Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath

2015 Result:
Conservative: 5223 (9.9%)
Labour: 17654 (33.4%)
Lib Dem: 1150 (2.2%)
SNP: 27628 (52.2%)
UKIP: 1237 (2.3%)
MAJORITY: 9974 (18.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Mid Scotland and Fife. Part of the Fife council area.

Main population centres: Kirkcaldy, Cowdenbeath, Kelty, Lochgelly, Burntisland, Kinghorn, Dalgety Bay.

Profile: Kirkcaldy is the biggest town in Fife, once the world leader in the manufacture of Linoleum but more recently an administrative, service and retail centre for the wider Fife area. Other settlements includes the coastal towns of Burntisland, Kinghorn and Dalgety Bay, and the former coal mining areas of Cowdenbeath and Kelty.

Politics: Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath was one of the safest Labour seats in Scotland, best known for being represented by former Chancellor and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but like many seats thought inpregnable it fell to the SNP in their 2015 landslide.


Current MP
ROGER MULLIN (SNP) Former education consultant and professor. Contested Paisley North 1990 by-election, 1992. First elected as MP for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 4258 (9%)
Lab: 29559 (65%)
LDem: 4269 (9%)
SNP: 6550 (14%)
Oth: 1166 (3%)
MAJ: 23009 (50%)
2005
Con: 4308 (10%)
Lab: 24278 (58%)
LDem: 5450 (13%)
SNP: 6062 (15%)
Oth: 1698 (4%)
MAJ: 18216 (44%)
2001*
Con: 3013 (11%)
Lab: 15227 (54%)
LDem: 2849 (10%)
SNP: 6264 (22%)
Oth: 804 (3%)
MAJ: 8963 (32%)
1997
Con: 4779 (14%)
Lab: 18730 (54%)
LDem: 3031 (9%)
SNP: 8020 (23%)
Oth: 413 (1%)
MAJ: 10710 (31%)

2015 Candidates
DAVE DEMPSEY (Conservative) Born Kirkcaldy. Fife councillor. Contested Cowdenbeath 2013 Scottish Parliament by-election.
KENNY SELBIE (Labour) Local government officer. Fife councillor.
CALLUM LESLIE (Liberal Democrat) Born Kirkcaldy. Educated at Balwearie High School and Edinburgh University. Writer and broadcaster.
JACK NEILL (UKIP) Educated at Inverkeithing High School and West of Scotland University. Student.
ROGER MULLIN (SNP) Professor and education consultant. Contested Paisley North 1990 by-election, 1992.
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Comments - 360 Responses on “Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath”
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  1. I wonder if Brown will stay on “move up” to the Lords in 2015.

  2. Id be amazed if he stays on.

  3. Cowdenbeath MSP Helen Eadie would probably be the favourite to replace Gordon here.

  4. Dalgety Bay looks a nice place- fantastic views of the Firth of Forth. I imagine it is popular with commuters to Edinburgh. I wonder how well the Tories do there?

  5. Its the one ward in the area that elects a Tory councillor.

  6. Given all the revelations in McBride’s book, do fellow posters think it would be fair to describe Gordon Brown as Britain’s worst post-war prime minister?

  7. ‘Given all the revelations in McBride’s book, do fellow posters think it would be fair to describe Gordon Brown as Britain’s worst post-war prime minister?’

    Tory voters might think that but judged purely on theor stints as PM’s surely Eden and Douglas-Home were the wirst of the lot – closely followed by Wilson I would argue

    I’d say Brown comes next

  8. Interesting.

    Peter Hennessy ranks Home and Wilson above Major, with Major and Eden fighting it out for bottom place. Brown hadn’t yet been PM when he did his “league table”. I had assumed most people would put Brown, Major and Eden at the bottom, but with different views as to who was the absolute worst.

  9. My personal list would be:

    1) McMillan
    2) Atlee
    3) Thatcher
    4) Churchill (obviously post-war as if it was before that he would be top no question)
    5) Blair
    6) Heath
    7) Major
    8) Callaghan
    9) Brown
    10) Wilson
    11) Douglas-Home
    12) Eden

    I suspect the popular list would look more like:

    1) Thatcher
    2) Atlee
    3) Blair
    4) McMillan
    5) Churchill
    6) Wilson
    7) Heath
    8) Callaghan
    9) Brown
    10) Major
    11) Douglas Home
    12) Eden

    Of those it’s only the governments of Atlee, MacMillan, Thatcher and Blair (to an extent) that can be considered successful ones

    Churchill’s stint in the 1950s was too short but in my opinion worthy of credit as he set the Conservative committment to the post-war socual democrat consenses that up until the late 1960s and 70s had this country on the right track

  10. Not quite sure what you have against Alec Douglas-Home, Tim. What did his administration actually do wrong? It’s legislative achievements were modest, but it did help consumers by passing the Resale Prices Act preventing manufacturers overcharging consumers for their products.

    Notably Home’s Tories didn’t lose the ’64 election by much. Given the situation he inherited I think he made a pretty good fist of things.

    Eden has to be at or near the bottom of any ranking of post war PMs. Suez was about the most senseless foreign policy misadventure of the 20th century.

    As to Wilson I often amuse myself by pointing out to Labour people that his administration did more damage to the UK coal industry in five years than Thatcher’s Tories did in double the time.

    Drop in UK coal production 1965-1970 41 million tonnes
    Drop in UK coal production 1980-1990 35 million tonnes

    (Figures from the website of the National Coal Mining Museum)

    I’ve always felt Attlee to be overrated and and Callaghan underrated. The latter didn’t do too badly given the hand he was dealt, while the former’s supposed achievements consisted mostly of spending Marshall Plan aid. Leaving a legacy as PM is made a lot easier if another country helps pick up the tab.

  11. 1) Thatcher
    2) Blair
    3) MacMillan
    4) Attlee
    5) Major
    6) Cameron
    7) Wilson
    8) Churchill
    9) Brown
    10) Heath
    11) Douglas Home
    12) Eden
    13) Callaghan

  12. Top 4 are the standard bearers for their branch of the parties.

    Attlee did not have the electoral success of the other 3, so must be ranked 4th.

  13. I don’t know what Tim is talking about in regards to the social democratic “right path” of the 1960s and 70s, but in my mind those were the decades were Britain fell back in relation to the rest of the world.

  14. I don’t know what Tim is talking about in regards to the social democratic “right path” of the 1960s and 70s, but in my mind those were the decades were Britain fell back in relation to the rest of the world.’

    Read what I actually wrote Joe

    I said that the post war consensus served the UK well UP UNTIL the lates 1960s-1970s – where it somewhat fell apart

    After that we had a Labpur Party hell bebt on nationalising everything and after them a Tory Party that bedloeved in surival of the fittest

    I find the post-war consensus of the 1950s far more preferable to the two ways of ruling that each party adopted after that

  15. I think the notable point to be made about the UK’s Prime Ministers since World War 2 is that popular opinion differs hugely from the views of people who have looked seriously at the political history.

    In relation to Attlee specifically, from a psephological point of view he did spectacularly well in not losing by-elections to the opposition.

    Tim Jones rightly differentiates between Churchill’s performance during the Second World War and his senile Prime Ministership from 1951 – 1955. I can’t help feeling that one reason Churchill is hero-worshipped is that this avoids a fair examination of his record, and don’t forget that Churchill famously pointed out that he was writing his own history.

    It is slightly off the point, but how much notice will be given next year to the Cabinet meetings at the beginning of August 1914. when Churchill and Sir Edward grey two-handedly pushed the cabinet into World War One, with its disastrous results? And conversely how well we remember Burns and Morley, the two Liberal ministers who resigned rather than support the decalration of war?

  16. ‘Not quite sure what you have against Alec Douglas-Home, Tim. What did his administration actually do wrong?’

    To be fair, he didn’t do much wrong, but he did even less right

    His time in office was unremkarkable, rather than error-strewn, which I suppose should put him above half of the others on that list – but he wasn’t leadership masterial, was sertiously lacking in popular charisma and never made any kind of impact politically

    On reflrection, he was probably the most forgettable PM of the post-war era rather than the worst

  17. ‘Tim Jones rightly differentiates between Churchill’s performance during the Second World War and his senile Prime Ministership from 1951 – 1955. I can’t help feeling that one reason Churchill is hero-worshipped is that this avoids a fair examination of his record, and don’t forget that Churchill famously pointed out that he was writing his own history’

    I never understand why people see Chuirchill’s premiership between 1951 and 55 as disastrous

    The Tories embraced the post-war consensus and all it entailed (NHS, welfatre state, NATO etc) and the electorate must have thought they were doing okay as the won the highest ever share of the popular vote with an excellent 49.7% in 1955

    It can’t have been that bad

  18. From a psephological viewpoint Sir Alec Douglas-Home did remarkably well, given the massive Labour lead in 1963 and the increased Liberal vote following Orpington, to hold Labour’s 1964 majority to single figures. If the Conservatives had won just ten more seats – and Labour won a number of seats on very small majorities in that election – history would have remembered Sir Alec very differently.

    I vaguely remember a reading a story of somebody in the 1980s talking to Sir Alec Dougla-Home in the train to Scotland and saying that he would have made a very good Prime Minster. Many years ago, there was a similar story about Arthur Balfour, who became nearly senile when he was Lord President of the Council between 1924 and 1929, as having forgotten that he had been Prime Minister.

  19. The age of the atom bomb ramped up during the 1950s, in line with the freezing of the cold war. Churchill handled that aspect superbly. He never had any interest in domestic policy where it didn’t impinge on defence, even during WW2 he delegated most of this to Attlee. In the 1950s he left health, education, housing etc to the likes of Macmillan and Butler.

  20. H.Hemmelig, Churchill’s delegation of repsonsibility after 1940 was probably wise. But what about his earlier positions as Home Secretary, President of the Board of Trade and Chancellor of the Exchequer? These hardly suggest a lack of interest in domestic policy.

  21. I obviously meant during his time as prime minister.

    Even during his earlier career, however, Churchill’s main interests were defence and foreign and colonial affairs. Perhaps his cabinet appointments were deliberately given to him to keep his nose away from meddling in things he was more interested in. You don’t have to be interested in a brief to be made cabinet minister responsible for it. If that were so you governments would never be able to find ministers willing to be (for example) Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

  22. One of many things in the BBC’s coverage of the 1992 General Election that I found interesting was that when they went to Dunfermline East for Gordon Brown’s acceptance speech, he said ‘as the Conservative vote falls’, referring to the constituency as well as the party nationally, when in fact the Tory vote share actually increased slightly and Brown’s admittedly huge majority was actually slightly reduced.

  23. My prediction for 2015-
    Labour- 63%
    SNP- 18%
    Conservative- 8%
    Liberal Democrat- 6%
    UKIP- 3%
    Others- 2%

  24. The SNP could be a few points higher and Labour a few lower.

    Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath are Labour’s strongest towns in Scotland after Coatbridge.

  25. “One of many things in the BBC’s coverage of the 1992 General Election that I found interesting was that when they went to Dunfermline East for Gordon Brown’s acceptance speech, he said ‘as the Conservative vote falls’, referring to the constituency as well as the party nationally, when in fact the Tory vote share actually increased slightly and Brown’s admittedly huge majority was actually slightly reduced.”

    But when did Gordon Brown ever let facts determine how he should handle figures

  26. “But when did Gordon Brown ever let facts determine how he should handle figures”

    Ha – reminds me of the Telegraph “Matt” cartoon the day Tony Blair turned 50 – showed the Treasury with a caption something like “Oh, we forecast he’d be 53 this year.”

  27. Except Gordon Brown was quite correct in saying the conservative vote fell.

    It was 42.2% in 1987

    It was 41.9% in 1992

    The overall number of votes increased – but that was because turnout increased.

  28. Yes John he was correct that the Conservative vote fell nationally, but he was wrong about the Conservative vote in his own constituency which was actually up 1.7%, while his own vote was down 3.1%.

  29. Yes, I noticed that as well. What was so up impressive about it was that Brown was supposed to be a master of detail, but he got it wrong in his own constituency.

  30. I hate auto-correct. For me (and probably others) it actually increases the number of errors rather than reducing them.

  31. “Being There” with Gordon Brown…..

    when is a sitting MP an ex-politician?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24755543

  32. when some backbencher MPs started to act as an off-center of
    Citizens Advice Bureau rather than legislators?

  33. Helen Eadie, Labour MSP for Cowdenbeath has died age 66.

  34. very sorry to hear this.

  35. She was diagnosed of cancer on October 24th.

  36. Any word on Brown’s future? If Dedward Jr DOES become the next PM then I can’t imagine he’d want his predecessor lingering in the house. It would also be something of a rarity for a former PM to hang around in the house for so long (Thatcher, Major, Blair all left fairly soon – or in Blair’s case VERY soon – after finishing in the position).

  37. Report about the election results in Scotland in 1997 from Scotland Today-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03n35_HByIs

  38. Alex Rowley, leader of Fife Council has been selected as the Labour candidate for the Cowdenbeath by-election in the Scottish Parliament.

  39. Interesting selection, is he a local Councillor in Cowdenbeath? And have the SNP made any selection yet?

  40. ”Helen Eadie, Labour MSP for Cowdenbeath has died age 66.”

    ”She was diagnosed of cancer on October 24th.”

    Can’t believe Helen was diagnosed of cancer on October 24th and died only a two weeks later on 9th November.

    That’s very sad!! My thoughts are with her family and friends!!

  41. It is the Cowdenbeath by election today.

    Labour should hold pretty comfortably. The local MP has been helping out a lot.

  42. Prediction for Cowdenbeath byelection-
    Rowley (Labour)- 52%
    McGarry (SNP)- 36%
    Dempsey (Conservative)- 4.5%
    Baykal (UKIP)- 3.0%
    Holden (Liberal Democrats)- 2%
    Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance)- 1.5%
    Graham (The Victims Final Right)- 1%

  43. LAB – 54%
    SNP – 28%
    CON – 9%
    LIB – 4%
    UKIP – 4%
    OTH – 1%

  44. Are the SNP really going to do that badly? Because if they are, they mustn’t be too popular with the good people of Fife at the moment. As for the Tories, 9% would be very good for them I would have thought. A large Labour majority here would be a wonderful result for them I think.

  45. The SNP campaign has been terrible, the candidate publicly slagged off teachers claiming they never stopped moaning and got too many holidays.
    They then on one of their leaflets placed a quote from a prominent local Labour Party member who supports independence claiming she supported the SNP candidate. The quote was completely fabricated and the Labour party member has been openly campaigning for the Labour Party and although she supports independence she is totally loyal to Labour.

  46. Just to clarify in case the cybernats have taken to trawling this site. The quote was printed in a Yes campaign newspaper which was delivered along with SNP campaign material but said person has confirmed that she although she supports independence she is not part of the Yes campaign and never made the quote.

  47. Amazing. So the SNP might not have a great night here with all these local factors to consider…

  48. It just goes to show what levels the Yesnp group will stoop to in their bid to break up the UK and we still have another 8 months of the campaign to go.
    Who knows what other tricks they have got up there sleeve?

  49. Alex Rowley (Labour) – 11192
    Natalie McGarry (SNP) – 5704
    Dave Dempsey (Con) – 1893
    Denise Baykal (UKIP) – 610
    Jade Holden (LD) – 425
    Stuart Graham (Victims) – 187
    James Trolland (SDA) – 51

    Lab 55.8% (+9.3)
    SNP 28.4% (-13.2)
    C 9.4% (+2.5)
    UKIP 3.0%
    L Dem 2.1% (-1.8)
    Victims 0.9%
    SDA 0.3%

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