18 December 2011

"And great was Labour's Lamontation..."

Rubbernecking on the internal politics of one's political opponents is rarely appreciated.  However, since the Sunday Herald saw fit only to report Labour's leadership election on the fourth page of today's issue, I dare say Johann might welcome the attention, from whatever source. As you'll certainly have heard, Lamont saw off Ken Macintosh, while Tom Harris' hopes of being anointed LOLOTSP ("Leader of Labour outside the Scottish Parliament") were comprehensively disappointed. 

So at last, it is farewell to Iain Gray, the Snark, LOLITSP.  Farewell also, to Labour's suspended animation since May's election? Mibbes aye and mibbes naw.  After the announcement of a Lamont victory at noon yesterday, much muttered was the fact that she appeared to have attracted only 12% of Labour members' votes. Quite reasonably, some folk wondered where the devil the other 88% had disappeared to.  Welcome to Labour's electoral college, made up of three sections. The first, parliamentarians, includes MPs, MSPs and MEPs.  The second is the ordinary membership of the Labour Party, while the third are votes cast by affiliates, including members of affiliated trade unions and socialist societies. Despite the numerical imbalances between them, all three groupings are of equal weight when it comes to awarding the leadership.

While not quite as wonderfully arcane as the process the Venetians used to elect their Doge, for those of us more familiar with one-member-one-vote leadership elections, Labour's approach can seem a bit esoteric. Others are more critical. In today's Scotland on Sunday, Kenny Farquharson describes it as a "flawed, antediluvian antique that needs to be unceremoniously ditched". Whatever its merits or demerits, the process and its results are all rather straightforward if sympathetically presented.  To start us off, three tables showing the percentage of their total support which each candidate attracted from the three voting sections - and where Johann's winning votes came from.


And in second place, Ken Macintosh...


And bringing up the rear, poor Tom Harris...

For clarity and interest's sake, it is also worth separately pulling out how each of the sections cast their votes.  For example, you'll see that the 12% support from the membership being bandied about with respect to Johann is both true and a truly misleading statistic, seen out of context. While members did prefer Macintosh and Lamont's victory was substantially down to affiliate votes and a more modest lead amongst parliamentarians, Lamont attracted around 37% of the membership vote, compared to Ken's 53%.


In addition to the leadership election, Labour was also voting on a new deputy, with my tender tyro MP, Anas Sarwar, winning out over Ian Davidon MP and Lewis Macdonald MSP with 51.10% of the vote across the college.  Here's where Anas' found his support in the party. You'll notice, in stark contrast with Johann, that Sarwar only managed to attract a modest percentage of affiliates' ballots, while very comprehensively carrying both Labour's parliamentary delegations, and ordinary members.

And amongst the three sections of the college, support for the three candidates for deputy divided as follows...



  1. Wow. Fascinating to see Davidson's overwhelming popularity with the unions for deputy, fairly decent second-place showing with the membership, but absolutely crushing failure among parliamentarians, who know him best. I wonder how much of a part his various outbursts ("Who cares", "neo-fascists", "doing") played in that. Why on Earth would the unions want to inflict him on the party?

  2. Davidson is very Old Labour, even to the point of being Eurosceptic and wanting an elected head of state. Hence the support from trade unionists and antipathy from MPs.

  3. Davidson is also secretary to the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs

  4. Another fascinating breakdown. What a weird electoral process - almost guaranteed to produce internal disaffection.

    Galloway has said of Lamont

    'If there is a less appealing political figure in world politics, I've yet to meet them.'

    which seems a tad over the top even for His Gorgeousness.

    Brian Wilson is generous in his account of Lamont in today's Sunday Times but he ends by saying 'Good luck' - which seems like a disassociation rather than an endorsement.

    The little I know of Lamont indicates a figure of some dourness but Dewar was also a dour bugger and the voters never seemed to mind. I hope she may surprise us all.

  5. Since we know the size of the Parliamentarian's section - 80 - we can work backwards from the percentages to the actual numbers.

    La-Mont 40 : Macintosh 31 : Harris 4 : Couldn't be bothered to vote 5.

  6. I am intruiged that a majority of ordinary members actually voted for the Gaelic language hating Ken Mcintosh, sorry but memories of his part in that debate linger.

    He is so nulabourish, something that we are supposed to believe was not really liked in Scotland. I'm not sure that labour can claim to be a party of the left with any credibility when it's members are still voting for people like that.

    Anyone know if the Westminster Mp's vote counts for more than the MSP's?

    Yer man Sarwar, I had him at my door for a minute campaigning during the Westminster elections...............that boy can sure move fast! He wasn't short of election workers throughout that campaign, who apart from Frank McAveety were seconded from his Da's warehouses.

  7. Talking about Gaelic.

    It totally escaped me that Lamont is in fact a Gael..............who knew! Both her parents are from the isles, and yet she has never to my knowledge been at the forefront of the restoration process of our native language.

  8. Tony, while McIntosh is a Blairite, he didn't run as one. He came out with a lot of Old Labour rhetoric. The centre-piece of his campaign was a pledge to pursue full employment, for instance. Trade unions members didn't trust him to deliver on any of it, but I think the constituency members did. I also suspect Tom Harris only ran so that McIntosh wouldn't look like the Blairite candidate.

  9. An Duine Gruamach19 December 2011 at 00:20

    Sarwar, like Harris, hasn't a socialist bone in his body. He's vice-chair of Progress: a more perfect Blairite one couldn't wish to meet.