Saturday, 1 May 2010

A Look @: Angus and Dundee

We are getting further North into Scotland now, into areas where the SNP tend to do well, due to a larger disconnect with the English. Dundee is one of Scotland's larger cities. Angus is the vast rural council directly North of it.




Swing Needed




Michael Weir




SNP Hold

Dundee East

Stewart Hosie




SNP Hold

Dundee West

James McGovern




LAB Hold

Angus council is SNP dominated in seats, but in terms of the executive is run by a broad anti-SNP coalition which features independents, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour councillors. In 2007 the SNP got 13 councillors for 38.3% of the vote, the Conservatives got 5 seats and 19.1% of the vote, the Lib Dems got 9.7% of the vote, but 3 councillors, Labour got 11.8% of the votes and 2 seats and 6 independents were elected. Angus constituency is a far closer affair, with the Conservatives needing a swing of only 2.1% to win the seat. The seat itself does not cover the entirety of the Angus council however, and a small part of the council near Dundee is split between the Dundee seats. Weir's expenses seem largely order (though questions were raised about his employing his wife) but his position as a prominent anti-nuclear campaigner (always a popular issue in rural Northern Scotland, which often gets chosen by the British government to site nuclear weapons and power stations due to its low population) will no doubt aid him here. The seat is also slightly symbolic for the SNP as it contains the site of the declaration of Scottish Independence in 1320. Conservative candidate Alberto Costa is fighting for Conservative target number 41. Cameron has come to visit, and footage is on Costa's website, and it also featured on William Hague's Scotland tour. Nonetheless, while this one will be close, by my feeling that this one will just remain SNP.

Dundee council area also has a large number of SNP members, 13 were elected in 2007 on 40% of the vote, but the council is controlled by a minority coalition of Labour and the Lib Dems who have 10 councillors on 29.4% and 2 councillors on 11.3% respectively. The Conservatives got 12.5% to elect 3 councillors and 1 independent was elected.

Dundee East is held by SNP MP Stewart Hosie, the SNP's deputy leader at Westminster, and the husband of the Scottish Executive's Health Minister. Dundee East was notionally Labour in 2005 but on a knife-edge and Hosie won it on a tiny 1.1% swing, defeating incumbent MP Iain Luke. Hosie made a bit of a mistake with his expenses and claimed some money for hotel costs due to his flat being flooded; he could have claimed the money on his insurance instead! Nonetheless he has repaid the money, and I don't think it will affect him too much. Labour candidate Katrina Murray is a prominent trade unionist, who has worked in Dundee for decades. She will have to fight hard to swim against the anti-Labour national tide however. Counting against Hosie is Shiona Baird, a former Green MSP, who is standing in the constituency. The Scottish Greens did not stand a candidate here in 2005. While I doubt Baird will keep her deposit she is more likely to act as a spoiler on Hosie than on Murray. Both have a chance here, but while I would not be surprised to see this as a shock Labour gain on election night I think chances remain with the SNP. SNP hold.

Dundee West is SNP target seat number 2, and the loosely equivalent Scottish Parliament seat was won by the SNP in 2007. The current MP is Jim McGovern, who was a parliamentary private secretary until he resigned due to his disagreement with the government's policy on post office privatisation, which will count in his favour. McGovern's expenses seem fine. His primary opponent is Jim Barrie of the SNP, a local councillor. The equivalent Scottish Parliamentary seat was won healthily by the SNP in 2007 on a 6.1% swing. The conventional wisdom is that it will be incredibly close but that the SNP will take this seat, however my feeling is that given the absence of an extremely prominent SNP candidate or major local issues and the state of the current national race that Labour will just hold this one. Lab Hold.

1 comment:

  1. Labour Candidate called for the introduction of Congestion Charges in Scottish Cities at the hustings last night. Given the comparison to the SNP removing tolls from the Tay Bridge this is likely to be the nail in his coffin.