Monday, 7 May 2012
Election 2012 - The Winners And Losers
It's not my intention to analyse the election results because others have undertaken the task much more efficiently. The Burd eloquently explains her thoughts with particular reference to Glasgow and Edinburgh, while the Peat Worrier has the unenviable task of in-depth analysis of the Glasgow results.
The SNP took 502,201 first preference votes giving the party 32.32% of the vote and putting them ahead of Labour which polled 31.39%. Although the Libdems lost 80 of their 151 councillors on polling day the party's actual share of the vote fell by only 6.59% to 102,300. The Tories, who lost 16 seats, saw their share drop 2.26% to 206,856 votes. The overall turnout was about 38%, slightly higher than expected but still the lowest local election turnout in decades.
So who won? Mathematically the SNP did because they ended up with 424 councillors, compared with 394 councillors for Labour, which polled 487,884 votes. The numbers don't necessarily ensure majorities in councils as has been proven in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Who lost apart from the Libdems and Tories? The SNP did. Far too much emphasis about 'taking over Glasgow' and an appalling Party Political Broadcast video - shown 5 times on the various channels - didn't bode well. Much as I respect the SNP's Allison Hunter she is a superb strategist but she isn't comfortable in a prominent media role. Surely they have someone who was experienced enough in media and PR to talk on behalf of the Glasgow SNP group? Labour took up the mantle of underdog and used it as effectively as they have in the past.
The above issues were compounded by the BBC's election results which gave the viewer the impression that Labour had outwitted the SNP in terms of councillors gain. SNP supporters were, justifiably, angry when labour seats, which were very obviously holds, were reported as gains. They deselected several councillors a couple of months ago and replaced them with their preferred candidates. When the preferred candidate won that was classed as a win for Labour. Questionable reasoning to say the least.
However, regardless of the size of protest to the BBC the harm has already been done. People only listen to the results and after the first 24 hours they lose interest, so the BBC's biased reporting has produced the result they wanted - Labour were the winners in Scotland. The excellent results for the SNP in this part of the country were barely mentioned as all eyes and ears were focused upon Glasgow and Edinburgh.
I'm a believer in positivity and so is Alex Salmond. Unfortunately, on this occasion, his style of positivity was produced in a slightly pompous manner, particularly with regard to Glasgow, and some voters may have found this offensive.
The next time voters go to the polls will be for the independence referendum. The SNP have much work to do beforehand to ensure their message is clear and detailed. The Burd mentioned in her post that Glasgow and Edinburgh's manifestos were dreadful while Labour had made efforts to explain their promises. Those supporting independence have an uphill struggle against the unionists in the coming couple of years and honest information and courtesy should be uppermost in their actions.
The SNP, thanks to the diligence of Allison Hunter for many years, have acquired the reputation for being a slick, modern, election machine. It's no secret Labour have been employing similar tactics since their Holyrood defeat last year and that also appears to have contributed to their reasonable success.
Between now and 2014 supporters of independence have to 'keep ahead of the game' and equipped with cool heads and a generous dose of patience, it can be achieved.
Nobody says it will be easy.