New Times,
New Thinking.

13 November 2009

Measuring Glasgow North-East

Triumph for Labour; disaster for the SNP

By James Macintyre

The scale of Labour’s victory in the Glasgow North-East by-election, in the seat of the former Speaker Michael Martin, has surprised some commentators and no doubt angered the right-wing Tory blogosphere. Early this morning the new MP for the constituency, Willie Bain, and the Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, hailed the result as a personal endorsement of Gordon Brown and his handling of the economy. We will see.

What is clear is that the result is a disaster for the supposedly resurgent Scottish National Party. Coming after recent polls showing — as always — a clear majority of Scots in favour of remaining in the Union with England, which is greater than the sum of its parts, the outcome will be a bitter disappointment to separatists and a relief to Labour, whose lead over the SNP has now jumped from 16.3 per cent to 39.4 per cent — a swing of 11.5 per cent.

Taking this, and the wave of sympathy created for Brown by the Sun‘s own-goal on his letters to families of the fallen in Afghanistan, the past week — unfashionable though it may be to admit it — has been a relatively good one for the Prime Minister.

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