Is there any chance of holding on in the seat next door?
Above are some recycling bins in Glenrothes – the Fife constituency next to Gordon’s where Labour’s next by-election nightmare looks set to take place. This follows the death, reported earlier in the day, of John MacDougall who had been an MP for seven years.
With Labour getting 51.9% of the vote last time to the SNP’s 23.4% the election would in normal times be a Labour hold on a smaller turnout but with a much reduced majority. By the weekend afterwards everybody would have forgotten about it.
But these are not normal times and it’s hard to see this not being another by-election catastrophe for Mr. Brown – yet again in his own back yard. For if Glenrothes is lost then three out of the four Labour by-election disasters in this parliament will have been in Scotland. Dunfermline and West Fife by-election went Lib Dem in February 2006.
Perhaps the only positive thing for Labour is that expectations are so low that a defeat, even by a wide margin, is likely to have nothing like the same impact as Glasgow East.