Monday, 3 November 2008

Glenrothes too close to call

The general consensus of the UK, Scottish and local media (aka the Glenrothes Gazette) appears to be that this week's by-election in Glenrothes is too close to call. Breaking the convention that prime ministers do not campaign in such elections, Gordon Brown has been there twice, while the new secret weapon, Sarah Brown, has been there virtually daily and appears to have gone down well.

One of the earlier versions of the seat was for fifteen years one of the few seats in the House of Commons ever to be held by a Communist, reflecting its mining roots. The local SNP council is none too popular and Alex Salmond's arc of prosperity is looking a bit sick, but Labour supporters may well not bother to vote.
Labour has admitted that it was 3,000 or 4,000 votes behind the Nationalists a month ago and the gap might be too big to close. Paradoxically, Labour can campaign against the incumbent administration in Edinburgh.

If the SNP do win, it will be a big boost for Alex Salmond and a blow for Gordon Brown. But the real winner will be Dave Cameron, even though the Conservatives are not expected to do well. Labour's recovery will have derailed. Successfully defending a 10,664 majority would hardly be a great feat, but it would be an improvement on the nadir of Glasgow East.

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