34% turnout sees SNP candidate elected to Argyll & Bute Council on fourth count – but the story of the night is the Conservative success

The SNP’s Julie McKenzie is now the newest member of Argyll and Bute Council, elected on the fourth count of the Ward 5 by-election for the Oban North and Lorn seat.

Her 1,113 first preference votes compares with Iain MacLean’s win for the SNP with 1090 –  also elected at count 4 in the last Ward 5 by-election in October 2014. This is a rise of 2.1%, bettered substantially by the Independent candidate and massively by the Conservative one.

The picture here is that while the SNP now have three of the four councillors for this area, one has been acquired by post election conversion [Iain Angus Macdonald who stood as an independent] and two by by-election -Iain MacLean and now Julie Mackenzie].

At the full formal election in 2012, they finished with one of the four, Louise Glen Lee at the second count behind independent Elaine Robertson. Glen-Lee, who had replaced the then late SNP Councillor Donald Macdonald – later resigned causing a-by election won by the late John MacGregorn an Independent wnose conseqence shock death cause a second by-election won by the SNPs Iain Maclean.

The reality is that the SNP vote has not increased by nearly enough to get mor than one candidate into this constituency at the next formal election in 2017; where, with the same electorate voting in by-elections for a single seat [as opposed to four seats in the full election], the largest party should always be able to add short term additional councillors though the chance of by-elections.

The first Green candidate, Pat Tyrrel, came fourth and last with 300 first preference votes.

Independent Kieron Green came third, by a whisker, and considering that he stood as an Independent this time [having publicly explained his reasons for leaving Labour] – and was responsible for the costs and conduct of his campaign – the rise in is his personal vote from 530 to 608 [14.7%] speaks strongly f0r the strength of his local support.

He was also the best performer in transfer votes, harvesting far more strongly than the winning SNP candidate at each elimination – another interesting indication of the nature of the SNP support.

While there was a virtual tie for second place between the Scottish Conservatives’ Andrew Vennard and Independent Kieron Green, with Vennard pipping it by 609 final first preferences votes to Green’s 608, the story of the night is the Scottish Conservatives’ substantial gain.

Andrew Vennard – who stood for the party in the last three by-elections in this ward, all in 2014 , coming last, second last and last respectively, took 415 first preference votes last time out in October 2014 – took 609 this time, a hefty uplift of 46.7%.

The fact that Vennard then took few transfers underlines the fact that he and the Conservatives directly attracted a much greater proportion at the very first hurdle, a significant development in line with For Argyll’s analyais.

This is indicative of the sort of pattern we expect to see in the Scottish Election in May 2016.

The Scottish Conservatives – a very different and more accessible party under the continuum of Annabel Goldie and Ruth Davidson  – is the only party unequivocally in favour of continuing Scottish membership of the British union.

The Labour and Liberal Democrats have said they will allow their candidates  and MSPs to campaign for independence.

The constitutional future of Scotanad remains THE  core issue in this country; and the Scottish Conservatives sole unhesitating support for the Union makes the May 2016 vote a straightforward  two-way choice:

  • all supporters of independence can only intelligently vote for the SNP – no other party will be in a position to deliver indy for the foreseeable future;
  • and all supporters of the Union can equally intelligently only vote Scottish Conservative – the only party that can be trusted to campaign for continuing membership and oppose independence.

The other clear differentiation between the Scottish Conservatives and all the other parties is on the issue of taxation.

  • The SNP will have to raise taxes to pay for their extravagant proposals for a Scottish welfare regime.
  • Labour has formally proposed a 1% hike in taxes to pay for improved major services like education.
  • The Scottish Conservatives are committed to a low tax regime and support for the entrepreneurship that grows jobs and the economy.

The clarity of the Conservatives election campaign messages and the clear choice they offer between themselves and the SNP ae cetqi to see the party’s vote and number of MSP’s improve substantially – making it the main opposition to the SNP – a position some party needs to be able and willing to conduct effectively  in the one party state for which Scotland is effectively headed – at speed.

While Andrew Vennard’s vote last night reflects his own standing, it also shows the growth in support for his party’s position – and that is a very significant change.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Scotland does not need to increase tax across the board to fund our public purse. We could increase total public expenditure by 18% and repay Scottish taxpayers and businesses all taxes they pay just now by raising an annual ground rent of 83pence per m2 on all our land. That’s the average AGR which can be varied according to land types

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 23

    Graeme McCormick February 19, 2016 11:09 pm Reply
    • This is the daftest notion yet.
      A quarter of an acre – a decent but not extravagant middle class garden – is 1011 square metres, which would see a levy of just over £839 per annum. If this was a swap for the income tax such a resident family would otherwise have paid, Scotland’s revenues would be pretty sick.
      The vast majority of the population have nothing like this amount of land and would therefore pay very little if any tax.
      Such a move would only be part of the swivel eyed brigade’s campaign to screw the estate owners – who could never afford this levy on their vast tracts of empty land that few have either the motivation or the expertise even to try to manage.
      It takes little intelligence or imagination to see exactly what the consequences for Scotland of trying out this utterly hilarious ‘revenue raising’ manoeuvre would be.
      Is this going to be an SNP policy manifesto initiative to be announced on the 24th March 2016 {Independence Day]?
      And if Scotland’s finances are so easy-peasy, why has the Finance Secretary been quietly borrowing at a rate estimated by independent economists to be likely to reach £50 Billion by 2019?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 6

      newsroom February 19, 2016 11:49 pm Reply
    • Graeme

      What are the origins of your proposition that : ” We could increase total public expenditure by 18% and repay Scottish taxpayers and businesses all taxes they pay just now by raising an annual ground rent of 83pence per m2 on all our land” ?

      I assume there is some ‘working paper’ out their, in the ether, published by some public spirited body which FA readers can access, and study, to establish its efficacy, if any.

      Please advise

      ps You never came back to me on your Glasgow Global Port post a few days ago … do you want to take me up on my offer??

      wsrtPort ideas for I

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

      SCOTNAT February 20, 2016 10:18 am Reply
  • Poor for argyll. Despite her best efforts her liebour sorry independent flops, let’s boost the Tory liars, more flops.
    In her world the earth is flat, elvis is alive and well in Tarbert and no one supports the snp for they are bad, do you hear baaaad, baaaaaad…..

    SNP win in May. Get used to it yooniists

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 36

    No Cheese Here February 19, 2016 11:57 pm Reply
  • NCH change the record
    saying that as someone who votes SNP
    Keitho will pile in soon as well, no doubt.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 8

    Tom Hayward February 20, 2016 12:01 am Reply
    • Tom,

      Change the record. What celebrate success.m think you are on the B side supporting who? Not the snp.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 22

      No Cheese Here February 20, 2016 10:03 am Reply
      • NCH it’s called looking for trends
        Voting for any party does not require compliance with everything !

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 7

        Tom Hayward February 20, 2016 10:56 am Reply
  • not to disappoint,
    The only headline whichever way you spin is
    This is the biggest vote for the SNP ever in this ward.
    Well done to Julie, well done to the SNP team.
    and most importantly thank you to the voters.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 35

    Keitho February 20, 2016 1:04 am Reply
    • Not to take away anything from Julie’s win which she and her team fought hard for, but by my reckoning SNP had 1117 votes in 2012 in this ward compared to 1113 for Julie in 2016.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 34 Thumb down 7

      Kieron Green February 20, 2016 1:14 am Reply
  • What amazes me in this is just how bitter, obssessed and paranoid SNP types are about Labour. I’ve never come across supporters so uncomfortable and insecure in their own shoes.

    The SNP and their supporters spend more time deriding Labour, criticising Labour, blaming Labour – a party that has not been in government for nearly a decade, is not going to be in power for a long time and is losing support in many other areas – than they do talking about how they are going to issue real issues our country faces.

    I think people, including many former Labour supporters are realising that. I’ve met a quite a few ex-Labour voters who turned SNP recently – and they confided in me that they will be voting Labour in May because they are becoming sickened of the SNP obsession with Labour and they way they talk about a party that has done inordinate amounts of good for our nation. The sense I get is there comes a piont when crowing and boasting really puts you off. One of the most common annoyances is the SNP treatment of Kezia Dugdales income tax proposal. It’s a sound proposal, and yet the SNP spit feathers, and as pointed out int the chamber LIE to make themselves look good and avoid the fact that currently, only Labour have ANY proposal to mitigate cuts whilst protecting the most vulnerable.

    The SNP are at the height of their popularity – the only way os down – post May.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 31 Thumb down 9

    JB February 20, 2016 8:08 am Reply
  • Only the ForArgyll Bugle would have the front to suggest that can a huge win for SNP was actually a win for the Tory. That’ll be the Tory the new councillor for Oban and Lorn then will it Newsroom. Man up – if I may enqire?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 31

    willie February 20, 2016 8:34 am Reply
    • Basically, if it’s not praising SNP to the rafters, it’s wrong, irrelevant or just plain biased.

      I think that sums up your views willie?

      What a shame you’re incapable of actually reading, digesting and considering another point of view – so typical tho, so at least you’re not alone.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 8

      JB February 20, 2016 8:55 am Reply
      • “The enemies of Scottish Nationalism are not the English, for they were ever a great and generous folk, quick to respond when justice calls. Our real enemies are among us, born without imagination”.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 8

        Karl Hughes February 20, 2016 8:59 am Reply
        • Karl, “The enemies of Scottish Nationalism are not the English, for they were ever a great and generous folk, quick to respond when justice calls. Our real enemies are among us, born without imagination”.

          The real issue is people like Karl who puts Scotland behind Westminster and has no imagination that life outwith the bubble of the mindset of “little englander” of course many patriotic Scots as they claim think likewise. The noeee’s marking thumbs down as they face the incoming tide of Scottish awareness.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 26

          No Cheese Here February 20, 2016 10:11 am Reply
          • LOL…thank you for making my afternoon…Yet again NHC you show your complete ignorance…I simply quote Cunninghame Graham who had complete awareness of the inherent problems within Scottish nationalism… little “Scottish mindedness”, you are the problem , not me, not the majority of the people of Scotland… you and your ilk… why continue embarrassing yourself and your cause spend, why not spend some time educating yourself.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 7

            Karl Hughes February 20, 2016 11:15 am
  • No doubt SNP will win in May… and they will wait until after the EU referendum result to announce their intentions as to any future indy ref proposal….chances are the UK will vote to remain in the EU…in which case the SNP will finally have to make its intention clear that the chance of another Indy vote will have disapeared over history’s brae… they will increase their austerity plans with more new powers…more vigor…. at this stage they will cease to be the flavour of the month…. fragment into their nationalism aside, political colours…..QED. 3 years max and their hiatus will hernia…
    If UK votes exit… and Scotland does not… If by some weird quirk of fate the UK splits…. Scotland after lengthy ( yawn) process may end up in the EU… but the Scot Nats and the peoples of Scotland should not expect that free movement of Scottish goods, money or citizens would be permitted….would the Scottish vote to leave when confronted with such massive change (the likes of some on here might LOL) but I doubly doubt it….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 9

    Karl Hughes February 20, 2016 8:54 am Reply
  • So, the SNP win this sest with 1,113 votes, the Conservatives, who are the ruling party in the UK with a Party machine to turn out their votes, come a poor second with 609 (with just over half the votes of the winner)and one vote ahead of an independent who has 608 votes. But despite these figures Newsie assures us that “the story of the night is a Conservative Success”. What utter nonsense! This ‘claim of success; is Goebbelsesque in its bare-faced effrontery!
    However, if in your twisted mind Newsie that poor showing constitutes “success”, roll on May!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 23

    Simon February 20, 2016 9:20 am Reply
  • First time I have voted Conservative, and probably as much to do with the stability and clearly defined policies at national level as for the commitment of the local candidate (Andrew Vennard). I have to agree with Newsroom on this occasion that currently Labour and Liberal Democrat are not ticking the boxes and the Conservative Party have beleive it or not become more appealling.
    I also admire Tom Hayward for commenting above re the attiude of some Snp posters on here.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 7

    phill February 20, 2016 11:52 am Reply
  • Jolly good old chep! Old Tom talkin the cobblers! Anyone for teeee!

    Clearly defined policies.. Immigration booooooooo,

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 25

    No Cheese Here February 20, 2016 12:30 pm Reply
    • NO CHEESE HERE, in its current format your comment makes no sense. Could you possibly place some meat on the bones.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 6

      Offshore View February 20, 2016 12:41 pm Reply
  • whiff of the farmyard from NCH

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

    Tom Hayward February 20, 2016 12:38 pm Reply
  • Civil war breaks out in Tory world!
    Lovin it!!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

    Hugh Jazz February 20, 2016 7:22 pm Reply
  • A 34% turnout is an absolute disgrace, and leaves no room whatever for crowing, wailing or extrapolation.
    What does it tell us? That the voters are totally bored with the politics and feeble machinations of A&BC? Or that the voters are totally bored with politics full-stop?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    ClootieDumpling February 25, 2016 3:21 pm Reply
    • Clootie, I agree that a 34% turnout is a disgrace, but I do begin to wonder if local elections are at present a waste of time, effort and public money under the present government. Afterall, the council cannot raise the Council Tax to increase or even maintain local services – they are forced to accept and work with the government block grant.

      This is clearly undemocratic.

      The reality is that no candidate or group of candidates can offer anything fresh or new because of the limitations of the grant, not to mention the larger than expected cut this year.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

      JimB February 25, 2016 6:30 pm Reply

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