Central Scotland, bookended by Scotland’s two largest cities, was built on extractive industry. Areas of the region have been identified as possible sites for fracking, with considerable local opposition – and the topic is a bone of contention within the SNP who haven’t committed to an outright ban.
IN DEPTH ANALYSIS
The region seems to inspire feistiness in its political representatives, with examples being Donald Gorrie, Dennis Canavan, and Eric Joyce. Also the internal party organisation of the main parties in the region seems prone to controversy, with the current suspension of the Coatbridge and Chryston branch from the SNP just the latest episode.
Whether this ‘little local difficulty’ has an impact given the national trends it will be interesting to see.
CURRENT CONSTITUENCY MSPs
Airdrie and Shotts - Alex Neil SNP
Coatbridge and Chryston - Elaine Smith LAB
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth - Jamie Hepburn SNP
East Kilbride - Linda Fabiani SNP
Falkirk East - Angus MacDonald SNP
Falkirk West - Michael Matheson SNP
Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse - Christina McKelvie SNP
Motherwell and Wishaw - John Pentland LAB
Uddingston and Bellshill - Michael McMahon LAB
CONSTITUENCIES TO WATCH
All the sitting constituency MSPs are defending their seats - if the polls are correct then the three Labour MSPs look set to be losing out to the SNP unless local issues and incumbency can see them buck the national trend – Elaine Smith in Coatbridge and Chryston and Michael McMahon in Uddingston and Bellshill stand the best chance of doing so.
Elaine’s chances are enhanced by the possibility that former SNP candidate and now Green representative John Wilson might split the vote. Michael could benefit (or be hindered by) his family’s history in the region and the current in-fighting in the SNP groups.
CURRENT REGIONAL LIST SEAT ALLOCATION
REGIONAL LIST WATCH
Given the history of the region and the sharp swings from Labour to SNP, it’s quite possible that rather than allowing a smaller party in, the last list seat will be a marginal call between Labour and the SNP.
If the SNP don’t win all of the constituencies, they will pick up a couple of list seats, probably going to Sophia Coyle and Julie Hepburn at third and fourth on the SNP list as Alex Neil and Christina McKelvie should win their constituencies comfortably. Even if they do a clean sweep of the constituencies, Sophia could pick up one list seat.
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