There will be much analysis of Lindsay Roys great win yesterday in Glenrothes by folk far closer to the detail than I, so I will simply say that it brings great hope that we can still communicate and we are beginning to act like a coherent, scrutinising opposition, But to mangle a cliche; one by-election victory does win the war that will be a General election. Nor does it completely heal a hurting brand..though it helps tremendously.
I will however, offer a little closer scrutiny of what happened in Forth with Cammy Days superb win for the people of Forth. In Elizabeth they lost a fighter for their cause, in Cammy they got one back;
Here's 5 reasons why Cammy won
1.High quality local candidate who put in the hours on the door step
2. Backed up by better use of voter id than we'd done before for a Council level election
3. We kept it local, very local, like street to street local
4. The Libs are already a tainted brand; Robes, junkets, traffic chaos, botched school closures, cuts to the voluntary sector to name but a few wounds. Interestingly, it did not seem to taint the SNP who have sneakily distanced themselves from the tough calls.
5. The Tories voters realised that if their man did not win, the 29/29 balance on the Council needed to be maintained and so were prepared to transfer to us in almost equal numbers to us as to the SNP.
Which is why we are in a new politics like we have never been before. Without Cammy and his teams brilliant campaign to get home to the place to be the recipient on those transfers he would not have won, but need them he did. This suggests something of a sophistication in votes that rarely, other than in a classic "anybody but" campaign do they have the chance to express in first past the post.
I have always been a fan of proportional representation even though I knew initially it would cost my Party a great deal, But it is fairer, demonstrably so, as can be seen by this by election. Some of my less enlightened colleagues will say "ah but Cammy would have won under 1st past the post" True, but that assumes that winning is enough on its own. This way, more people than labour voters now have had a hand in electing Cammy. He now has a base wider than our voters to work with. They probably won't vote Labour 1st preference but with a good hard working track record as He will no doubt have, he now has a relationships with those beyond the party faithful that, if nurtured will form the basis of the consensus political culture that many call for but our present political structures severely inhibit. Yes, things have changed, and not just across the pond but here to in our own back yard.
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