Result of the Scottish Parliament in 2011: SNP 69, Lab 37, Con 15, Lib Dem 5, Green 2, Ind 1 (SNP overall majority of 9)
Result of constituency at last election: SNP 11,010 (38%), Lab 10,420 (36%), Lib Dem 5,776 (20%), Con 2,093 (7%) SNP GAIN from Lib Dem
Candidates duly nominated: Peter Adams (UKIP), John Black (Scottish Jacobite Party), Cara Hilton (Lab), Zara Kitson (Green), Susan Leslie (Lib Dem), James Reekie (Con), Shirley-Anne Somerville (SNP)
Dunfermline (and Dunfermline West) are about as rock solid a Labour seat as you can possibly imagine. In 1997, Rachel Squire was elected MP with a 12,354 (34%) majority over the SNP and when Scott Barrie was elected as the first MSP for the constituency he still managed to rack up a very impressive 16% majority over the SNP. Which makes what happened in 2003 – 2011 even more remarkable. The first chink to appear in Labour’s armour was a Local Hospital candidate in 2003. Local Hospitals were a very important issue in that election with candidates supporting them springing up in Dunfermline East (8%), Eastwood (8%), Glasgow, Cathcart (11%), winning in Strathkelvin (31%) and in Dunfermline West taking a very impressive 18% of the vote. Then came the first real body blow. Lib Dem GAIN Dunfermline West and Fife at the 2006 Westminster by-election whilst leaderless. It was a body blow that Labour never really recovered from as in 2007 the Lib Dems did the double and won the Scottish Parliamentary constituency on an 11% swing and turning the seat into a three way marginal. Although Labour recovered the by-election loss at the general election in 2010 and boundary changes made the new Dunfermline seat even more easier to gain the sudden (and completely unexpected) surge in SNP support in the polls at the expense of the Lib Dems leading up to the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections meant that Labour had no chance and sure enough the SNP gained the seat on a swing of 13% from Lib Dem to SNP (with the Labour vote only going up 2% compared with the national calculations). But since those elections, things have not been going all the SNP’s way. First, thanks to various policy decisions, the SNP’s majority of nine has now been reduced to the verge of losing their majority. Secondly, in the recent local elections last year for Fife there was a 3% swing from the SNP to Lab and thirdly in the by-election to Aberdeen, Donside back in June, there was a swing of 9% from the SNP to Lab. Everything seems to be headed up towards a Lab gain from SNP and the possible loss of Alex Salmond’s majority in Parliament. Not precisely the best start to the referendum campaign that Alex Salmond wanted.