In Scotland’s fourth city, the SNP regained the majority they had lost in 2017, winning the extra seat needed to give them the magic number of 15. That was more to do with the Conservatives’ collapse than their own growth however, as their vote share was completely flat. That’s also an apt description for Labour’s seat share, though they did have a moderate positive swing in votes. The Lib Dems meanwhile did exactly as well as I’d predicted they could before the election, picking up the double in West End, and the seat formerly held by a retiring Independent in Strathmartine, underpinned by a weighty 5% increase in their vote.
It was a very poor election for the Conservatives, who lost two seats to end up with just their solitary councillor in Broughty Ferry again. STV’s relatively mild proportionality really catches them out in Dundee. Speaking of being caught out by lower proportionality, the Greens had a solid result from standing in every ward for the first time, including three wards with shares of 9-10%. That may be a base for success in 2027, but it got them nothing this time. Finally, in the only council area they stood a full slate, Alba performed slightly worse than at Holyrood last year, despite an incumbent defecting councillor.
The SNP were elected as a majority administration.
Scotland’s fourth city once sat within Angus, but has long since grown to such size and import as to be its own unit without governing attachment to a county. The current city is a bit smaller than the 70’s version, which had included the flanking villages of Invergowrie and Monifieth plus scattered villages to the north. Once famed for the three J’s of Jute, Jam and Journalism, Dundee could be seen in some respects as an easterly parallel Glasgow, with a strong industrial era, followed by some tough post-industrial years, and now undergoing a cultural revival.
As you’d expect from a major industrialised city in Scotland, Labour were long the dominant force here. However, things were much messier than in Glasgow. At Westminster the east end of the city was a site of early SNP success, as their leader throughout the 80’s, Gordon Wilson, represented the seat from 1974 until 1987 when Labour won it. The SNP re-took the seat in 2005, sandwiched between them winning the Holyrood equivalent in 2003 and then the western seat in 2007. All Dundee constituencies have been in their hands since taking West at Westminster in 2015.
Despite this the city council wasn’t so inclined in the old district era, with the SNP not winning any councillors until 1984. Instead, the Conservatives were Labour’s main local opposition, and indeed were the largest party (just) in both 1977 and 1980. Even had the Conservatives not been experiencing a complete collapse in the 90’s, the new boundaries had removed most of their best areas. Labour won an easy majority in 1995, a tougher challenge from the SNP reduced them to a minority in 1999, before the SNP themselves took a minority lead in 2003.