New MP born after long Labour

Labour’s decision to delay the date of the Glasgow North East by-election seemed to pay dividends in view of the party’s widely trailed victory, but the winning margin, the SNP’s failure to make inroads and the jostling of the other parties for the minor places still makes for an interesting post-vote analysis from Scottish bloggers. The Roundup special below organises the various sources roughly along party lines.

Naturally the Labour MacBlogosphere has been sounding a triumphant/triumphalist note following their candidate’s overwhelming victory. Possibly first off the blocks was Yousuf, who points out that Willie Bain’s success occurred during a recession and at the end of a third Labour term at Westminster. Alex Salmond’s boast that the SNP could win 20 seats at next year’s general election is ridiculed by the Grumpy Spindoctor, who concludes: “The Salmond magic touch has lost its lustre somewhat.”

The Grumpy SD also asks why Alex Salmond hasn’t been around to account for the SNP defeat and questions why the party didn’t learn lessons from their reverse in Glenrothes.

Tom Harris rather obtusely compares Labour’s by-election record with the Tories’ while in office before 1997 and concludes that “Cameron has most definitely not sealed the deal”.

Away from the immediate aftermath of the declaration Yousuf highlights emerging divisions in the SNP over the decision to cancel GARL, and also outlines its impact on the by-election and future ramifications.

The Nationalist bloggers are understandably downcast and some have clearly decided that ‘no comment’ is the best strategy, but there’s still plenty reflection and suggestions for future strategy, not to mention predictable opprobrium aimed at Labour.

SNP Tactical Voting’s Jeff claims that Labour’s “dastardly” tactics and message utilised in the campaign won’t play well in other parts of the country. By the same token, the inimitable Lallands Peat Worrier – who headlines simply with “Gubbed” – posits (I think!) that Labour’s parochial neo-“Clydesideism” emphasis may be apt to “depress their broader electoral fortunes”.

Jim at No More Diaspora opines that the SNP’s candidate didn’t resonate with voters, and those who could be bothered voting just “went with the devil they know”. As a reformed Labourite Christian Jones dissects his former party’s approach, and uncompromisingly laments its lack of a positive message and lambasts the “level of downright lies and nasty personal attacks” which was a “new and rather crude development” He further claims that the SNP needs a “treasured local stalwart”, which would be preferable to a “bright young thing”. A more magnanimous Moridura takes solace from his view that Willie Bain seems more “old” than “new” Labour, and emphasises both the critical nature of candidate selection in view of the intense scrutiny during a campaign and the importance of one or two core issues that will be subject to “spin and distortion”.

North to Leith confines himself to expressing the irony of relief at the Tories coming third (thus ahead of the BNP) and Indygal conveys a similar sentiment. But the MSP also slates Jim Murphy for suggesting the SNP got “too big for its boots”, conflating the Scottish Secretary’s view of her party with the “people of Scotland” and the country generally.

As for the edgier pro-independence blogs, Wardog laments the “poverty of ambition” and “lack of aspiration” in the constituency. An indignant Omar at Advanced Media Watch points out that the prime minister was barely mentioned by Labour during the campaign but a victorious Willie Bain had declared his triumph an endorsement for Gordon Brown. Key Bored Warrior advises Alex Salmond to tone down his act but paradoxically advocates a course of action unlikely to be adopted by SNP strategists, at least in the literal sense: “The SNP need to get down in the sewer with Labour and start grabbing them by the bollocks and squeezing.”

For the Lib Dems, Caron puts her party’s poor performance down to a lack of financial resources while attributing the overall result to the SNP’s “shocking” performance rather than any Labour advance. Andrew Reeves compares the Glasgow East, Glenrothes and this week’s by-elections, and congratulates the Lib Dems much-criticised candidate Eileen Baxendale. John Ault says Labour have learned lessons from previous by-election defeats and thinks this presages a long general election campaign.

Tory Bear thinks Labour’s reaction to their victory is overdone in view of the ultra-safe nature of the seat, the low turnout and the “negative kitchen sink” campaigning thrown at David Kerr.

In the less partisan reaches of the MacBlogosphere Alan at Aye We Can claims Willie Bain is a “cut above the average Scottish MP”. James Kelly thinks Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time provided the BNP with a by-election fillip, but yours truly suggests that if UKIP had stood – as they did in May’s European elections, when they outpolled both the BNP and Tories – then this could have split the right wing vote and propelled Tommy Sheridan into third place.

On a lighter note Polaris at Wholly Rude suggests a secret plan to reverse the SNP’s fortunes in Glasgow – splitting off “TraitorLand” from the rest of Scotland and towing it into the Atlantic, as part of a strategy culminating in “Bagpipes, Whiskey, Tartan Dolls and Haggis for every patriot for generations tae come”.

As for the MSM blogs, at The Steamie David Maddox points out that although the SNP only secured 17.6% of the vote in 2005 they are now consistently showing around double that in opinion polls, and are thus likely to significantly increase their representation at Westminster from 6 seats, although 20 seems unlikely. And the Nationalists’ “dream” of 20 MPs is suggested by Alex Massie to mean that while once a dozen or so seats would be regarded a great success, “now, thanks to the SNP’s over-inflated rhetoric and hubris, it will look like failure”.

Brian Taylor underlines the “oppositional” nature of Labour’s campaign, which paradoxically concentrated on the record of the SNP administration at Holyrood in a Westminster contest, and also alludes to a Glasgow v Edinburgh dimension. And he doubts the SNP’s claim of a dearth of “aspirational” voters as distinguishing Glasgow NE from last year’s Glasgow East contest.

Well that’s it folks, and since the next Roundup election special will probably be the big one, I nominate, ahem, someone else!

If you want to send in a link for next week’s Roundup, you can use the thingy on the right, or send us an e-mail to You can also follow us on Twitter: @ScottishRoundup.


  1. Great round up and thanks for the mention Stuart.

    “As for the edgier pro-independence blogs” ” An indignant Omar ”

    lol, And here was me thinking I was very non partisan and kept my cool when blogging, hee hee !! 🙂

  2. Thanks for leaving the comment, Omar. Thought I’d wait until the flood ended before I replied; cuts down the workload!!

    Never sure if a lack of comments is a good or bad thing, but since I tried to play a pretty straight bat I don’t suppose my turn in the hot seat was likely to get many people’s dander up.

    And indeed I did think you were very non-partisan, but I’ve recently realised that I’ve misjudged you ;0)