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.



JRB said...

The Winners – everyone who was elected. For, despite all their promises, they will now go their own sweet way, basking in their brief moment of glory before diving in to the Machiavellian machinations of local government politics.

The Losers – you and I, and the man in the street. For already, the majority of those elected have forgotten who it was that put them where they are. We will be brought out, dusted down and promised the earth once more. Just in time for the next election.

Cynical and disillusioned – you bet.

Highlight of the whole event – Professor Pongoo the p-p-penguin p-p-picked up more first p-p-preference votes than the LibDems.

Sums up the entire election for me; now, if only Professor Pongoo had be standing in my area.

Dioclese said...

I have believed for many years in the system of compulsory voting with a 'no suitable candidate' box on the ballot paper. Until there is a system for positively telling our leaders that we think they are rubbish, nothing will change.

In my view simply not voting just sends the message that you don't care what happens - in which case you forego your right to complain about it!

RMcGeddon said...

I don't agree. If no one turned up to vote then who would they put in charge ? Voting just encourages the status quo and legitimises the whole left/right charade. Cast Iron Dave's party polled less than 10% in the election last week yet he is in charge of the country. Over 90% of the UK population either failed to vote or picked someone from another party.
Plus of course we can already pick a 'none of the above' candidate by spoiling the ballot paper and writing the reason across the paper. They must be shown to all the candidates on request. Many of these spoiled papers have been mentioned on the news..Edinburgh trams protest etc actually make more of an impact than going into an electronic machine.
By law you must put your name on the electoral register. But there's no law forcing you to vote. Does this not tell you that the register legitimises them and they don't really care if you actually vote. As long as a few of us do vote then they're fine with that.

JRB said...

Please excuse the post script.

Having posted above, I went on to view today’s various news sites. Only to read that the SNP and Labour are prepared, and probably already in discussion, to forming coalitions in the 23 hung councils in Scotland.

So where does that leave the individual voters who either voted for a specific candidate or a specific party only to find, that despite having been successful, their councillor/party of choice will now be hamstrung, constrained and have to surrender their political ideals merely to meet the necessities of coalition.

Is this really democracy?

Apogee said...

Hi JRB,totally agree, but have we ever had any real democracy. We are allowed one vote in four or five years and are then expected to leave the big boys to get on with it.
That to my mind is not democracy.

Jo G said...

I'm not against coalition in principle JRB: for me it beats the way Labour and the SNP have, in the past, failed to work together simply because of their differences politically. Communities are made up of people who have voted differently, let's be honest, so if, at Council level, Parties can work together then I don't think that's a bad thing. It at least takes recognition of the fact that everyone didn't vote for a single Party. Plus maybe it is a more positive way of forcing Labour especially to work with their counterparts throughout Scotland for the good of each Council area.

On apathy I have run out of things to say about it or ways to deal with it.

I do think that we all have a responsibility within our communities, not just political Parties, and sadly in too many communities now that spirit is long gone. In the Glasgow area especially (I have commented on this elsewhere) most of the inhabitants would have been paying more attention to the outcome of the Gerbil Murder Trial in recent weeks than thinking politics. I do not know how ANY political Party could inspire communities like those. There will be people who are disillusioned, certainly, but mostly there will be the group I just described who basically don't give a toss. That worries me.

Anon said...

Where I live, only the Greens and SNP showed an interest in things that matter locally, like buses.

The Greens were particularly good on things like local hospitals.

The Sunday Herald referred to the apparent mediocrity of some of the SNP officials in Glasgow.

- Aangirfan

subrosa said...

I too am cynical and disillusioned JRB.

Nothing will change of course. Nick Clegg will continue with his nonsense policies and Cameron will continue to kow-tow to anyone who will shake his hand. Labour will jump on any bandwagon available because they don't have the ability to create one of their own.

I just hope someone did read what I wrote on my paper.

subrosa said...

My view too Dioclese. One party representative at the polling station door overheard me telling another I intended to spoil my paper and said 'why waste petrol to come and do that?' When I said it was my obligation to vote she tried intimidation looks, which backfired of course.

But I also agree with RM. We either have to have compulsory voting or ensure that nobody votes at all. The latter will never happen because there are those who have a self interest in voting.

subrosa said...

Jings JRB, I've been occupied elsewhere and haven't read about that as yet.

It's not democracy in my book.

subrosa said...

Apogee, the Swiss have a decent system of democracy. No?

subrosa said...

Jo, I'll have to think about coalitions between the SNP and Labour, but somehow I think the SNP will lose out in the end.

subrosa said...

Aangirfan, we don't have the Greens here and the SNP pay lip service to some serious issues. They always get voted in along with the Tory. Perhaps that's why the Greens don't put up a candidate.

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