The Devo Files: SNP Class of 2010

Respect Our REgiments2

These six helped take us to where we are, but they’re not done yet. Let’s make sure they’re with us for the adventures to come.

 

In all the excitement about the polls and the news that the SNP membership has passed the 100,000 mark with only a few weeks to go, sometimes it’s all too easy to forget that the SNP already has a remarkable team in Westminster. Since 2010, Angus Robertson, Stewart Hosie, Michael Weir, Pete Wishart, Angus MacNeil, and Eilidh Whiteford have braved the den of inequity that is Westminster, where they could expect nothing but scorn, ridicule and outright hatred from the vast majority of their colleagues – not to mention explicit rejection of their motions by New Labour MPs as a matter of principle.

In tribute to the fine work of these MPs, I’m going to offer a quick run-down of their chances, and links to contact and support them.

Stewart Hosie, Dundee East

StewartHosie

I was tremendously impressed by Mr Hosie. I saw him at the hustings in Port Glasgow, and I knew that whoever ended up winning, they would do us all proud.

 

Devolution Record
Public Whip record: 83.9%
Voted for a second reading of the Scotland Bill
Voted for requiring Scottish ministers to order officers to start counting within four hours of polls closing
Voted for devolving regulation of air weapons
Voted for keeping insolvency powers with the Scottish parliament
Voted for keeping responsibility for regulating health officials at the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving tax powers for quarrying and mining
Voted for code of conduct for Scottish ministers in relation to the treasury and borrowing powers
Voted for devolving the Scottish elements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Voted for devolving responsibility for railways that start and finish in Scotland
Voted for devolving elements of the Crown Estate and accountability of the Crown Estate to the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving time powers, time zones, and British Summer Time
Voted against devolving powers over food content and labelling
Voted for allowing the Scottish government to tax companies’ profits
Voted for devolving the regulation of shale gas in Scotland

In stark contrast to New Labour fortress Dundee West, Dundee East has been gold before: after coming in second in the 1973 by-election, Gordon Wilson took the seat in 1974 and held it for the next three elections. In 1987, John McAllion took it for Labour, who held it until the 1997 New Labour con. It wasn’t until 2005 that the SNP’s Stewart Hosie painted Dundee East gold again.

General Election 2001: Dundee East
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Iain Luke 14,635 45.2 −5.9
SNP Stewart Hosie 10,169 31.4 +4.9
Conservative Alan Donnelly 3,900 12.0 −3.7
Liberal Democrat Raymond Lawrie 2,784 8.6 +4.5
Scottish Socialist Harvey Duke 879 2.7 +1.1
Majority 4,466 13.8
Turnout 32,367 57.3 −12.0
Labour hold Swing
General Election 2005: Dundee East
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Stewart Hosie 14,708 37.2 +1.1
Labour Iain Luke 14,325 36.2 −1.2
Conservative Chris Bustin 5,061 12.8 −2.5
Liberal Democrat Clive Sneddon 4,498 11.4 +2.7
Scottish Socialist Harvey Duke 537 1.4 −1.2
UKIP Donald Low 292 0.7 N/A
Independent David Allison 119 0.3 N/A
Majority 383 1.0
Turnout 39,540 62.4 +3.3
SNP gain from Labour Swing +1.1
General Election 2010: Dundee East
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Stewart Hosie 15,350 37.8 +0.6
Labour Katrina Murray 13,529 33.3 −2.9
Conservative Chris Bustin 6,177 15.2 +2.4
Liberal Democrat Clive Sneddon 4,285 10.6 −0.8
Scottish Green Shiona Baird 542 1.3 +1.3
UKIP Mike Arthur 431 1.1 +0.4
Scottish Socialist Angela Gorrie 254 0.6 −0.7
Majority 1,821 4.5
Turnout 40,568 62.0 −0.5
SNP hold Swing +1.7

Stewart Hosie already made a dent even in his first try, having reduced New Labour’s vote share by almost 6 points:

2001: 14,635 (45.2%, -5.9, 13.8% majority)
2005: 14,325 (36.2%, -1.2)
2010: 13,529 (33.3%, -2.9)

Meanwhile, he pushed his 5 point gains in 2001 into first place in 2005, and gained almost two thousand more voters in 2010:

2001: 10,169 (31.4%, +4.9)
2005: 13,708 (37.2%, +1.1, 1% majority)
2010: 15,350 (37.8%, +0.6, 4.5% majority)

The Scottish Greens’ Helen Grayshan will also be contesting the seat, as will the TUSC’s Jim Barlow. On the Unionist side are New Labour’s Lesley Brennan, the Conservatives’ Bill Bowman, and the NeoLib’s Craig Duncan. While the Greens haven’t done particularly brilliantly here in the past and may not jeopardise the SNP vote share considerably, the SNP’s majority is slim – only 4.5%. It wouldn’t take much for a unionist tactical vote among the red, blue and yellow Tories to put Lesley Brennan in first place. Nonetheless, the SNP are still a tough fight: Mr Hosie’s star has risen considerably since his election as depute leader of the SNP in the same year Nicola Sturgeon looks to rock the foundations of Westminster. If the Tory voters stick to their guns rather than tactically vote New Labour, and the lost Liberal vote gravitated to the SNP or any of the left-wing parties rather than New Labour, then Dundee East’s SNP may get Stewart Hosie back into Westminster – and with a bit of luck, maybe Chris Law will join him and turn all Dundee gold!

You can contact Mr Hosie through his Twitter, Facebook, or website.

Michael Weir, Angus

MikeWeir

Mike Weir is a determined and relentless advocate for alternative sources of energy to nuclear power, affordable energy, and fought against the privatisation of Royal Mail.

Devolution Record
Public Whip record: 83.5%
Voted for a second reading of the Scotland Bill
Did not vote on requiring Scottish ministers to order officers to start counting within four hours of polls closing
Voted for devolving regulation of air weapons
Voted for keeping insolvency powers with the Scottish parliament
Voted for keeping responsibility for regulating health officials at the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving tax powers for quarrying and mining
Voted for code of conduct for Scottish ministers in relation to the treasury and borrowing powers
Voted for devolving the Scottish elements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Voted for devolving responsibility for railways that start and finish in Scotland
Voted for devolving elements of the Crown Estate and accountability of the Crown Estate to the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving time powers, time zones, and British Summer Time
Voted against devolving powers over food content and labelling
Voted for allowing the Scottish government to tax companies’ profits
Voted for devolving the regulation of shale gas in Scotland

Angus is one of the few modern UK parliament constituencies which has been SNP since its establishment: although they’ve faced stiff competition from the Tories in the last few elections, every election since 1997 has returned an SNP MP.

General Election 1997: Angus[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Andrew Welsh 20,792 48.3 N/A
Conservative Sebastian A.A. Leslie 10,603 24.6 N/A
Labour Miss Catherine Dalling Taylor 6,733 15.6 N/A
Liberal Democrat Dr. Dick B. Speirs 4,065 9.4 N/A
Referendum Party Brian A. Taylor 883 2.0 N/A
Majority 10,189 23.7 N/A
Turnout 43,076 72.1 N/A
SNP win (new seat)
General Election 2001: Angus[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Mike Weir 12,347 35.3 −13.0
Conservative Marcus Ashley William Booth 8,736 25.0 +0.4
Labour Ian Andrew McFatridge 8,183 23.4 +7.8
Liberal Democrat Peter Joseph Nield 5,015 14.3 +4.9
Scottish Socialist Bruce Wallace 732 2.1 N/A
Majority 3,611 10.3
Turnout 35,013 59.3 −12.8
SNP hold Swing
General Election 2005: Angus[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Mike Weir 12,840 33.7 −1.6
Conservative Sandy Bushby 11,239 29.5 +4.5
Labour Douglas Bradley 6,850 18.0 −5.4
Liberal Democrat Rev Scott Rennie 6,660 17.5 +3.2
Scottish Socialist Alan Manley 556 1.5 −0.4
Majority 1,601 4.2
Turnout 38,145 60.5 +6.4
SNP hold Swing +1.3
General Election 2010: Angus[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Mike Weir 15,020 39.6 +5.9
Conservative Alberto Costa 11,738 30.9 +1.5
Labour Kevin Hutchens 6,535 17.2 −0.7
Liberal Democrat Sanjay Samani 4,090 10.8 −6.7
UKIP Martin Gray 577 1.5 +1.5
Majority 3,282 8.6
Turnout 37,960 60.4 −0.1
SNP hold Swing +2.2

Mike Weir was off to a bit of a sober start in 2001 – after Andrew Walsh’s spectacular 20,000+ vote in a 72% turnout, Mr Weir lost 8,000 in the 59% turnout of 2001. Crucially, however, Mr Weir’ vote count has risen since then, and 2010 improved his vote share and majority too:

1997: 20,792 (48.3%, 23.7% majority)
2001: 12,347 (35.3%, -13, 10.3% majority)
2005: 12,840 (33.7%, -1.6, 4.2% majority)
2010: 15,020 (39.6%, +5.9, 8.6% majority)

Angus’ Conservatives also lost a significant amount of votes in 2001, even if their vote share went up:

1997: 10,603 (24.6%)
2001: 8,736 (25%, +0.4)
2005: 11,239 (29.5%, +4.5)
2010: 11,738 (30.9%, +1.5)

The Scottish Greens have put forward David Mumford, the first time they’ve ever contested the constituency. However, the Unionist vote is even more split: the Conservatives’ Derek Wann, New Labour’s Gerard McMahon, the NeoLib’s Sanjay Samani, and UKIP’s Calum Walker are also contesting. It all rests on what became of the Liberal vote – it seems somewhat questionable that most of the 4,000 that voted in 2010 will return – and whether New Labour voters could be convinced to vote for the Tories just to keep the SNP out.

You can contact Mr Weir through his Twitter, Facebook, or website.

Pete Wishart, Perth & North Perthshire

pete_perth_bridge_cropped

Pete Wishart has battled to get minority parties greater rights and representation, advocates the abolition of the House of Lords, and – obviously – flew the Yes flag high.

Devolution Record
Public Whip record: 83.9%
Voted for a second reading of the Scotland Bill
Voted for requiring Scottish ministers to order officers to start counting within four hours of polls closing
Voted for devolving regulation of air weapons
Voted for keeping insolvency powers with the Scottish parliament
Voted for keeping responsibility for regulating health officials at the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving tax powers for quarrying and mining
Voted for code of conduct for Scottish ministers in relation to the treasury and borrowing powers
Voted for devolving the Scottish elements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Voted for devolving responsibility for railways that start and finish in Scotland
Voted for devolving elements of the Crown Estate and accountability of the Crown Estate to the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving time powers, time zones, and British Summer Time
Voted against devolving powers over food content and labelling
Voted for allowing the Scottish government to tax companies’ profits
Voted for devolving the regulation of shale gas in Scotland

Perth & North Perthshire was originally part of North Tayside, which Pete Wishart won in 2001 and held until its abolition in 2005, which I’ve included here for fun. I’ve also put in John Swinney’s 1997 victory just to compare historical SNP support.

General Election 1997: North Tayside
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP John Swinney 20,447 44.8 +6.1
Conservative Bill Walker 16,287 32.5 −10.6
Labour Ian A. McFatridge 5,141 11.3 +4.3
Liberal Democrat Peter Frederick Regent 3,716 8.2 +0.3
Majority 4,160 9.1
Turnout 45,951 74.3 −3.3
SNP gain from Conservative Swing +8.4
General Election 2001: North Tayside
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Pete Wishart 15,441 40.1 −4.8
Conservative Murdo Fraser 12,158 31.6 −4.2
Labour Thomas Docherty 5,715 14.8 +3.6
Liberal Democrat Miss Julia Margaret Robertson 4,365 11.3 +3.2
Scottish Socialist Mrs. Rosie Adams 620 1.6 N/A
Independent Miss Tina MacDonald 220 0.6 N/A
Majority 3,283 8.5
Turnout 38,519 62.5 −11.8
SNP hold Swing
General Election 2005: Perth and North Perthshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Pete Wishart 15,469 33.7 n/a
Conservative Douglas Taylor 13,948 30.4 n/a
Labour Doug Maughan 8,601 18.7 n/a
Liberal Democrats Gordon Campbell 7,403 16.1 n/a
Scottish Socialist Philip Stott 509 1.1 n/a
Majority 1,521 3.3
Turnout 45,930 64.8 n/a
General Election 2010: Perth and North Perthshire[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Pete Wishart 19,118 39.6 +5.9
Conservative Peter Lyburn 14,739 30.5 +0.2
Labour Jamie Glackin 7,923 16.4 −2.3
Liberal Democrats Peter Barrett 5,954 12.3 −3.8
Trust Douglas Taylor 534 1.1 N/A
Majority 4,379 9.1 +5.8
Turnout 48,268 66.9 +3.0
SNP hold Swing +2.9

John Swinney’s epic victory can possibly be attributed to the significantly high turnout for the 1997 election (or possibly the fact he’s a wizard): by 2001, the reality of New Labour set in, and voter apathy threatened to affect all the parties until 2010:

1997: 20,447 (44.8%, +6.1, 9.1% majority)
2001: 15,441 (40.1%, -4.8, 8.5% majority)
2005: 15,469 (33.7%, 3.3% majority)
2010: 19,118 (39.6%, +5.9, 9.1% majority)

The Conservatives have been the SNP’s main opposition: they edged closer to the SNP in the 2001 and 2005 elections, but couldn’t match the big jump the SNP got in 2010:

1997: 16,287 (11.3%, -10.6)
2001: 12,158 (31.6%, -4.2)
2005: 13,948 (30.4%)
2010: 14,739 (30.5%, +0.2)

The 2015 election sees the Scottish Greens again contesting a constituency for the first time with Louise Ramsay; they are joined by the Conservatives’ Alexander Stewart, New Labour’s Scott Nicholson, and the NeoLib’s Peter Barrett. Given the predicted collapse in the Liberal vote and the likely defection of a lot of Labour voters, the Conservatives will have to fight hard if they’re to have any hope of usurping Mr Wishart. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

You can contact Mr Wishart through his Twitter, Facebook, blog, or website.

Angus Robertson, Moray

As the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, Mr Robertson has been at the forefront in arguments to abolish Trident; he also brought attention to the UK’s part in rendition flights, and strongly criticises the UK’s foreign policy disasters.

Devolution Record
Public Whip record: 83.9%
Voted for a second reading of the Scotland Bill
Voted for requiring Scottish ministers to order officers to start counting within four hours of polls closing
Voted for devolving regulation of air weapons
Voted for keeping insolvency powers with the Scottish parliament
Voted for keeping responsibility for regulating health officials at the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving tax powers for quarrying and mining
Voted for code of conduct for Scottish ministers in relation to the treasury and borrowing powers
Voted for devolving the Scottish elements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Voted for devolving responsibility for railways that start and finish in Scotland
Voted for devolving elements of the Crown Estate and accountability of the Crown Estate to the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving time powers, time zones, and British Summer Time
Voted against devolving powers over food content and labelling
Voted for allowing the Scottish government to tax companies’ profits
Voted for devolving the regulation of shale gas in Scotland

Moray is a pretty solid SNP stronghold since Margaret Ewing won it from the Conservatives in 1987, the constituency’s second election since its establishment: the Tories fought hard to get it back, but in recent years have fallen behind New Labour. Angus Robertson has held Moray since 2001, but I’m including Margaret Ewing’s terms to show perspective.

General Election 1987: Moray
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Margaret Ewing 19,510 43.2 +8.0
Conservative Alexander Pollock 15,825 35.0 −4.2
Labour Conal Robertson Cumming Smith 5,118 11.3 +4.0
Liberal Danus George Moncreiff Skene 4,724 10.5 −7.8
Majority 3,685 8.2
Turnout 45,177 72.6
SNP gain from Conservative Swing
General Election 1992: Moray
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Margaret Ewing 20,299 44.3 +1.2
Conservative Mrs. Roma L. Hossack 17,455 38.1 +3.1
Labour Conal Robertson Cumming Smith 5,448 11.9 +0.6
Liberal Democrat Brinsley Sheridan 2,634 5.7 −4.8
Majority 2,844 6.2
Turnout 45,836 73.2
SNP hold Swing
General Election 1997: Moray
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Margaret Ewing 16,529 41.6
Conservative Andrew J. Findlay 10,963 27.6
Labour Lewis Macdonald 7,886 19.8
Liberal Democrat Miss Debra M. Storr 3,548 8.90
Referendum Party Paddy Mieklejohn 840 2.1
Majority 5,566 14.0
Turnout 39,766 68.2 -4.5
SNP hold Swing 3.5% Con to SNP
General Election 2001: Moray
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 10,076 30.3 −11.2
Labour Miss Catriona M. Munro 8,332 25.1 +5.2
Conservative Frank Spencer-Nairn 7,677 23.1 −4.5
Liberal Democrat Mrs. Linda J. Gorn 5,224 15.7 +6.8
Scottish Socialist Mrs. Norma C. Anderson 821 2.5 N/A
Independent Bill Jappy 802 2.4 N/A
UKIP Nigel Kenyon 291 0.9 N/A
Majority 1,744 5.2
Turnout 33,223 57.4 −10.8
SNP hold Swing
General Election 2005: Moray
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 14,196 36.6 +7.2
Conservative Jamie Halcro-Johnston 8,520 22.0 −0.9
Labour Kevin Hutchens 7,919 20.4 −3.9
Liberal Democrat Mrs. Linda J. Gorn 7,460 19.2 +1.2
Scottish Socialist Norma Anderson 698 1.8 −0.6
Majority 5,676 14.6
Turnout 38,793 58.4 +1.2
SNP hold Swing +4.1
General Election 2010[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 16,273 39.7 +3.1
Conservative Douglas Ross 10,683 26.1 +4.1
Labour Kieron Green 7,007 17.1 −3.3
Liberal Democrat James Paterson 5,965 14.5 −4.7
UKIP Donald Gatt 1,085 2.6 +2.6
Majority 5,590 13.6
Turnout 41,004 62.2 +3.0
SNP hold Swing −0.5

Bizarrely, 1997 actually saw a small drop in turnout, in opposition to most of the country, which – combined with New Labour’s assault – resulted in a fall for both SNP and the Conservatives. Nonetheless, while the SNP had a significant drop following the popular Margaret Ewing, Mr Robertson managed to grow his vote count, percentage, and majority since 2001:

1987: 19,510 (43.2%, +8, 8.2% majority)
1992: 20,299 (44.3%, +1.2, 6.2% majority)
1997: 16,529 (41.6%, 14% majority)
2001: 10,076 (30.3%, -11.2, 5.2% majority)
2005: 14,196 (36.6%, +7.2, 14.6% majority)
2010: 16,273 (39.7%, +3.1, 13.6% majority)

In contrast, the Conservatives have lost a lot of ground. They gained a slight boost in 2010 – possibly emboldened by Gordon Brown’s disastrous leadership – but it still wasn’t enough to see off the SNP:

1987: 15,825 (35%, -4.2)
1992: 17,455 (38.1%, +3.1)
1997: 10,963 (27.6%)
2001: 8,332 (25.1%, +5.2)
2005: 8,520 (22%, -0.9)
2010: 10,683 (26.1%, +3.1)

The Scottish Greens debut in Moray with James MacKessack-Leitch. As with most of the Westminster constituencies, they don’t have much chance of winning, but could take away crucial votes from the other parties which are left-wing, anti-austerity, anti-Trident, and generally not on the same wavelength as the three main Westminster parties and UKIP. On the other hand, the Conservatives’ Douglas Ross, New Labour’s Sean Morton, and UKIP’s Robert Scorer are also contesting. Despite the press’ creepy and unattractive obsession with Alex Salmond as leader of the SNP, Mr Robertson is the actual SNP leader in Westminster. I think he’s done a great job, and hope he continues in 2015 and beyond.

You can contact Mr Robertson through his Twitter, Facebook, and website. You can donate to his crowdfunder here.

Eilidh Whiteford, Banff & Buchan

EilidhWhiteford

Eilidh Whiteford speaks and debates often in the Commons, and has been active in the SNP for almost 30 years, when she joined Alex Salmond’s election campaign – it’s only natural she follow suit.

 

Devolution Record
Public Whip record: 83.9%
Voted for a second reading of the Scotland Bill
Voted for requiring Scottish ministers to order officers to start counting within four hours of polls closing
Voted for devolving regulation of air weapons
Voted for keeping insolvency powers with the Scottish parliament
Voted for keeping responsibility for regulating health officials at the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving tax powers for quarrying and mining
Voted for code of conduct for Scottish ministers in relation to the treasury and borrowing powers
Voted for devolving the Scottish elements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Voted for devolving responsibility for railways that start and finish in Scotland
Voted for devolving elements of the Crown Estate and accountability of the Crown Estate to the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving time powers, time zones, and British Summer Time
Voted against devolving powers over food content and labelling
Voted for allowing the Scottish government to tax companies’ profits
Voted for devolving the regulation of Shale Gas in Scotland

Much like Moray, Banff & Buchan has been flying the clootie flag since its second election – then, by none other than Alex Salmond himself, who held the seat from 1987 to 2010. When Mr Salmond chose to leave Westminster to concentrate on Holyrood, a successor was needed. Eilidh Whiteford had a tremendous act to follow, and she held the fort despite a powerful Conservative resurgence:

General Election 1987: Banff and Buchan
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Alex Salmond 19,462 44.3 +6.8
Conservative Albert McQuarrie 17,021 38.7 −1.0
Social Democratic George Milne Burness 4,211 9.6 −5.5
Labour James McFarlane Livie 3,281 7.5 −0.3
Majority 2,441 5.6
Turnout 43,975 70.8 +3.8
SNP gain from Conservative Swing +3.9
General Election 1992: Banff and Buchan
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Alex Salmond 21,954 47.5 +3.3
Conservative Sandy P. Manson 17,846 38.6 −0.1
Labour Brian R. Balcombe 3,803 8.2 +0.8
Liberal Democrat Rhona C. Kemp 2,588 5.6 −4.0
Majority 4,108 8.9 +3.3
Turnout 46,191 71.2 +0.4
SNP hold Swing +1.7
General Election 1997: Banff and Buchan
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Alex Salmond 22,409 55.8 +8.2
Conservative William Frain-Bell 9,564 23.8 −14.8
Labour Megan Harris 4,747 11.8 +3.6
Liberal Democrat Neil Fletcher 2,398 6.0 +0.4
Referendum Party Alan Buchan 1,060 2.6 N/A
Majority 12,845 32.0 +23.1
Turnout 40,178 68.7 −2.5
SNP hold Swing +11.5
General Election 2001: Banff and Buchan
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Alex Salmond 16,710 54.2 −1.5
Conservative Sandy Wallace 6,207 20.1 −3.7
Labour Ted Murray Harris 4,363 14.2 +2.3
Liberal Democrat Douglas Herbison 2,769 9.0 +3.0
Scottish Socialist Alice Janette Gilbertson Rowan 447 1.5 N/A
UKIP Eric Davidson 310 1.0 N/A
Majority 10,503 34.1 +2.1
Turnout 30,806 54.4 −14.3
SNP hold Swing +1.1
General Election 2005: Banff and Buchan
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Alex Salmond 19,044 51.2 −3.1
Conservative Sandy Wallace 7,207 19.4 −0.8
Liberal Democrat Eleanor Anderson 4,952 13.3 +4.3
Labour Rami Okasha 4,476 12.0 −2.1
Christian Vote Victor Ross 683 1.8 N/A
UKIP Kathleen Kemp 442 1.2 +0.2
Scottish Socialist Steve Will 412 1.1 −0.3
Majority 11,837 31.8 −2.3
Turnout 37,216 56.6 +2.2
SNP hold Swing −1.1
General Election 2010: Banff and Buchan
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Eilidh Whiteford 15,868 41.3 −9.9
Conservative Jimmy Buchan 11,841 30.8 +11.4
Labour Glen Reynolds 5,382 14.0 +2.0
Liberal Democrat Galen Milne 4,365 11.3 −2.0
BNP Richard Payne 1,010 2.6 N/A
Majority 4,027 12.5
Turnout 38,466 59.8 +3.2
SNP hold Swing −10.6

Mr Salmond’s votes, percentages, and majorities grew for the first three years, then the apathy of 2001 saw a significant drop in actual votes, but not in percentage or majorities (in fact his majority in 2001 grew). However, Ms Whiteford managed to keep the majority of SNP voters on side, although with an almost ten point drop and the majority more than halved:

1987: 19,462 (44.3%, +6.8, 5.6% majority)
1992: 21,954 (47.5%, +3.3, 8.9% majority)
1997: 22,409 (55.8%, +8.2, 32% majority)
2001: 16,710 (54.2%, -1.5, 34.1% majority)
2005: 19,044 (51.2%, -3.1, 31.8% majority)
2010: 15,868 (41.3%, -9.9, 12.5% majority)

Meanwhile, the Tories had a rollercoaster: even with 17,000+ and almost 40% shares in 1987 and 1992, they couldn’t topple Mr Salmond, eventually losing nearly 15 points and almost half their votes in 1997. However, they started crawling back, and in 2010 their 10 point swing was the largest swing in Scotland during the election. It wasn’t enough, but it was the first time since 1992 they got more than 30% of the vote percentage:

1987: 17,021 (38.7%, -1)
1992: 17,846 (38.6%, -0.1)
1997: 9,564 (23.8%, -14.8)
2001: 6,207 (20.1%, -3.7)
2005: 7,207 (19.4%, -0.8)
2010: 11,841 (30.8%, +11.4)

Ms Whiteford’s primary contestants are the Conservative’s Alex Johnstone, New Labour’s Sumon Hoque, and the NeoLib’s David Evans. No Greens or UKIP, oddly enough, though thankfully no word on the BNP fielding a candidate. Alex Johnstone, it should be noted, thinks most Scots support the Bedroom Tax, dismisses ATOS’ cruelties as “anecdotal,” thinks marriage equality is “a sign of society starting to fall apart,” believes unemployment is a result of a “culture of worklessness,” and even seems to support capital punishment in schools (though to give him the “benefit” of the doubt, he probably “just” means corporal punishment). Come on, Banff & Buchan: 1,010 of you voted BNP in 2010. Get yer act thegither. Keep Eilidh Whiteford in!

You can contact Ms Whiteford through her Twitter, Facebook, blog, and website.

Angus MacNeil, Na h-Eileanan an Iar

angus-macneil

He’s a native Gaelic speaker, he hails from the Isle of Barra, he studied civil engineering, he caused chaos and outrage when he went to London… could he BE more Scottish?

 

Devolution Record
Public Whip record: 83.9%
Voted for a second reading of the Scotland Bill
Voted for requiring Scottish ministers to order officers to start counting within four hours of polls closing
Voted for devolving regulation of air weapons
Voted for keeping insolvency powers with the Scottish parliament
Voted for keeping responsibility for regulating health officials at the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving tax powers for quarrying and mining
Voted for code of conduct for Scottish ministers in relation to the treasury and borrowing powers
Voted for devolving the Scottish elements of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Voted for devolving responsibility for railways that start and finish in Scotland
Voted for devolving elements of the Crown Estate and accountability of the Crown Estate to the Scottish parliament
Voted for devolving time powers, time zones, and British Summer Time
Voted against devolving powers over food content and labelling
Voted for allowing the Scottish government to tax companies’ profits
Voted for devolving the regulation of shale gas in Scotland

Na h-Eileanan an Iar spent 1918 to 1931 as a Liberal chiefdom: after their chieftain defected to the National Liberals in 1931 (an offshoot of the Liberals which was eventually merged into the Conservative party – a sign of things to come?), they then flew the Red Rose from 1935 to 1970. Then, the SNP’s Donald Stewart seized control. However, the SNP’s reign in the Isles did not outlast Stewart himself, as his successor failed to hold the fort against Labour in 1987. Then, in 2005, a Man of Barra came, and took the Isles back for the SNP, whose island brochs have flown the Clootie ever since. As with Banff & Buchan, I think it’s important to contextualise the election with the history of the SNP in the isles.

General Election 1970: Western Isles[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Donald Stewart 6,568 43.12
Labour M.K. Macmillan 5,842 38.35
Conservative R.K. MacLeod 2,812 18.53
Majority 726 4.77
Turnout 23,533 64.73
SNP gain from Labour Swing
General Election February 1974: Western Isles[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Donald Stewart 10,079 67.05
Labour A.W. Wilson 2,879 19.15
Conservative John Jackson Mackay 1,042 6.93
United Labour Party M.K. Macmillan 1,031 6.86
Majority 7,200 47.90
Turnout 66.27
SNP hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Western Isles[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Donald Stewart 8,758 61.45
Labour M. Doig 3,526 24.74
Conservative N.K. Wilson 1,180 8.28
Liberal N. Macmillan 789 5.54
Majority 5,232 36.71
Turnout 63.41
SNP hold Swing
General Election 1979: Western Isles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Donald Stewart 7,941 52.5
Labour A. Matheson 4,878 32.3
Conservative M. Morrison 1,600 10.6
Liberal N. MacLeod 700 4.6
Majority 3,063 20.3
Turnout 67.5
SNP hold Swing
General Election 1983: Western Isles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Donald Stewart 8,272 54.5
Labour Brian Wilson 4,560 30.1
Conservative Murdo Morrison 1,460 9.6
Liberal Neil M. MacLeod 876 5.8
Majority 3,712 24.5
Turnout 66.5
SNP hold Swing
General Election 1987: Western Isles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Calum Alasdair MacDonald 7,041 42.7
SNP Ian Smith 4,701 28.5
Social Democratic Kenneth Angus MacIver 3,419 20.7
Conservative Murdo Morrison 1,336 8.1
Majority 2,340 14.2
Turnout 70.2
Labour gain from SNP Swing
General Election 1992: Western Isles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Calum MacDonald 7,664 47.8
SNP Ms. Frances M. MacFarlane 5,961 37.2
Conservative Robert J. Heany 1,362 8.5
Liberal Democrat Neil Mitchison 552 3.4
Independent Andrew R.Price 491 3.1 N/A
Majority 1,703 10.6
Turnout 16,030 70.4
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1997: Western Isles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Calum MacDonald 8,955 55.6
SNP Anne Lorne Gillies 5,379 33.4
Conservative Jamie McGrigor 1,071 6.6
Liberal Democrat Neil Mitchison 495 3.1
Referendum Party Ralph Lionel 206 1.3 N/A
Majority 3,576 22.2
Turnout 70.1
Labour hold Swing
General Election 2001: Western Isles
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Calum MacDonald 5,924 45.0 −10.6
SNP Alasdair Nicholson 4,850 36.9 +3.5
Conservative Douglas Taylor 1,250 9.5 +2.8
Liberal Democrat John Horne 849 6.5 +3.4
Scottish Socialist Joanne Telfer 286 2.2 N/A
Majority 1,074 8.1
Turnout 13,159 60.6 −9.5
Labour hold Swing
General Election 2005: Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus MacNeil 6,213 44.9 +8.0
Labour Calum MacDonald 4,772 34.5 −10.5
Liberal Democrat Jean Davis 1,096 7.9 +1.4
Christian Vote George Hargreaves 1,048 7.6 N/A
Conservative Andy Maciver 610 4.4 −5.1
Scottish Socialist Joanne Telfer 97 0.7 −1.5
Majority 1,441 10.4
Turnout 13,836 64.1 +4.0
SNP gain from Labour Swing +9.3
General Election 2010: : Na h-Eileanan an Iar[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus MacNeil 6,723 45.7 +0.8
Labour Donald John MacSween 4,838 32.9 -1.6
Independent Murdo Murray 1,412 9.6 N/A
Liberal Democrat Jean Davis 1,097 7.5 -0.5
Conservative Sheena Louise Norquay 647 4.4 +0.0
Majority 1,885 12.8
Turnout 14,717 66.1 +0.7
SNP hold Swing +1.2

The fortunes of the SNP and New Labour in the Isles are indicative of the impact having the right candidate can have on a campaign: Donald Stewart is a legend among the SNP, and was undefeated during his 17-year term as an MP:

1970: 6,568 (43.12%, 4.77% majority)
Feb’74: 10,079 (67.05%, 47.9% majority)
Oct’74: 8,758 (61.45%, 63.41% majority)
1979: 7,941 (52.5%, 67.5% majority)
1983: 8,272 (54.5%, 24.5% majority)
1987: 4,701 (28.5%)
1992: 5,961 (37.2%)
1997: 5,379 (33.4%)
2001: 4,850 (36.9%)
2005: 6,213 (44.9%, 10.4% majority)
2010: 6,723 (45.7%, 12.8% majority)

When Mr Stewart retired, his successors had trouble not only living up to his precedent, but had to deal with the powerful personality of Calum MacDonald, who took the seat in 1987. It looked like Mr MacDonald was going to repeat Mr Stewart’s 5-election streak – when Angus MacNeil shockingly overturned him with a 9.3 swing in 2005:

1970: 5,842 (38.35%)
Feb’74: 2,879 (19.15%)
Oct’74: 3,526 (24.74%)
1979: 4,878 (32.3%)
1983: 4,560 (30.1%)
1987: 7,041 (42.7%, 14.2% majority)
1992: 7,664 (47.8%, 10.6% majority)
1997: 8,955 (55.6%, 22.2% majority)
2001: 5,924 (45%, 8.1% majority)
2005: 4,772 (34.5%)
2010: 4,838 (32.9%)

It is particularly amazing that Mr MacNeil not only kept his seat, but actually slightly increased his votes, percentage and vote share. Mr Salmond rightly said that Mr MacNeil had made “most extraordinarily powerful enemies” along with Elfyn Llwyd & an as-yet unidentified third member, when they unveiled the outrageous Cash for Honours scandal. As a result, a rather unfortunate episode was blown into a sordid, salacious smear. He was already despised as an SNP member: to then involve the police, bring Westminster into disrepute and curtail their lavish lifestyle? That alone should tell you why Westminster don’t want him back in – and why he absolutely needs to return.

Up against Angus are New Labour’s Alasdair Morrison, the Conservatives’ Mark Brown, the NeoLib’s Ruaraidh Ferguson, and the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”‘s John Cormack. Wouldn’t be the Isles without the Christian Party contesting, though I can’t imagine what it’d be like if they got in.

You can contact Angus on his Twitter and Facebook.

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3 thoughts on “The Devo Files: SNP Class of 2010

  1. […] problem to point to the many things SNP MPs have voted for which New Labour did not, and argue that the heroic 6 set a precedent which won’t be neglected. Rattling off the great things the SNP is something […]

  2. […] chose not to contest the election. I suppose it should’ve been completely unsurprising that Stewart Hosie, Mike Weir, Pete Wishart, Angus Robertson, Eilidh Whiteford and Angus MacNeil retained their seats with even larger majorities – all but one with overall majorities of the […]

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