Tag Archives: Hamilton West

The big lie behind the Labour Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election swing

Well done to Scottish Labour for winning the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election on Thursday (October 5) – but I think some people might be overstating it a bit:

The percentage swings are all wrong, of course, because they are only ever taken as percentages of the turnout – and not of the electorate.

So let’s run the numbers. The electorate is currently taken to be 81,124 people. So in the 2019 general election, when Labour won 18,545 votes, that would have been around 22.9 per cent of the electorate.

On Thursday, Labour won 17,845 votes – around 22 per cent of the electorate.

So instead of a 20.4 per cent swing to Labour, the vote actually showed a 0.9 per cent swing away from that party; 700 fewer people supported Labour.

Now look at Beth Rigby’s comment below:

“That sort of swing, if replicated in a GE, could see Labour gain 41 seats”. Really? Losing 0.9 per cent of the vote in every constituency in Scotland at a general election will give Labour 41 seats?

I have a doubt…

Of course, the turnout for this by-election was extremely low:

Here are the turnouts for by-elections over the last two years: you can see that Rutherglen and Hamilton West had the lowest turnout of the lot – and the second biggest percentage fall…

… so Joe Pass’s comment makes no sense to This Writer. The percentage change is important, but being within the range quoted doesn’t make the point silly – it reinforces the point, because it’s the second-greatest fall.

And the greatest fall was in a constituency that still had 44 per cent turnout – that’s 6.8 per cent more than Rutherglen and Hamilton West, with an electorate of nearly 88,000 – so, around 7,000 more voters to start with, and around 8,500 more people voted. That means Joe Pass’s claim is doubly wrong – the actual number turning out is important.

This is not a “huge win” for Labour. It is a minor disaster.

It could be argued that the numbers are less important because a general election always attracts more votes, but if that just means a proportionate drop in voters, then Labour will be in even more trouble.

And there’s no evidence that this won’t happen.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Be among the first to know what’s going on! Here are the ways to manage it:

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the right margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

5) Join the uPopulus group at https://upopulus.com/groups/vox-political/

6) Join the MeWe page at https://mewe.com/p-front/voxpolitical

7) Feel free to comment!

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: