5 May 2012

Glasgow Craigton, Govan & Pollokshields... (Vol II of VII)

Yesterday's results in Linn, Newlands and Greater Pollok dispensed with, up next we have Glasgow Wards four to six: Craigton, Govan and Pollokshields. All three were important for the Nationalist advance in Glasgow, and between them, elect eleven councillors all in all.

4. Craigton
Elects four councillors.
2007 result: 2 Labour, 1 SNP, 1 Solidarity
Result in 2012: 2 Labour, 2 SNP (+1 SNP)




An interesting ward, Craigton, going into the election.  Ruth Black won a seat here for Solidarity in 2007, but subsequently defected to Labour.  Both Labour and the SNP ran two candidates apiece in the ward, while the battered banner of Solidarity was taken up again by Gail Sheridan - wife to the Satsuma Socialist - on Thursday.  Another ward where three candidates smash across the quota boundary in the first round, seeing both Labour candidates in Craigton - Matt Kerr and Alastair Watson - and the SNP's Iris Gibson occupying the first three seats in the ward.  All that remained was to scrap it out for the remaining seat.  The results may well remind you of Greater Pollok - where the SNP beat off a modest challenger to take the fourth seat as the last candidate standing, but without attaining quota.

All three elected candidates enjoyed something of a surplus.  Gail Sheridan picked up 152 Labour transfers but only 14 from Iris of the SNP, while the remaining SNP candidate in Craigton, Jim Torrance, benefitted from 126 transfers from the elected Labour candidates.  Iris Gibson had a surplus of 236 to share around, of which Torrance took 178 votes, suggesting that the SNP in Craigton very effectively convinced its voters to give the party their second preferences too, the figures suggesting Torrance received 75% of Gibson's second preferences. Running about 500 votes ahead of Solidarity, Gail was unlikely to catch the second SNP candidate on Tories transfers.  Entertainingly, however, Sheridan actually managed to attract 37 Tory next preferences, compared to the 80 which moved to the SNP pile.

5. Govan
Elects four councillors
2007 result: 3 Labour, 1 SNP
2012 result: 2 Labour, 1 SNP, 1 Glasgow First (Change -1 LAB, +1 Glasgow First)



A hugely busy ward, Govan, with fourteen candidates standing for the four seats.  Riskily, but in a spirit of ambition, the SNP ran three rather than two candidates in this ward, hoping to capitalise on their progress here during the Holyrood election.  The ward was also the main locus of the schisms and de-selections which troubled the Glasgow Labour party earlier this year.  Two Glasgow First candidates stood - Stephen Dornan and Shaukat Butt, while another deselected former Labour councillor in the ward, John Flanagan, also stood independently in Govan. 

It was widely supposed that the schismatics would have the most pronounced impact on the Labour vote.  Not so, it proved. Both James Adams for Labour and Allison Hunter for the SNP were elected on first preferences, leaving two seats vacant.  While Thomas gained 223 votes from her Labour colleague, the SNP's Allison Hunter had a surplus of only 75 to transfer to her two running-mates.  Again showing that the SNP effectively convinced its Govan voters to stick with it, between them they took 87% of this, Jonathan Mackie gaining the lion's share, at 61. This was again reflected in the transfers from Tahir Mohammed - the third SNP candidate - in the tenth round.  Mackie gained 75% of Tahir's next preferences, putting him back in contention for one of the remaining two seats in Govan, and putting Jonathan just a nose ahead of the ultimately victorious Stephen Doran in the twelfth round of the contest.  

The elimination of Flanagan put pay to the SNP hopes of a second seat in Govan, his votes transferring much more strongly to Labour and to Glasgow First's Dornan than the SNP.  Although the Nationalists attracted 62 of Flanagan's next preferences, Dornan scooped 184 while 181 moved to the Labour candidate's pile. That left Mackie of the SNP the last remaining and lowest scoring candidate - and he was accordingly eliminated, and Thomas of Labour and Dornan elected instead on the back of his transfers, both shy of the quota.  

A damn close run thing in Govan, all in all, and clear lessons for the SNP here. The third nationalist candidate didn't achieve anything like the level of support required to be in contention for a third seat for the party, and in all likelihood, diluted the level of SNP support in what would become a challenging ward. Would it have made a difference if the SNP had only run two candidates? Try this thought experiment. Meld Mackie and Mohammed into one candidate, and assume, for the sake of speculation, that this single candidate attracted the same level of support as they divided between them.  How might Mackhammed have done in Govan in 2012? He'd have started the allocation with 799 votes.  By round nine, he'd have an accumulated a further 218 on transfers, putting him at 1,017.  If we add transfers from Flanagan and Butt (totalling 333), Mackhammed would have gone into the critical round against Dornan and Labour with a haul of 1,350 votes, clearly out-polling Dornan.   It's a counterfactual, and bedevilled by speculation, but at least suggests that the SNP might have gained another seat in Govan, but for their three candidate strategy.

6. Pollokshields
Elects three councillors
In 2007: 1 Labour, 1 SNP, 1 Tory
Result in 2012: 1 Labour, 1 SNP, 1 Tory (No change)



And now for something completely different.  Labour put up just one candidate in Pollokshields this time around, against whom the SNP lined up two candidates.  In 2007, the contest for the ward's third seat proved an exceedingly close one between the Greens and the Tories, the latter besting the Greenies by just a handful of votes and making him theoretically vulnerable this election.  Not a bit of it, as it proved.  Meikle's support shot up, besting the SNP's Norman MacLeod in first preferences in the ward.  The Greens, by contrast, were relegated to the doldrums here, though not quite so far as the Liberal Democrats, who took a plunge in Pollokshields which is familiar from elsewhere in the country.  

Nobody here secured election on the first round of voting.  Labour's Raja was the first elected in the fifth round, but with a surplus of only seven votes to redistribute, the next preferences expressed on Labour ballots weren't placed to make much of a difference here. Given the Linn result, which showed strong Tory transfers to Liberals still in contention, Pollokshields furnishes the only Glaswegian ward where we might ask: is the feeling reciprocated? Where did the eliminated Liberal Democrat's ballots go here? Interestingly, the result underlines one of the findings of the Scottish Election survey in 2011: Liberal Democrat votes go all over, and don't neatly transfer to any one of their rivals.  With 224 votes to be transferred, the Tories took 47, while 42 votes were spread between the two SNP candidates, with 55 going Green, and 42 for Labour.  Altogether, a messy Lib-Dem carve up in Pollokshields.

A final point about what the result in the ward might say about Nationalist local election strategy.  A critical question is: did the SNP do enough to convince their voters to give them all their preferences?  Another strong indication in this chart that their voters got the message in Pollokshields.  On his elimination as the lowest polling candidate, Khalil Malik transferred 1,316 votes to his SNP running-mate, rocketing MacLeod miles over the quota to be elected. Consider that transfer in context.  In the first round, Malik attracted a total of 1,437 first preferences, accumulating 1,612 at the time of his elimination.  That's an effective rate of transfer between SNP candidates of over 80%.  If the SNP struggled to elbow Meikle out of the way in Pollokshields, it certainly wasn't down to ineffectively informing its voters about expressing their preferences.

Coming next: Langside, Southside Central, Calton...


  1. Bless you LPW - you go where few us can follow and bring us the berries in the heather. I love the 37 Tory vote transfer to Gail (and the 80 to the SNP). Goodness me.

  2. Ahh, but Labour,fearing a hammering were under represented in some wards which counteracts the SNP's over representation in some areas. Next time I am going to try and pick out those who are going out in the correct order. Again the Gail transfer is stuff of Legend, well done being the 1st to spot it.

  3. Interesting stuff.

    In Govan I think the SNP got overconfident because it is Nicola's patch. Or perhaps a bit too greedy. Had the SNP taken three seats then that would have been reflected across Glasgow.

  4. Ahhh, you appear to have missed out Khan (Anti-Cuts) from the chart for Pollokshields. I was trying to work out who was eliminated in the third round, and I can't see a line for Khan's results, so I suspect that's the problem.

    Great series overall, LPW. You should almost certainly dump your thesis and devote your time to compiling such figures for every ward in Scotland!

  5. Doug,

    Thanks for that. I thought the ward graph looked somehow on the light side, but didn't spot the absence. Have now restored the forgotten Anti-Cuts candidate to their proper place.

  6. LPW "Have now restored the forgotten Anti-Cuts candidate to their proper place."

    As a footnote in the history of the formation of the New Mass Workers Party I assume.