Saturday, 1 May 2010

A Look @: Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire is divided into two areas, the city of Aberdeen proper, and the rest of Aberdeenshire. The Lib Dems are strong in both the city and rural region, but Labour are strong in the city, and the SNP and Tories are stronger in the rural areas. Aberdeen City is split between Aberdeen North and South, whereas Banff and Buchan and West Aberdeenshire are both in Aberdeenshire council area. Gordon is split between the two. Aberdeen City is governed by a Lib Dem-SNP coalition. In 2007 the Lib Dems won 15 councillors on 26.9% of the vote, whereas the SNP won 12 on 29.5%, Labour gained 10 on 24.6% and the Conservatives received 5 on 14.1%. In Aberdeenshire however a Lib Dem-Conservative coalition governs with the Lib Dems receiving 24 seats on 25.2% of the vote, and the Conservatives winning 14 seats on 20.8%. The SNP were somewhat victim to the whims of the new Single Transferable Vote system, getting only 22 seats for their 34.5% of the vote, and Labour got 0 seats on 5.4%. Eight independents were also elected.




Swing Needed



Aberdeen North

Frank Doran




LAB Hold

Aberdeen South

Anne Begg




LD Gain

Banff and Buchan

Alex Salmond




SNP Hold


Malcolm Bruce




LD Hold

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

Robert Smith




LD Hold

Aberdeen North is held by Frank Doran. The comparable Scottish Parliament seat is held by the SNP, and the 9.3% swing the Lib Dems need may appear to put the seat in reach for them. However the Liberal Democrat surge has not been so apparent in Scotland, in that the Lib Dems were polling very badly in Scotland before the surge and now most polls show them not much higher than in 2005 (where a combination of the Iraq War and a Scottish leader conspired to boost them very high North of the border). My feeling is that Lib Dem candidate Steve Delaney, a local councillor, will have to work above and beyond to gain this seat for the Liberal Democrats. Labour hold.

Aberdeen South is held by Anne Begg, notable for being the only wheelchair using MP. In 2005 she was probably saved only by virtue of the fact that she was a rebel on the Iraq War. Anne is prominent on local issues, fighting the Lib Dem/SNP led Aberdeen City council on budget cuts and school closures. This will count well for her, and negatively for her opponents. Begg had no issues with her expenses and published her details before she was ordered to. Unfortunately for her she lives in Liberal Democrat target number 11, and Lib Dem candidate John Sleigh, a local councillor. Working in his favour is the fact that Nicol Stephen, former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and the former Deputy First Minister of Scotland, has his Scottish Parliament constituency in Aberdeen South. I think this one will be close yet again, however I think the Liberal Democrats will just take this one.

Banff and Buchan is the seat of Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party. Salmond has held the constituency since 1987, but is stepping down to concentrate on his duties as First Minister of Scotland. While Salmond's ever-increasing large majority is probably largely due to a high personal vote I think that the SNP are fully locked into this seat at this point, and that Eilidh Whiteford, the SNP candidate, is bound to be elected successfully. SNP Hold.

Gordon has been held by the Liberal Democrat Malcolm Bruce since 1983 when he was elected on a meagre majority of just 850. Normally a seat with a majority of 11,000 would not generate much chatter, but since 2007 the Gordon Scottish Parliament constituency has been held by Alex Salmond. Much discussion surrounds whether the SNP can come from fourth and secure the 14.5% swing they need to win this seat. If they do it will be one of the shocks of the campaign and a month ago, when the Lib Dems were polling dismalling in Scotland and the SNP were doing fairly well (though losing more of the vote by the poll), I would have probably said yes, but the tides have turned and the latest polls show the Lib Dems second only to Labour. The 2007 Scottish Parliament election and the 2010 UK general election are very different affairs anyway. Lib Dem hold.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine is held by Sir Robert Smith, 3rd Baronet, a true Aristocrat. Smith's grandfather was a Tory MP for the same seat in the 1930s. Robert Smith can proudly claim that his expenses were the cheapest in North-East Scotland. His Conservative opponent is Alex Johnstone, a MSP (elected on a proportional seat) and currently the Scottish Conservative's Chief Whip, and Shadow Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change minister at Holyrood. Nonetheless, considering Smith's clean expenses record and the performance of the Conservatives and Lib Dems in Scotland I suspect he will be going back to Holyrood quite quickly once the campaign is up. Lib Dem Hold.


  1. The West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine former MP, Sir Robert Smith, has been warned the last two years that the goalposts regarding MP's shares portfolios will be moved. While the third baronet Crowmalie has not broken any rules, he has been asked if it was morally right to own shares in firms operating in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, war-torn Afghanistan and in one of the world's poorest countries, Sierra Leone.
    I think Sir Robert Smith, as a matter of conscience and frankly political good judgment, should have looked again at his investment portfolio instead of ignoring the public outcry.

  2. I had not come across, that, that is very interesting, and it will be interesting to see what effect that has on election day.