SNP take Penicuik (Midlothian) from Labour with 25% lead over Tories and 46% of total vote


After the transfer of second and third preferences, Joe Wallace of the SNP won the Penicuik (Midlothian) by-election last night to make the SNP the largest party in the council.

By stage 3, Joe Wallace had 2237 votes to Tory candidate Murdo Macdonald’s 1788, giving him a 25% overall lead and 46% of the total vote of 4781.

With a high turnout for local politics of 42.9%, a 46% overall vote and evidence of Labour supporters giving more of their second and third preferences to the SNP, this result is more positive for the SNP than the underwhelming media response.

574 2nd and 3rd preference votes went to the SNP with only 335 going to the Tories.

We can take five things, reasonably, from these results:

  1. The notion of ‘SNP peak’ having passed with the 2017 General Election is wrong
  2. With 46% of the overall vote, support for the SNP and for the Yes campaign still has a solid base
  3. The Richard Leonard effect is minimal
  4. The Corbyn effect is fading
  5. The willingness of Labour supporters to betray their progressive policies to preserve the Union is less strong judging by the transferable votes above than it might have appeared a year or so ago. See:

Has loyalty to ‘Great’ Britain trumped progressive policies for fleeing Labour voters and produced a Tory surge?

I’m not getting carried away but it’s still a good news story.



4 thoughts on “SNP take Penicuik (Midlothian) from Labour with 25% lead over Tories and 46% of total vote

  1. John March 24, 2018 / 10:16 am

    It IS a good news story , we are still holding up regardless of all the snash we get from MSM , by their actions every single council should be Unionist by now !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald. March 24, 2018 / 11:04 am

    I agree, that it is a ‘good news’ story.

    it prompted a question in my anoraky mathematical mindset. John Robertson has expressed the SNP’s (and other’s) vote share after two rounds of redistribution as a percentage of the total votes cast. I have not seen this before. Usually, probably due to the habit of FPTP it is the only first preference votes that are usually given as a percentage. I suspect that this mirrors the ‘polarised’ mindset of the media (and a fair number of the rest of us!) that we are either FOR or AGAINST, YES or NO, LEAVE or REMAIN, Labour or Tory, etc. It makes things much easier for them to express their simplistic distortions, which are based on the perfectionist fallacy: Jeremy Corbyn is a vegetarian and he will pass laws to ban meat, so, if you want to continue enjoying the roast beef of olde England vote Tory.

    In Council elections for some years now, we have all been voting for a list of candidates, so that as well as voting for our favoured party/candidate we also indicate a degree of support for other parties/candidates, right down to putting the Tory in last place (am I showing a bit of bias here?) There are tactical considerations in play, but, we are also indicating that there are aspects of other parties’/candidates’ policies with which we agree.

    So, expressing vote share as a percentage after various redistributions is one reasonable way of presenting things as long as other ways are used. Despite the media and many unionist politicians’ assertions to the contrary, most people (the bastards) are capable of making balanced decisions and of comprehending how various voting systems work.

    Of course, via ‘focus groups and Cambridge Analytica, politicians do use such analyses, but mendaciously to nudge people to vote for binary issues which their black arts have identified: ”
    Hate your Hispanic neighbour? Well vote Trump. Don’t bother about your loss of health care, the poor schools for your children, the deterioration of public services, the reduction of taxes on the wealthy, just vote for THE DONALD and he will BUILD THAT WALL!”


  3. Contrary March 26, 2018 / 6:54 am

    Indeed, that IS interesting that ‘labour voters’ will allow themselves to vote SNP as second preference – do they actually realise they have a better chance of getting better services through the SNP councillors? Actions speak louder than words? Let’s face it, Scotland is in a very very much better place because of the SNP – they might not be perfect, but the alternative (particularly in some councils, where corruption has been rife, allegedly) would seem to be chaos and self-destruction. Once all the crony-ism is ousted maybe politicians of all ilks will realise they need to have integrity to work in the field?? Over-optimistic?

    You are so right Alasdair, our dim-witted black and white media wants so much to bring us down to their level.


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