I've just heard the news that Liberal Democrat Alasdair Christie is the new Councillor for Inverness West, gaining the seat from the SNP who were about 125 ahead in 2007 in the ward. However you look at it, it's a huge swing to the Liberal Democrats from the SNP - certainly over 20%. Perhaps the reason the swing is so big is that the SNP have let local people down by failing to provide the funding for the much needed Inverness by-pass.
The result in full:
Alasdair Christie (Lib Dem) 1503 - 60%
Brian o'hEadhra (SNP) 556 - 22%
Andrew Mackintosh (Lab) 210 - 8%
Sheila MacLaughlin (Christian Party) 115 - 5%
Donald Gunn Macdonald (Con) 111 - 4%
George Macdonald (Solidarity) 27 - 1%
It's a miserable result for the Tories, languishing in 5th place with just 4% of the vote. They also failed to win another by-election in West Aberdeenshire, with victory going again to the Lib Dems, whose new Councillor is Rosemary Bruce. Preliminary figures there are:
Rosemary Bruce, Liberal Democrat 969
After much transferring of votes, Rosemary was elected on the 5th count with 1566 votes ahead of the Tories' 1468. The Tories threw the kitchen sink at the by-election and will be very disappointed with the result. Labour couldn't even find a candidate.
As for the SNP, some have set great store by a poll showing SNP gains published in today's Herald. Well, real votes in real ballot boxes, a good 5 times more than the poll sample, don't tell such a good story for the SNP.
Who's soaring now? It sure isn't them.
This all bodes well for George Lyon's campaign to become the Liberal Democrats' next MEP in June. Rosemary has been a friend of mine for years and I know she'll be a terrific councillor, as will Alasdair in Inverness. Congratulations to both and their fabulous campaign teams. Oh, and this guy might have helped too.