re close to finding out who will be the next MP for Glasgow North East, and needless to say, it’s been the subject of much online chatter. Particularly over at The Steamie, where candidates themselves have been trying their hand at bloggery – or not, if some of the usernames deployed are any indication!

Anyway. On that very subject, Duncan looks at how the blogosphere has been deployed in this By-Election, but wonders if it’ll have had that much impact.

On the other hand, Anne McLaughlin wonders what activists taking part in the ‘ground war’ must look like to the general public.

In terms of the campaign itself, it’s been flatter than James Kelly expected. And it’s been far too flat for Alex Porter, who believes that the constituency needs a fighter.

Meanwhile, Brian Taylor tries to make sense of what those who don’t declare their intentions to canvassers are thinking. Frankly, we can’t ever know this, as they won’t tell us.

Yousuf hails Sir Alex Ferguson’s endorsement for Willie Bain (he’s pwoud, vewy pwoud, as Jonathan Watson might say), but Chris Stephens recalls the time Bain was jeered at the Labour Party Conference.

Subrosa publishes the results of a series of questions she posed to John Smeaton – stealing a march on The Steamie – but Stuart Winton looks at whether or not the BNP could steal Smeato’s thunder.

Meanwhile, Anne McLaughlin wasn’t impressed by either Smeato or Mikey Hughes at the hustings she attended.

Schism_schasm appears backs the Green candidate, despite calling him “the most prematurely aged twenty four year old I’ve ever seen”. He should have seen me when I was 24…

Incidentally, schism_schasm has produced this series of caricatures of the candidates. They’re rather impressive, though I must admit to mistaking the drawing of Willie Bain for Ruth Davidson. I believe that says more about the two candidates in question than about my eyes or the drawings!

But mostly, this By-Election has seen all sorts of statistics bandied about regarding the state of the area. David Thomson offers pictorial evidence, while Brian Taylor crunches the numbers.

Montague Burton and Archbishop Cranmer join in the number-crunching, but still see a Labour victory as the most probable outcome.

On the Labour side, Yousuf and Michael are optimistic. In the SNP camp, Jeff is not overly optimistic, but Torcuil Crichton reckons that Gordon Brown is sufficiently optimistic to have booked a slot on the Today Programme for tomorrow morning.

That said, over at The Garden Lobby and The Big Dollop, the feeling is that some factors may well work in the SNP’s favour, and the result may be closer than many think.

On a similar note, Lallands Peat Worrier offers a rather poetic note to proceedings.

Meanwhile, there’s a potential stooshie on the cards regarding postal vote applications: Anseo is concerned at the figures, while Tom Harris doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

Then there’s the reporting of the result: John Ault would like to remind everyone that if Labour win, it’s not a ‘Labour hold’ but a ‘Labour gain from Speaker’. All those Tories who complained about Michael Martin’s approach to impartiality might take issue with that, but technically, he has a point. And on a similar note, James reminds us that this By-Election is a rare beast: a By-Election in which the Government can increase its majority by winning.

Incidentally, for those who speak French (or have access to a decent dictionary/translator), check out this tale by Pepette, who’s been gearing up for her chance to vote, with the rather unfortunate ending, which, if you check the fine print on your electoral registration form, will become quite clear.

Finally, it wouldn’t be an Election night without Jeff hosting a liveblog!

So that it for this By-Election Special. On Sunday, Stuart Winton has the unenviable task of sifting through the reaction to tonight’s result, as well as all the other matters that have got you to your keyboards over the week. If you want to send in a link for next week’s Roundup, you can use the twiddlywotsit on the right, or send us an e-mail to You can also follow us on Twitter: @ScottishRoundup. Bye-de-bye!


  1. Voter turnout, at 33.2%, was a record low for a Scottish by-election.

    A truly shocking statistic made even worse by the state of this particular constituency and the poverty of ambition that resides there. the lack of aspiration, an acceptance of their lot and the willingness to continue to vote for a party that has failed the area so miserably is an affront to those that have fought & died to give us these freedoms.

    The inability to imagine change, to envision real improvement and that this area can really improve has been shown to be completely missing from Glasgow North East and must surely be a matter of concern for all political parties and in particular the Labour Party who have represented these people for so long.

    Will anything change, I doubt it.

    It will take big ideas to change Springburn and no party offered that change during this campaign, no-one other than Tommy Sheridan offered an alternative vision to the failure of the last twenty five years and yet the voters flatly rejected that vision in favour for a campaign run negatively with no real policy content.

    NB It would be interesting to see the demographic of those that voted, Glasgow City Council reported over 6000 registered postal votes, which accounts for 30% of votes cast, surely some kind of record in there too.

  2. Equally chilling is the revelation that over 4000 extra voters have been added to the electoral register in the last month, accounting for 25% of those that voted.

  3. I did offer the questions to all candidates Will but only John Smeaton’s PR accepted.Then a few week’s later the Steamie had the same idea.

    It’s wonderful to know that I can rise to equality with such an esteemed oracle on occasion.

    Super to see all the blogs on one page. My idea for the next election is that somehow we in the Scottish blogosphere get together and issue a page similar to this on a daily basis. Most of you know I’m not a number-cruncher and leave that to others, but during this by-election I did have several emails from readers outside Scotland asking me where they could find number info. If we had a ‘daily election roundup’ (which we would all promote regularly) then I’m sure we would attract many more readers.

    Thanks for the mention re the John Smeaton post. I think I deserve it – had to copy type the whole thing because the spacing was all wrong when I did a cut and paste from the email!