It was an absolute corker in Edinburgh’s Leith Walk ward for the first City council by-election since Ballot Box Scotland launched. Although it was prompted by a Labour resignation, the SNP had a clear lead in the ward in 2017 which I reckoned stood them in good stead for winning the by-election.
In another first for Ballot Box Scotland, April will see us taking a trip to the capital for the first City by-election since this project started.
For our first by-election of 2019, we’re making a return trip to the Wee County. Following on from last year’s Clacks North by-election, Clackmannanshire Central has also just seen the resignation of an SNP Councillor, with Phil Fairlie choosing to step down for personal reasons.
Given I spend a lot of time as it is thinking about elections in Scotland but polling has been thin on the ground recently, a look at some of the questions that should be being asked seemed worthwhile.
A year is a long time in politics, and 2018 has felt longer than many as Brexit rumbled on, and on, and on… and on. But local politics doesn’t stop for big national or international issues, and this was a reasonably busy year for council by-elections.
We finished up 2018 with two by-elections at opposite ends of the country – one in the Highlands and one in Dumfries & Galloway. Both of these are large, rural wards but with quite different political histories.