Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Was Glenrothes Fixed For Labour?

The result of the Glenrothes by-election, which shocked many political pundits, has been thrown into doubt after the records of everyone who voted in last year's crucial by-election have gone missing. 

The SNP is calling for an inquiry when it emerged all the marked electoral registers for the by-election, so crucial for Brown's credibility, had been lost by the courts. 

November's by-election result surprised many pundits including the Orange Party, who predicted an SNP win.

Brown had staked everything on Glenrothes but even the prime minister and wife Sarah couldn't stem the tide, with the Scottish Labour Party holding onto the Glenrothes seat in Fife by a slim six thousand plus. 

The SNP were out-gunned and out-manoeuvred, as the government pulled out all the stops to make sure New Labour did not suffer a humiliating defeat, particularly in Brown's back-yard. 

But if Brown couldn't pull it off there, all credibility would be lost. The sight of the first lady of Downing Street campaigning, in what was after all a minor by-election, raised a few eye brows at the time. 

Tricia Marwick, Nationalist MSP for Central Fife, said the blunder over the missing records was "beyond belief" and called for an independent inquiry, adding: "It is almost beyond belief that a by-election which attracted media coverage throughout the UK, which delivered such a surprise result and had a much higher turnout than anticipated, now has no records to show who actually voted."

Meanwhile a question marks hang over around 7,000 requests made for postal votes very shortly before the election. 

Schoolmaster and head of Brown's old school, Lindsay Roy, won the by-election on November 6 last year, polling 19,946 votes. SNP candidate Peter Grant, leader of Fife Council, came second with 13,209 votes, on a turnout of 52.37 per cent, which was higher than expected.

The Orange Party, like many was deeply suspicious over the timing and conduct of the election. 

The date had been fixed for just after the US elections, to bury any likely defeat. Every opportunity was used by BBC 'news' to spin and drop political electioneering into the bulletins, hailing the final result with a "Labour victorious" headline.  

In his victory speech, Roy took every opportunity to bang on about Brown with a speech that looked uncannily like it had been written by Downing Street:

"I pledge my support to the leader of this country ... Someone who has worked very hard on behalf of all of us, not just in Fife, but in Scotland and the UK during these volatile economic times." 

Picture: Successful Scottish Labour Party candidate Lindsay Roy campaigning in the Glenrothes by-election 

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