Vote up, share of vote up and up to 3rd place – good result for Team Christine in Aberdeen Donside

aberdeen donside hqChristine Jardine and her team delivered an excellent result for the Liberal Democrats in the Aberdeen Donside Scottish Parliament by-election. Bearing in mind that we had come 4th in the seat 2 years ago, many pundits thought we would lose our deposit and might even come behind UKIP. In the end, we leapfrogged the Tories to grab 3rd place, with a vote share up from 6% to 8.3%. All that on a fraction of the budget enjoyed by Labour and the SNP.

The seat was won by the SNP’s Mark McDonald with a much reduced majority. The result in full was:

Mark McDonald (SNP)          9814   41.9%     -13.5%

Willie Young (Labour)           7789  33.3%     +4.8%

Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrats)  1940 8.3% +2.3%

Ross Thomson (Conservative) 1791 7.6%   -0.5%

Otto Inglis (UKIP) 1128 4.8% – didn’t stand in 2011

Rhonda Reekie (Scottish Greens) 410 1.7% – didn’t stand in 2011

Dave MacDonald (National Front) 249 1% +0.2%

Tom Morrow (Scottish Christian Party) 222 0.9% didn’t stand in 2011

James Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance) 35 0.1% didn’t stand in 2011

Goes to show what a strong candidate, the right message and a great team can do

This time last year, Christine Jardine was still walking the corridors of power as a Special Adviser to Nick Clegg. She returned home last July and has now achieved the Party’s best parliamentary by-election result in Scotland since Willie Rennie’s stunning victory in Dunfermline 7 years ago. We could easily have been squeezed, but her strong and engaging media performance, a resonant message on the SNP short-changing Aberdeen, early years education and what the Liberal Democrats were achieving in the UK Government, and a bright, young team who worked their socks off delivered a result we can be pleased with. It’s a tough ask to increase your vote share on a shoestring when you’re facing the SNP and Labour campaign machines at full pelt but we did it. Seriously, when I was up there two weeks ago, I wondered if we’d find a quorum for the Scottish Parliament just on the street we were on. They fought this hard.

UKIP who?

The good folk of Donside didn’t take much to Nigel Farage. So much for his aims to overtake us and the Conservatives. His candidate lost his deposit.

Liberal Youth Scotland were fantastic

That bright young team I mentioned above? Liberal Youth Scotland didn’t just come and deliver leaflets, they took on responsibility, showed leadership and we owe them a great deal.

What the papers say…

Don’t just take it from me –the Herald, a paper which never normally lets anything positive about the Liberal Democrats slip into its pages, says:

After a disastrous election in 2011 when the Lib Dems’ complement of MSPs was slashed from 16 to five, and very poor council elections last year, Christine Jardine achieved a pretty good result for her party.

They would have settled for keeping their deposit, but defeating the Tories was a bonus and will give the LibDems a boost. Their share of the vote jumped from 6% in 2011 to 8%.

A late push and focusing on parts of Donside which lie in LibDem MP Malcolm Bruce’s Gordon constituency helped as

the battle between the SNP and Labour squeezed all the other parties. Talk of a 2015 general election Lib =Dem wipeout may be premature.

We must build on this result

In Donside, we must keep up the connections with new supporters and build on the work that’s been done in this campaign, but this result comes after a series of good Council by-election performances across Scotland (and the UK as well)  in the past year.  When we get out there on the doorsteps with smiles on our faces and our heads held high, people not only smile back, but they vote for us too. The atmosphere out there has become a lot friendlier than it was in 2011.  We are learning that delivering leaflets is not enough. We have to get out there and talk to people. The sooner we step up our doorstep activity, the better our prospects for 2015.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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8 Comments

  • Gavin Hamilton 21st Jun '13 - 10:11am

    Yes! The LibDems increased their vote, and beat the Tory, the UKIP and the Greens. Many said we wouldn’t do that. A lot of people have got a little ahead of themselves with their schadenfreude re LDs in the last couple of years!

    As Caron says, good candidate, residual strength in parts of constituency, decent campaign with effective messages well executed. And loads of energy and enthusiasm.

    Telephone canvassing in Scotland, while not exactly finding folks flocking to our banner I am finding a lot of the hostility has gone. And we’re beginning to achieve things in government, we’re beginning to mark out our territory as consistently the most pro devolution party, and we’re beginning to move ahead where we campaign again. Maybe, just maybe, Donside marks a turning of the tide for us in Scotland.

    Let’s roll the waters back.

  • robert sayer 21st Jun '13 - 10:40am

    I think there is a lesson for all of us. Wherever you are ,we should fight all by elections local or national. You dont get back to winning if you are not in the race

  • David Evans 21st Jun '13 - 5:24pm

    A good result, from a good team. Turning the corner was always going to be difficult, but it’s a real step in the right direction.

    Well done!

  • David Allen 21st Jun '13 - 6:28pm

    Yes yes yes! From single figures up to higher single figures! It’s the new millenium, it’s the tiding of the turn, it’s the men in white coats….

  • Their share of the vote jumped from 6% in 2011 to 8%.

    Seriously?! Things are desperate indeed if this is headline news and the best we have to shout about.

  • David White 22nd Jun '13 - 7:43am

    A BIG well done to Christine Jardine. It’s particularly pleasing that the LibDem beat the OldCon candidate (or should I say Condidate?)

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 22nd Jun '13 - 9:31am

    David and Julian, as party members, you would think you would show a little more respect to the fantastic, motivated, confident, positive team who delivered a quality campaign on a shoestring. If the patterns of previous by-elections (including Glenrothes, where we spent 77 days for 2.5% of the vote, which was in 2008, pre coalition by the way) had stuck, we’d have been squeezed into oblivion. Instead, Christine Jardine wedged her sandal firmly in the door and was heard.

    The rest of us should take confidence from this result, get back out, positively and confidently on the doorsteps rather than sniping at the achievements of our colleagues….

  • Tony Greaves 22nd Jun '13 - 10:17pm

    “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose”

    We should have nothing but praise for people who go into contests like this and fight the cause and come out with something to show for it. They are the future of this party.

    People like Dave and Julian should perhaps reserve their scorn for our national leaders who still seem to be blundering on into oblivion while pretending we are now a “permanent party of government”.

    Tony

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