East Renfrewshire have released detailed results from the council elections, and so I’ve created a few colourful graphs.
In Neilston, Uplawmoor and Newton Mearns North, the SNP, the Tories and Labour put forward two candidates each. In 2007, the results were SNP 1, Tories 2 and Labour 1, and the question was whether the SNP or Labour would be able to snatch a seat from the Tories. This was also the only ward with a Green candidate, and it would be interesting to see what the level of Green support would be.
Somewhat surprisingly, Labour’s two candidates got almost identical levels of support, and there was never any realistic chance of the fourth seat going to either the Tories or the SNP. The Green candidate did relatively well, beating the SNP’s Frank Rankin.
In Barrhead, the result was the same as last time — Labour 2, SNP 1, Indep. 1. However, it could have ended differently: The two SNP candidates both got more votes in the first round than Labour’s Kenny Hay. However, once the surplus votes from the top Labour candidate were redistributed, Mr. Hay leapt ahead and the SNP candidates didn’t get enough lower preferences from the eliminated candidates to make up for this, so only one of them was elected. However, the difference between Labour’s second candidate and SNP’s candidates was very slight, and the election could easily have seen two SNP candidates elected.
However, I must say the SNP and the Tories were quite lucky that Labour didn’t field two candidates, given that Jim Fletcher’s surplus was 573 votes, so a second Labour candidate would possibly only have needed in the vicinity of 500 first preferences to have got elected.
In Netherlee, Stamperland and Williamwood the Tories’ Gordon McCaskill narrowly beat the SNP’s Irene Anderson; however, this fight could easily have ended differently — there were only 85 votes between them in the end.
In Newton Mearns South, the Tories easily got two of their three candidates elected, and the real question was who would win the third and last seat — the Tories, the SNP or Labour? Labour’s Ian McAlpine was ahead all along, but he only got close to winning once he got the redistributed votes after the SNP’s Frank Angell was eliminated. The thing is that the Tories’ Alistair Haw just as easily could have been eliminated before Frank Angell, and where would his surplus votes have gone? If Tory voters prefer the SNP to Labour (which is by no means certain), that could in theory have seen Frank Angell elected ahead of Ian McAlpine.
The Tories had put forward two candidates, but there was absolutely no way they could both have got elected.
To conclude, I think the only SNP candidate that didn’t have any realistic chance of getting elected was Frank Rankin in Ward 1 — the rest would have got elected with just a little extra luck.
The Tories were clearly putting forward too many candidates — I think they need to own up to the fact that they will never get a majority in East Renfrewshire on their own again.
Labour could possibly have got one or two more candidates elected, and I would expect them to field one or two more candidates in 2017.
The LibDems were miles away from getting anybody elected, and I think it’s a waste of their energy to put forward candidates in most wards.
The Greens did relatively well, and I would expect to put forward more candidates next time.