Saturday, 1 May 2010

A Look @: Fife

Had history gone different Fife would be home to two leaders of British politics. Both Gordon Brown and former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell have their seats here. In 2007 it looked like we may have been headed towards a snap election, but the moment it was announced that we weren't the Lib Dems sacked their unfortunate leader in favour of a certain Mr. Clegg. Making Fife even more unique is the other two seats, both home to by-elections in the last five years. Fife council is mostly split three ways. In 2007 Labour got 24 seats on 28.7% of the vote, the SNP got 23 seats on 27.8%, the Lib Dems got 21 seats on 22.4% and the the Conservatives got 10.6% of the vote and 5 councillors, the same number as Independents. A coalition between the SNP and Lib Dems runs the council.




Swing Needed



Dunfermline and West Fife

Willie Rennie*




LD 'Gain'


Lindsay Roy*




LAB Hold

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath

Gordon Brown




LAB Hold

North East Fife

Menzies 'Ming' Campbell




LD Hold

*Both Dunfermline and West Fife and Glenrothes have had by-elections since 2005. Willie Rennie took the Labour held seat of Dunfermline and West Fife in the 2006 by-election, whereas Lindsay Roy held Glenrothes for Labour in 2008.

Dunfermline and West Fife was won by Willie Rennie in the 2006 by-election following the death of Labour MP Rachel Squire. Rennie achieved a swing of 16.2% to turn the seat Liberal Democrat. At the time the Liberal Democrats were faltering, having just lost their leader, Charles Kennedy, over the revelations regarding his alcoholism, and Labour was in the midst of preparing for the long-drawn out departure of Tony Blair. Gordon Brown was very prominent in the by-election campaign (in fact he lives in the constituency) and the loss of the seat was seen as a personal blow to his credibility. Meanwhile after the trouble the Lib Dems had found themselves in after the 2005 election Ming Campbell, who at that point was Acting Leader, seemed to be just the thing to get the party back on track. Willie Rennie is a 'born and bred Fifer' and his local credentials certainly aid him here. However he runs a certain risk in terms of his expenses, as he is accused of using government money to pay for party campaigning by the Labour Party. Nonetheless if their internet presence is anything to go by, Labour may well have given up on retaking the seat, and the reputation of Lib Dems for being hard to budge when they are incumbents may be in operation here. LD 'Gain'.

Glenrothes held its by-election in 2008. With Labour polling dismally and in the wake of a succession of by-election defeats the SNP fought hard for the seat. Reports in the Financial Times indicated that Labour secretly expected to lose the seat. In the end while the SNP did well (and the anti-Labour vote homogenised behind them, the Conservatives won 3.8% and the Lib Dems won 2% of the vote) Lindsay Roy actually managed to increase Labour's vote by 3.2%. Roy has no real problems RE: expenses or anything else, and if he can win a by-election in the conditions he did then in a national election this seat should be a cake-walk. Labour hold.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath is held Gordon Brown, who is apparently quite high up in the Labour Party. Party leader's seats are safe as houses, and Brown's is no exception. Anyone calling this anything other than a Labour hold needs their head examined.

North East Fife is held by former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, or 'Ming' to everyone else. A former Olympic runner, Campbell was prominent within the Scottish Liberals from the 1970s onwards, though it wasn't until 1987 that he won this seat, on his second attempt. Campbell was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats following the revelations of Charles Kennedy's alcoholism. Campbell's leadership took the Lib Dems to a low of 13% in the polls, as he was criticised for his age and inconsistent performances at PMQs. Nonetheless the seat is pretty much as safe as it gets for the Liberal Democrats, and with the Lib Dem surge, this is a certain Lib Dem hold in my eyes.


  1. You are reporting an allegation by a political opponent as fact in the Dunfermline and West Fife story. The Times story is clear that this is an allegation that has been made by Labour.

  2. I will edit the article appropriately.

  3. All I can say is thank god,that I didnt bet based on what was written here,I bet on Docherty and won enough to buy a v nice bottle of Glenrothes single malt,next year my moneys going on John Park to take the Scottish parliament seat from Jim Tolson.