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Friday, February 10, 2006

Dunfermline and West Fife

The result is in:

Willie Rennie Scottish Liberal Democrats 12,391
Labour 10,591
SNP 7,261
Tories 2,702

It is a sensational result for the Liberal Democrats. A majority of 1,800. As Willie Rennie says this is a powerful message to Number Ten and Number Eleven Downing Street. Labour need to start listening to people. The Liberal Democrats have shown that they are the main challengers to Labour in their heartlands. This by-election has shown that the Conservatives are irrelevant across much of Britain. One thing has not changed under David Cameron, that is losing.
It would be churlish not to pass on my congratulations on the Dunfermline by-election. Well done. Interesting that Lib dem victories are normally built on squeezing the third party and this didnot happen with the SNP vote share increasing.

Labour are in serious trouble.....
I think saying the Conservatives are "irrelevant across much of Britain" is a bit unrealistic seeing as Dunfermline and West Fife is a traditional left wing seat. Have a little look at the political make up of the south east; it's a sea of blue.

Don't get on your high horse; the Conservatives still have almost four times as many MPs as the Liberal Democrats do.

However, I do agree with you when you say Labour are in trouble, and are on their way out. It will be interesting to see who beats them at the next election...
That is a spectacularly good performance by any standards, but especially given the Lib Dems recent setbacks.

It is also a major contrast with the nationalists who have failed to take two recent Scottish by-elections from Labour where they were in second place.

Clearly however it is difficult to see this result's significance in terms of next years Scottish Parliamentary elections. This is a Commons seat being contested between the two parties who are in coalition in Holyrood. Clearly the Lib Dems will need to win it next May if they want to consolidate their hold and stop Labour regaining it in 2009 or whenever the next UK general election is called, but i doubt it gives many clear pointers to the way things will go in the rest of Scotland.

Instant reaction must be that this is bad for Brown and good for Ming. The effects though will soon fade for Brown whose prospects of becoming PM are dependent ultimately on the continuing robust health of the economy, but coming at this moment the result may give Ming a sufficient bounce to secure the vital transfers he needs from Hughes supporters to win the leadership crown.
Taken in the context of other by-election results in Scotland (chiefly local government) and the opinion polls there I would say this bodes very well for the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections. Ming and Hughes may well of course be looking for transfers from Huhne!
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