Aberdeen North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 5304 (12.1%)
Labour: 11397 (25.9%)
Lib Dem: 2050 (4.7%)
SNP: 24793 (56.4%)
TUSC: 206 (0.5%)
Others: 186 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 13396 (30.5%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, North East. Part of the Aberdeen City council area.

Main population centres: Aberdeen.

Profile: Aberdeen North contains most of the historic centre of Aberdeen, including the University and Aberdeen Harbour, which serves much of the North Sea Oil industry. The majority of the Scottish Parliamentary constituency of Aberdeen Central falls within this seat, and it is more urban than the old pre-2005 Aberdeen North having lost suburban areas like Dyce, Danestone and Bridge of Don.

Politics: The seat had been held by Labour since 1935, but fell to the SNP in their 2015 landslide.


Current MP
KIRSTY BLACKMAN (SNP) Aberdeen councillor since 2007. First elected as MP for Aberdeen North in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 4666 (12%)
Lab: 16746 (44%)
LDem: 7001 (19%)
SNP: 8385 (22%)
Oth: 903 (2%)
MAJ: 8361 (22%)
2005
Con: 3456 (9%)
Lab: 15557 (42%)
LDem: 8762 (24%)
SNP: 8168 (22%)
Oth: 691 (2%)
MAJ: 6795 (19%)
2001*
Con: 3761 (14%)
Lab: 12025 (45%)
LDem: 4547 (17%)
SNP: 5379 (20%)
Oth: 717 (3%)
MAJ: 6646 (25%)
1997
Con: 6944 (19%)
Lab: 17745 (50%)
LDem: 4714 (13%)
SNP: 5767 (16%)
Oth: 446 (1%)
MAJ: 10801 (30%)

2015 Candidates
SANJOY SEN (Conservative) Oil engineer.
RICHARD BAKER (Labour) Born 1974, Edinburgh. Educated at St Bees School and Aberdeen University. Contested MSP for North East Scotland since 2003.
EUAN DAVIDSON (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Aberdeen University.
KIRSTY BLACKMAN (SNP) Aberdeen councillor since 2007.
CHRISTOPHER WILLETT (National Front)
TYRINNE RUTHERFORD (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 153 Responses on “Aberdeen North”
  1. Ignore my quotation marks in the comment above!

  2. In terms of the 2015 UK General election it seems obvious to me that if “Yes” does win the 2014 referendum (an event now boosted by the knowledge that Better Together call their campaign {internally} “Project Fear”), then the SNP will make massive gains as the electorate seeks to consolidate the SNP negotiating position relative to rUK.

  3. Tom, I would be interested to know which constituencies you think the SNP will make massive gains in.

  4. To be fair, theres a lot to be frightened about. Its a legitimate campaigning position.

  5. Shankly.

    Bearing in mind that the SNP topped the poll in the list (second) vote in 68 out of the 71 constituencies in 2011 for Holyrood, what I am suggesting is that if Scots have voted “Yes” to independence they will follow the logic of that stance and not elect many unionists to Westminster. Having up to 59 SNP MPs would clearly be the best negotiating stance, I suggest.

    In such circumstances few seats may be invulnerable to SNP victories.

    Equally, if they vote “no”, the SNP may well struggle to hold on to their 6 seats at Westminster. I would then anticipate the likelihood of no SNP gains in 2015 GE.

    However, I would still expect the SNP to be the largest party for Holyrood in 2016, but probably without an absolute majority (worth remembering that after the first Quebec referendum, defeated 60-40, the Parti Quebecois had its biggest ever provincial victory).

    If lost, there will be another Referendum as soon or as far away as Scotland votes for it,

  6. Completely agree with Joe.

    Most political campaigns are based either on fear or hope, and whichever emotion triumphs over the other one determines the winner. “Hope” clearly won for Blair in 1997 and Obama in 2008…..”fear” was the clincher for Major in 1992 and Bush in 2004.

    For the Scots there’s plenty to fear about being left as a small country on their own, and my reading is that Salmond has not translated his “hope” for the future of an independent Scotland into any believable narrative of how the many obvious problems will be overcome and how the average Scot will benefit. Personally I expect a resounding no vote of at least 65%.

    I do think however that even if they go down to such a referendum defeat, the SNP are likely to increase their Westminster seats in 2015, if nothing else because the Lib Dems are guaranteed to lose seats and in some of these the SNP are the most plausible winners. A good showing in 2015 will also help the SNP in any devo-max negotiations.

  7. “(worth remembering that after the first Quebec referendum, defeated 60-40, the Parti Quebecois had its biggest ever provincial victory)”.

    Yes, but (as I posted the other week), following the most recent referendum in 1995 the PQ went into something of a decline. Their share of the vote decreased in each of the next three state elections. Their biggest share this century is just over 35% in 2008. In the 80s and 90s they regularly polled well over 40%.

  8. If the No campaign wins next year do you think Alex Salmond will stand down as FM and leader of the SNP?

  9. I get the impression the SNP would be much less popular without Salmond

  10. Yes that’s a very good point.

    When Salmond stepped down the first time, the popularity of the SNP plummeted.

    That’s the problem with political parties that turn into personality cults – there’s nobody to replace the big personality when they leave. I cannot imagine the SNP winning a Holyrood election led by Nicola Sturgeon or Angus Robertson.

  11. Shankly

    I think Salmond would be tempted to stand down, especially if the defeat is substantial (e.g. greater than 60:40). However, I don’t think he would come under much pressure from the SNP internally to do so.

    The idea that he would be desperate to cling on is unconvincing given his unexpected decision to do so the first time when there was no pressure on him to do so.

    I think he would judge whether it was better for the SNP that he lead it into the 2016 Holyrood election, or better that a new leader (almost certainly Sturgeon) took over in advance of that election.

  12. Kieran W

    The PQ (currently the minority government in Quebec) did indeed decline after the second referendum, but not after the first-which was my point, as I think the dynamics of losing a first referendum are different from losing a second one, even though the latter was much closer.

    H Hemmelig & Runnymede

    I don’t have any trouble in agreeing with you both about the significance of Salmond, but over recent times Sturgeon’s reputation-and indeed actual performance-has significantly matured, such that her popularity ratings now rivals those of Salmond.

    A Sturgeon versus Lamont battle still leaves the SNP as the largest party, in my view.

    The reasons that the SNP make minor progress re Westminster include:

    * They can never be the UK government

    * The support for Labour in Scotland is materially an anti-Tory vote (which is one of the reasons that a “No” vote is still far from certain)

    * Voting SNP for Holyrood can, and does, give the SNP real power.

    The idea that after a “Yes” vote Scots would continue to elect a majority of unionist politicians for a transitional period to Westminster won’t make much sense, even to many who voted “No”.

  13. “The idea that after a “Yes” vote Scots would continue to elect a majority of unionist politicians for a transitional period to Westminster won’t make much sense, even to many who voted “No”.”

    In the unlikely event of a YES vote, there will be enormous pressure from England for all Scottish MPs to be expelled from Westminster at the 2015 election.

    The idea that a Labour government could be formed relying on MPs from a region which would very soon be leaving the UK would be impossible to tolerate.

  14. H Hemmelig

    ” there will be enormous pressure from England for all Scottish MPs to be expelled from Westminster at the 2015 election.”

    That looks, shall we say, constitutionally challenging 🙂 although I suppose if handled sensibly, wouldn’t exactly upset the SNP.

    I agree about the pressure-so either many powers over Scotland would have to be handed to Holyrood very rapidly indeed, and/or hearing that tumult in England, the SNP would indeed sweep the board in Scotland electing 59 SNP MPs.

  15. After a YES vote, the view in England will be “just hurry up and go then”. The idea of Scottish MPs being returned at an election in 2015 just would not be palatable. The government will rush it all through to make sure the business is finished before the election.

  16. A Yes vote in Scotland would probably deal a fatal blow to Labour’s hopes of winning a majority in the future because they have so many safe seats in Scotland.

  17. In the near term yes.

    But a Labour party with no Scottish influence would be a very different animal.

    It would have to permanently make peace with middle England or, as you say, be frozen out of power for good.

  18. Andy JS & H. Hemmelig

    I will just again (sigh!) point out that the Labour Party won more seats IN ENGLAND in all of 1997, 2001 and 2005 than the Tories did.

    The idea that Scottish seats are critical to Labour’s chances of victory seems to be one of the most abiding political MYTHS.

  19. “I will just again (sigh!) point out that the Labour Party won more seats IN ENGLAND in all of 1997, 2001 and 2005 than the Tories did.

    The idea that Scottish seats are critical to Labour’s chances of victory seems to be one of the most abiding political MYTHS.”

    And I will point you to my comment above yours, saying that to win in England Labour needs to make peace with middle England – something that Blair did but most Labour leaders including Brown and Miliband have not.

    Of their other post war victories, Labour would have lost in 1964 and twice in 1974 without Scotland, but won in 1945 and 1966.

  20. H.Hemmelig.

    Fair enough, as expanded, your point is different from Andy JS, but given the results in 1997, 2001 and 2005, is not dependent on whether or not Scotland remains in the union.

    No doubt you won’t have trouble recognising that it is rare for England not to get the government it voted for, but common for Scotland to suffer that fate.

    That fact will be influential in closing or even removing the “No” lead if 2015 looks likely to produce a result with the Conservatives as the largest or majority party.

  21. “it is rare for England not to get the government it voted for”

    Large parts of England often don’t get the government they voted for at least to the same extent as Scotland….for example Liverpool, Durham, South Yorkshire, Birmingham….actually in 2010 even London did not get the government it voted for, and London is electorally a similar size to Scotland. I wonder why this argument has a resonance in Scotland that it doesn’t seem to have in all the other places I have just mentioned.

  22. H.Hemmelig

    The argument has greater resonance in Scotland because most Scots, even many unionist Scots, think in terms of what will be best for Scotland, regarding it as a nation in its own right.

    One of the reasons why Ed Milliband’s “One Nation” politicising does not really resonate in Scotland as he would hope, is that it ignores the predominant view in Scotland that Scotland and England are 2 nations.

    Although a minority of the electorate in Scotland regard their country as being “Britain” and not “Scotland” (such people can reasonably be described as British Nationalists), the “No ” campaign’s primary arguments are all about convincing people that the best approach for SCOTLAND is as part of the union.

    If they fail in that, “No” will lose.

  23. “I will just again (sigh!) point out that the Labour Party won more seats IN ENGLAND in all of 1997, 2001 and 2005 than the Tories did.”

    I’m not very impressed by your 2005 boast because the Tories won the most votes in that election.

  24. Andy JS

    “I’m not very impressed by your 2005 boast because the Tories won the most votes in that election.” I am not boasting-I don’t support Labour and have never voted for them.

    True but irrelevant, particularly as the electorate rejected even a minor change to the electoral system in 2010.

    Or put another way, as I said, the Labour Party won more seats IN ENGLAND in 2005 🙂

  25. Apologies & correction-the AV vote was 2011.

  26. It won more seats in England due to the electoral system.

    Your point on the referendum is totally irrelevant as that was on a change to a preferential system, not a proportional one.

  27. It is true that Labour will remain perfectly capable of winning elections without Scotland’s presence in the Union. However, there is no denying that the Conservatives would be better placed to win overall majorities than before. Indeed, but for Scotland, they would have managed one in 2010 (305 MPs 591 by my calculations).

  28. *(305 MPs out of 591)

  29. Majority of 19, pretty workable when you add in Sinn Feins non-voters, taking it over 20.

  30. Indeed yes- no need whatsoever for a coalition with the Lib Dems.

  31. Joe

    “It won more seats in England due to the electoral system. ”

    That is called winning 🙂

    I am all in favour of PR, but that is not the system in use.

    So, for a third time-Labour won more seats than the Tories IN ENGLAND in 1997,2001 and 2005.

  32. Absolutely but the fact remains that without Scotland, the Conservatives would find it easier to win majorities when ahead of Labour on the national share of the vote. That is not a myth- it is a demonstrable fact.

  33. Incidentally, Tom, how do you see the referendum going? Do you think that the independence argument will gather momentum?

  34. Tory

    I do expect the independence argument to gather momentum for a number of reasons:

    * As even the likes of Cochrane of the Daily Telegraph (a dyed in the wool unionist if ever there was one) has pointed out the “No” campaign has overegged the negatives of independence to the point of undermining their credibility.

    * In the last 16 weeks of the campaign, BBC Scotland in particular will have to try to be scrupulously neutral, something that they currently find difficult due to what can reasonably be described as institutional unionism, caused by many people with known Labour connections being involved in prominent roles.

    * The Scottish Government White Paper isn’t due out until late 2013-up until now “yes” has largely been allowing the unionists to reveal their hands without fully showing their’ own

    * As I have already said, there is strong evidence that expectation of Tory success in 2015 GE will sharply boost the “Yes” vote.

    Do I think Yes will win? Maybe-they certainly won’t suffer the crushing defeat that H Hemmelig thinks they will, as Scots will be very wary of killing the issue stone dead as Westminster would be expected then to ignore Scotland (at best) for the foreseeable future.

    .If 2014n is lost, another referendum within 10/15 years will be very likely, as the current unionist parties will never deliver on the “promises” that they will be forced to make about additional powers to Holyrood

    This issue is never going away until Scotland is independent

  35. In the heady pre-economic crisis days of 2007, I could have seen Scotland voting for independence.

    The fact is however that any prospect of Scottish independence in the next 20 or 30 years died in September 2008, when RBS and HBOS went bust, having to be bailed out by predominantly English taxpayers to the tune of something like £30bn.

    In their heart of hearts the majority of Scots know that in the dangerous new world we live in they just couldn’t be sure of surviving on their own.

    So they’ll moan a lot but in the end I believe will vote a resounding no.

    The Labour led government after 2015 could well contrive a form of devo max that keeps their parliamentary representation unchanged and kicks the independence issue into the grass for a long time.

  36. h Hemmelig

    You won’t be getting the crushing defeat for “Yes” that you predict.

    HBOS was run by Halifax (it’s in England) who appointed the directors before it crashed.

    The RBS story is also a con that has been rumbled. The reality is that the countries in which banking operations are carried out have to bear the brunt of the bailout-that country is England.

  37. Both RBS and HBOS had their corporate headquarters in Edinburgh.

    To be honest I don’t give a monkeys whether you guys vote yes or no – and that is the prevailing view in England. My comments were strictly in the context of predicting what I think will happen rather than being particularly bothered about the outcome.

    I would wish an independent Scotland the very best of wishes for the future. Nevertheless, in return for the oil you claim is all yours, the divorce would result in your country having to take its population-weighted fair share of the UK’s liabilities in terms of bank bailouts and the enormous national debt – hiding behind childish get-outs such as your comment about RBS and HBOS will not get you very far.

    Also do not expect the English to be ready to help with wads of bail-out cash if an independent Scotland turns into a re-run of Ireland.

  38. H.Hemmelig

    As far as I am aware a “population-weighted fair share of the UK’s liabilities in terms of bank bailouts and the enormous national debt” is precisely what the SNP and the “Yes” campaign expect and would agree to.

    That is all that I meant myself relative to RBS & HBOS, just not the original discredited claim by the “No” campaign that an independent Scotland would have had to cover all the RBS & HBOS financial problems. It seem we agree.

    Don’t forget a population share of the assets -though I suspect you can have 100% of the WMD 🙂

    The oil is only about 90% Scotland’s, of course.

    I expect future relationships with England to be very good.

  39. “As far as I am aware a “population-weighted fair share of the UK’s liabilities in terms of bank bailouts and the enormous national debt” is precisely what the SNP and the “Yes” campaign expect and would agree to.”

    If that is the case then I have no argument with them.

    Nor do I oppose Scotland taking the oil as long as it takes its share of liabilities too.

    “though I suspect you can have 100% of the WMD”

    I wonder how much this is going to piss off the Americans and NATO, to the extent that you might not be allowed to join. That could also make it hard for England to co-operate on air and sea defence matters. All in all I might expect Salmond to quietly back down on that if push comes to shove and he gets his independent state.

  40. Expecting momentum for the side which represents a change for the status quo is a desperate situation to be in. History is very much not on your side.

    I actually am even less optimistic than Hemmelig. I think it will nearer 3 to 1 than 2 to 1.

    If I was a public sector employee in Scotland (not uncommon up there!) I would be terrified for my job given the reductions that would need to be made.

    Unlike Hemmelig, I wish you the best of luck for your side in the referendum. I wouldn’t get your hopes up though. It will be a humiliation sadly.

  41. Joe R

    “If I was a public sector employee in Scotland (not uncommon up there!) I would be terrified for my job given the reductions that would need to be made.”

    Try reading today’s leader in the (unionist) Herald newspaper. The credibility of the “No” campaign is starting to suffer hit after hit.

  42. 25.1% of Scots work in the public sector as compared to 20.1% from the rest of the UK (2011 data)

    It is fairly clear that you would have to either a) make job cuts b) make substantial wage cuts or c) increase taxes to fund this.

    Especially since you contribute less per head than England (cue desperate attempt to say this is not true.)

    Furthermore, the SNP’s idea of a “job for life” in the armed forces is laughable (presuming this is what you were referring to in the Herald). It really is not a serious policy.

    Are you going to have a load of 65-75 (dependent on the retirement age in 50 or so years time) year olds in a dads army defending Scotland? Or are you going to promote them out of combat roles regardless of ability to do the job?

    Seeing as how a big deal is made of how Scotland would cut defence to fund other areas its a pretty clear backtrack to attempt to get squaddies on-side.

    I wouldn’t mind if an independent Scotland thinks a downturn in prosperity (at least in the short term) is worth it for the sake of sovereignty and a chance to have an economic policy more suited to your economy.

    The problem is focusing the argument on what would be good in the short-medium term for Scotland is not an area the SNP have any hope of winning. They should try to fight a different battle to the one they are currently doing.

  43. A Yes vote would force Scotland to face up to real economics whereas remaining part of the UK with the Barnet Formula allows them to live in an economic and financial fantasy land.

  44. I could go into lots of reasons why I am convinced it’ll be a No vote come 2014, but there’s one reason above all others which torpedoed the Yes campaign before it even began. Starting out as a new country is a risky venture at the best of times, but with the way the world economy is, plenty of Scots are going to be worried of the risks of independence. Not saying things would go sour, but Scots are just going to feel too concerned that now – whatever their latent feelings on independence are – it’s just not at all a good time to be trying out on your own when things are so dicey worldwide.

    So, as always, it comes back down to people’s pocketbooks. If people think independence means a great possible risk to the Scottish economy, which in turns means a great risk to their own individual economic wellbeing, it’ll be a resounding No vote. And I am convinced that’s where it’s heading.

    Furthermore, Joe R is right. Looking at past independence referendum campaigns, there’s no precedent I can think of a sudden shift in support, in just a year, to the option that demands a dramatic change to the status quo. In fact, as any student of polling will tell you, in any election alot of people undecided at this point invariably decide to stick with the status quo. Which makes sense. If you’re not committed to a deep change by now, you’re not really up for it.

    The fact is, it’s pretty apparent the SNP secretly would never have wanted the independence referendum now. But it’s one of the drawbacks of a majority government – they had no excuse not to. In an ideal world, a referendum would not have happened until the world economy was better.

    Guess right now?

    No 60-65
    Yes 35-40

  45. Joe R

    “Especially since you contribute less per head than England (cue desperate attempt to say this is not true.)”

    No desperation-BUT, unionist leaders conceded some time ago that when due allowance is made for the oil in Scottish waters (90% plus would belong to an independent Sciotland), Scotland has been in a better economic position that rUK for many years.

    The unionist argument is that this will not continue, on the somewhat unconvincing grounds that oil is -as ever-just about to rub out. Given that previous utterances should have meant it disappeared in the last century, and given that current investment is booming, that is not a credible argument.

  46. Van Fleet

    “Looking at past independence referendum campaigns, there’s no precedent I can think of a sudden shift in support, in just a year, to the option that demands a dramatic change to the status quo.”

    Quebec has appeared regularly on this site, so I suggest examining the major swing to “Yes” that happened in the second referendum almost resulting in a “Yes” vote and then feel free to repeat your incorrect comment above.

    You can point out that “Yes” did not win, but there WAS a
    “a sudden shift in support, in just a year, to the option that demands a dramatic change to the status quo”

    Early polls in Quebec showed “No” at 67%-sound familiar? 🙂

  47. There is an archive of the polling in the 1995 referendum in Quebec here (sadly the links for the last couple of weeks are broken, but it covers the early campaign and the run up to it), if anyone wishes to look at the trends in support.

    (Only just found this now! I may knock something together myself at some point)

    http://www.mapageweb.umontreal.ca/durandc/souverainete/recherche_souverainete.html

  48. Thanks AW!

    TR, once I decipher the French on that site, I will be prepared to stand corrected. I was under the impression the polls were relatively smooth in the run-up to the referendum – certainly not a sudden surge. If the polls do show that, then the SNP have hope.

    Though for all the other reasons I pointed out, I’m still utterly convinced it’s not going the SNP’s way.

  49. Btw Anthony, maybe I’m missing it, but if there isn’t one already maybe a special page on the referendum might not go amiss? Seems better than spamming up a constituency page.

  50. In the absence of candidates or past results I’m not sure what I’d put on it, but yes, I should probably think of something!

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