Glasgow South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4752 (9.7%)
Labour: 14504 (29.7%)
Lib Dem: 1019 (2.1%)
SNP: 26773 (54.9%)
Green: 1431 (2.9%)
TUSC: 299 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 12269 (25.2%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Glasgow. Part of the Glasgow council area.

Main population centres: Glasgow.

Profile: Part of Glasgow South covers the most affluent and well off parts of Glasgow, old Victorian and Edwardian conservation areas with desirable townhouses and historic buildings and large open green spaces like Pollok Country Park. However since the 1950s and 1960s the area has also seen the growth of massive council developments as the tenements and tower blocks of the Castlemilk estate were built to the south of the city, housing families displaced from Glasgow`s slum clearances. To the north of the seat there is also now a growing Pakistani community in the Pollokshields area. The constituency includes Hampden Park, Scotland`s national stadium.

Politics: Politically this was once the most Conservative part of Glasgow, but the growth of the Castlemilk estate and the decline of the Tories in Scotland has changed that. The old Glasgow Cathcart seat was a Conservative banker for fifty-six years until it was lost by the then shadow Scottish secretary Teddy Taylor in the 1979 election. Since then it has become the sort of seat that typifies Glasgow - ultra safe Labour until falling to the SNP in the 2015 landslide.

Current MP
STEWART MCDONALD (SNP) First elected as MP for Glasgow South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 4592 (11%)
Lab: 20736 (52%)
LDem: 4739 (12%)
SNP: 8078 (20%)
Oth: 1949 (5%)
MAJ: 12658 (32%)
Con: 4836 (13%)
Lab: 18153 (47%)
LDem: 7321 (19%)
SNP: 4860 (13%)
Oth: 3261 (8%)
MAJ: 10832 (28%)
Con: 3662 (13%)
Lab: 14902 (54%)
LDem: 3006 (11%)
SNP: 4086 (15%)
Oth: 1730 (6%)
MAJ: 10816 (39%)
Con: 4248 (12%)
Lab: 19158 (56%)
LDem: 2302 (7%)
SNP: 6913 (20%)
Oth: 1489 (4%)
MAJ: 12245 (36%)

2015 Candidates
KYLE THORNTON (Conservative) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Student.
TOM HARRIS (Labour) Born 1964, Ayrshire. Educated at Garnock Academy and Napier College. Journalist and local authority PR manager. MP for Glasgow Cathcart 2001 to 2015. PPS to John Spellar 2003-2005,PPS to Patricia Hewitt 2005-2006, Under-secretary of State for Transport 2006-2008. Contested the 2011 Scottish Labour leadership election.
EWAN HOYLE (Liberal Democrat)
ALASTAIR WHITELAW (Green) Contested Glasgow Central 2010.
BRIAN SMITH (TUSC) Contested Glasgow South 2010.
Comments - 119 Responses on “Glasgow South”
  1. You’d have thought that a fresh offer would have to include a large concession on freedom of movement, which, so far, the EU seems to see as an issue that they won’t budge on.

  2. NTY UK – The Gibraltar site really is far superior to any ERO I’ve seen. It allows voters to check online whether they’re on the Roll for the Referendum (search by name & DOB).

    It even provides photos of all 14 Polling Stations!

    Yes, turnout should be 80%+ there as I imagine within that will be the Remain share. I think only 10% of people in Gib are ineligible (being Moroccan or EU etc)

  3. “You’d have thought that a fresh offer would have to include a large concession on freedom of movement, which, so far, the EU seems to see as an issue that they won’t budge on.”

    I think some kind of Norwegian arrangement with EEA membership, a reduced net contribution, a bit of give & take on free movement and some powers repatriated eg fisheries would be quite straightforward to agree with the rest of the EU, who would prefer that to us leaving totally. And both the Boris/Gove wing of the Leavers plus pragmatic Remainers like me could live with it. The problem is the Farage wing of Leave who will insist on stopping immigration at all costs.

  4. How do we all think the result will pan out?

  5. I think Leave will sneak it now

  6. A Quebec-style win for Remain wouldn’t surprise me at all. But that’s assuming the polls aren’t horribly wrong – could quite easily end up with a comfortable victory for Leave if they are.

  7. I still think it’s 50/50 with each side equally likely to win. But it’s looking increasingly like Leave will win in England which could be fatal for Cameron and Osborne.

  8. Andy

    I haven’t seen you on PB for a while.

    I was worrying something had happened to you.

  9. I got the impression I wasn’t appreciated on PB, being just an ordinary person from the Midlands.

  10. Who gave you that impression ?

    You’re one of the most sensible and informative people on PB.

  11. As a hardline Outer I am increasingly hopeful- I think Remain has shot its bolt.

  12. I would be surprised if Remain didn’t win to be honest. Usually with referenda there’s a shoot towards the status quo as polling day approaches, with a further depression of the status quo vote in opinion polling. I think the victory will be bitter sweet: if the Remain vote is thin then David Cameron may resign, and I’d expect some defections to UKIP off the back of the referendum results (if Remain do win it).

    If we see some constituency results from the general election overturned down to Tory over-spending I expect Parliament could look quite different by the end of the year.

  13. I also have some qualms about the polling methodology as the pollsters seem to be adding another layer to the “shy Tory” phenomena, which could see an over-statement of traditional Conservative voters in the opinion polls versus more wavering Tory voters…

  14. I think a Quebec-style result one way or the other looks pretty likely now. I guess if there’s further movement to Leave it could be a narrow but clear win for them.

  15. I’m actually starting to think it might be Leave fairly comfortably. Even phone polls that were showing big Remain leads previously now have Leave in the lead.

  16. I’m unconvinced by the idea that there will necessarily be a status quo swing. It has happened on average in past referendums but not always and not by a huge amount. This argument also relies on assuming the polls are right – I’m not actually convinced the phone polls have fully got to grips with the sampling issues they had at the GE, and there is a strong chance this is causing them to overstate Remain to begin with. Given the stark social divides on this issue, particularly between degree holders and non-degree holders, sampling is really important. The real position is probably somewhere between phone and online polls – a position which would now put Leave in the lead by at least a few points.

    One of my work colleagues has been running a poll-based forecast (based on historical trends in UK and European EU-related referendums) and, during the campaign so far, things have moved in the opposite direction from the forecast direction (i.e. instead of swinging towards Remain things have swung towards Leave). One likely reason for this is that unlike in, e.g., indyref, the detailed poll questions suggest people are believing the change side’s messages more than the status quo, even those that are blatant lies (the £350 million, Turkey joining the EU). People also don’t see Leave as being much riskier than Remain, something which undermines the thesis that people will recoil from risk in the last week.

  17. I think the campaign is having a reinforcing effect. To start with most people outside the elite groups that love the EU (politicians, academics, students, big business leaders etc.) didn’t have much time for the EU but also knew very little about the EU. When Remain very successfully dominated the early part of the campaign with the economic arguments some people wavered. But they still didn’t much like the EU and now Leave have become better organised and more successful in getting their message across people are very receptive to their message – much more receptive than they are to Remain’s messages.

  18. I think, in a lot of ways the campaign has mirrored what happened in the independence referendum, with the out side making progress through the campaign until around a week or so to go, which is where we are now. There was a slow drift back towards in from that point through polling day, which makes a degree of sense here too. Most, if not all, who are actually going to vote leave will now be telling the pollsters that – people have heard all the arguments now, but it isn’t yet totally real for people.

    That said leave are about 4-5% better off than Yes ever were, and I think the drift to the status quo is likely to be somewhat weaker, as it is a less important decision, hence Quebec levels of closeness.

    Max – I think most people who are seriously considering Remain will think that the likes of Farage, Boris and Gove have told plenty of whoppers of their own.

  19. Simon – Prof John Curtice just said on the BBC Daily Politics said Remain now needs a late swing back if they’re to Win.

  20. I don’t see what your prediction is based on other than that there was a referendum in Quebec and that was the result. But so what? Why would a referendum in a totally different country, two decades later, about a totally different issue, bear any resemblance? Pointy headed academics going on about the status quo miss the fact that 99% of the voters think status quo means the name of a rock group. If this referendum highlights anything it’s likely to be that the “experts” are going to be discredited yet further. I think Jack’s post is pretty close to my own view, either a narrow leave or perhaps a fairly comfortable leave.

  21. @Lancs Observer I’d agree with that. I think it’s likely there will be some swing back for the reasons I mentioned in my last post. Whether it will be enough is the question.

  22. I hope you are right, but when you have shadow cabinet ministers privately saying “it’s all over already” I doubt any swing back will be enough to get Remain over the line.

  23. Prof Matthew Goodwin said the most telling ComRes data was how shaky the Remain vote was.

    Plus 62% of the electorate say they’re prepared to take a short-term economic hit if it means they take control of immigration.

  24. In order to take control of immigration the measures are going to have to be drastic. I wonder if the politicians will be forced by the masses to take such measures against the bitter opposition of business and the establishment, or whether they’ll try to come up with some kind of EEA-like compromise.

  25. Post-Brexit these are going to be very divisive issues. I expect EEA is off the table (though some MPs might push for it) – the referendum result will mean any deal will have to involve the end of free movement – but what we do end up with is anyone’s guess.

  26. May might easily be PM. Still not beyond reasonable doubt that Boris will fail to reach the members ballot due to insufficient support from MPs. He could easily be beaten amongst MPs by a Fox or Patel, who may then be defeated by May in the members’ ballot.

  27. The immigration issue is going to be messy, the reality is despite the public being very much against it the benefits (at least in the minds of those running the country) are irrefutable.

    Ignoring the actual pro’s/con’s simply put no government of pretty much any colour (and I include UKIP in that) will be willing to put the policies in place to actually limit immigration to the extent the public want and even if they did the negative effects would be felt quickly and they would probably back down.

    The unfortunate reality is in today’s world mass movement of people is an inevitability.

  28. Rivers10 – that’s certainly not true. A Tory Gov’t under a different leader would happily implement such policies. I don’t think it’ll result in the Thatcher period of immigration of 10-30,000 pa. But I certainly think 50-75k net arrivals is achievable with the political will.

  29. Lancs Observer
    But you cant just place an arbitrary figure and say “no more beyond this point” (well you can but that would be a catastrophe)

    Point being immigration law is a transnational issue, their are huge vested interests, the economic and demographic ramifications would be huge I could go on.

    I didn’t realise how complex immigration was until I did a module on “Immigration and the State” in my last semester of uni a few months back, my lecturer guarantied to us that regardless of what happens in the short to medium term re the EU, refugees etc net migration will not dip below 150,000, probably not even 200,000..

    He pointed out that proportionally Britain takes a very average number of immigrants, the only developed nation to take the a proportion similar to the figure bandied about by the anti-immigration types is Japan and they are most definitely paying for it and consequently are actually loosening their immigration laws. Thu we would be most definitely swimming against the tide if we were to try and tighten up the rules.

  30. “Thu we would be most definitely swimming against the tide if we were to try and tighten up the rules.”

    As Lancs says, it is a matter of political will. Getting net immigration down to 50-75k will require most or all of the following

    1. Virtually no refugees/asylum seekers allowed in at all and swift deportation/detection of illegals – withdrawal from ECJ and big increase in border force resources

    2. An end to the right to bring foreign spouses/family members to live here except for those that meet very strict criteria

    3. Withdrawal from the single market or at least renegotiation of terms of access to totally remove freedom of movement. EU immigrants faced with same strict visa rules and family immigration rules as everyone else.

    4. A big change of political/economic model – less focus on total GDP, consumption & house prices, more on production, exports and the trade deficit

  31. and 5. A massive crackdown on foreign student numbers, and a presumption that all have to return after their course unless in very special circumstances

  32. H.Hemmelig
    That would work but as you probably fully well know it isn’t going to happen (or if it did it would be quickly reversed)

    1) Is pretty much illegal in international law, if we want to be a respected international player we would have to do our bit.

    2) Possible but would only make a marked difference if we had hugely punitive criteria which would again land us in trouble internationally and could probably again be interpreted as illegal.

    3) Very much possible but only about half of UK migration is from EU countries. Even if we totally stopped every EU national entering (which obviously we wouldn’t) we’d still be looking at a figure between 150,00-200,000

    4) As much as I’d like this there is no chance of it happening (in the context you speak of) The most stridently anti-immigrant politicians are the biggest defenders of the economic status quo. There wouldn’t be the will for this.

    5) Already happening to a large degree and it isn’t making huge difference. Unless we go further (at which point we become Orwellian and again probably break international law) I doubt we could get it much lower. Also this would totally screw our universities, this is the one bit of immigration people generally don’t mind.

  33. The political will would have to be strong enough to put up with all the downsides you list.

    On your point (1), our international reputation has already taken a massive beating, especially in Europe. I say this as someone who’s on a plane, on average, every second week. Rightly or wrongly, other countries think we’ve gone barmy.

  34. Rivers10 – of course you could. That’s what legislation is for and indeed both Labour and Tory Govts have done this in the past too when considering the rights of Commonwealth citizens, or Ugandan Asians etc.

    I think people forget that over 500,000 – 700,000 arrived in most years (as MPs only speak of net migration figures).

    Incidentally, asylum is totally separate and those aren’t counted as immigrants.

    There’s already been a crackdown on bogus colleges and overstayers (the category who can be deported as they arrived as a visitor or student).

    Yes, the primary purpose rule would make a big difference re spouses.

    But of course we as a Country could decide if we want to allow eg more Canadians (at the moment they all have to leave after 2 years). I’ve never been a fan of the Indian restaurant argument incidentally (“we can’t get the chefs here”). Equally I don’t like the idea that you need to earn £26k+ to come – but I understand why the Home Office did that re Commonwealth spouses.

    I agree shopping all Poles or Romanians would hit the strawberry picking and hotel staff. Although even Alex Polizzi now supports Leave and says hotels need to make more of an effort to recruit locals, as its getting to the point that reception staff can’t even welcome tourists in English.

  35. H.Hemmelig
    I don’t blame them for thinking we’ve gone barmy but closing the doors on all refugee’s, asylum seekers etc and we start to enter full nutty crackpot dictator Trump style banana republic barmy.

    Re the political will I think we can both agree it just wouldn’t be there. Most of those in power who claim they oppose mass immigration generally don’t but are just using it as apolitical tool BoJo being the prime example. Given the chance he wouldn’t seriously try to reduce immigration.

  36. Lancs Observer
    But it again comes down to will, disregarding the pro/cons most politicians are either convinced immigration is a good thing (for one reason or another) and those that are not wouldn’t want to deal with the fallout.

    The polices that are required (H.Hemmelig’s list is pretty much spot on) would either be struck down in our own parliament or struck down internationally, assuming they even made it to parliament since most of the serious propositions (restructuring the economy for example) would be vetoed by 99% of the establishment class At best we’d pass some arbitrary legislation as a symbol that sounds tougher than it actually is, doesn’t make a huge difference, perhaps lowers numbers by a couple of % or so at best.

    The big issue IS the economy (or rather how its currently structured), disregard whether you think immigration is good for it cos that’s not really the question, mass movement people is an INTEGRAL part of it, its akin to trying to run the modern economy without a currency, it just wouldn’t function properly, there would have to be huge modifications for it to adjust and as I said earlier that’s going to be fought tough and nail by the establishment primarily those currently calling for immigration to be curtailed.

  37. Well it depends on what your definition of mass migration is or what qualifies as it. I personally (I may be wrong) take it to mean is levels of migration that are unsustainable or create significant problems within the host country whether these be an overwhelming strain on services or cultural i.e extreme culture clash. Thus I don’t think we have mass migration from Eastern/Southern Europe as immigrants from there are shown to help our economy not hinder and their cultures are similarish.

    However the levels of people entering Europe from outside with the current migrant crisis I would describe as mass migration (most of these people not being refugees from war zones but opportunistic economic migrants) as it definitely fits both of my criteria from above.

    My issue with Europe is they (particularly Germany) have gone the completely wrong way about handling this crisis particularly the rhetoric. A message more like Cameron’s e.g ‘we will take refugees from the camps and if you come to Europe illegally you will be deported’ would have been the right message not the idiotic ‘we will take millions this year’ message of Merkel’s government which made the whole thing many times worse.

  38. Pepperminttea
    Frankly the whole worlds handling of the refugee crisis was terrible. I won’t defend what Germany did, it was stupid and chaotic but conversely I won’t defend Cameron, it was hugely apparent the guy was trying to kick the issue into the long grass, also it was ignoring the point that many of these people can’t actually get into the camps either because there at peak capacity or they simply don’t exist (like in Libya) also one has to ask how many of these people heard one foreign leaders proclamation? Many of these people will have been marching for weeks the only news they received being rumours.

    History will rightly just this as a complete failure of Western Democracies, all of which are partly to blame, Frankly a plan amongst all OECD countries allocating refugee’s based on the population and per capita income of each nation could have been drawn up in a week. Problem was as always the will wasn’t there to carry it out.

  39. judge rather

  40. Rivers10 – I just don’t accept your premise.

    Parliament is pretty evenly split on the issue 50:50. I take your point that it might require a larger Tory majority to achieve it (although I can only think of a upto dozen Tories who might vote against proposals in their manifesto). The DUP 8 & Carswell would probably cancel them out though. But v Corbyn, a larger Tory majority of say 50 isn’t unlikely.

  41. No your missing the point, 90% of supposedly anti immigration MP’s in the commons clearly don’t actually believe the stuff they say about immigrants. BoJo is the prime example of this, he has no serious interest in reducing immigration numbers.

    But even putting that aside our parliament (yes even if we are freed from the shackles of the EU etc etc) simply does not have the power to seriously reduce immigration to the figures your talking about. Too many of the methods involved break international law, there would be huge pressure from the global business and political community etc

    But even if they held firm on that the one thing the anti immigrant camp will outright refuse to do is take a serious look at the economy and try and restructure it to work in a low immigration environment. There lies an ideological see saw where a Tory government would refuse to break their priority which is maintaining the neoliberal economic status quo or a Lab government which would be willing to change the economy but they wouldn’t really want to reduce immigration for ideological reasons. Consequently no British government would be willing to take the steps necessary to changes the economy to cope with low immigration.

  42. That’s your premise I don’t accept (that 90% of MPs…)

    I understand entirely your point.

  43. It doesn’t break international law to reduce immigration (but I’m not surprised you honestly believe this to be true).

    The Treaty obligations refer to asylum seekers.

  44. Of course no law states it illegal to reduce immigration numbers, I didn’t say that, I said the methods that would have to be implemented to reduce it to the numbers your talking about WOULD break international law.

    You’d have to stop admitting refugee’s and the like breaking treaty obligations, have hugely punitive restrictions on bringing in foreign family members thus violating human rights, restrictions on work visas and the like that will almost certainly break certain trade deals etc etc.

  45. They would not. Cite them.

    Refugees (asylum law) are separate from immigration control and not even counted in immigration figures.

    “Too many of the methods involved break international law” – NONE of the examples I gave would do so. It’s bizarre for you to keep insisting otherwise. Either you don’t understand it, or you’re deliberately ignoring the fact.

  46. But you haven’t cited any (serious) proposals to reduce immigration. You have quoted the crackdown on bogus colleges and fake students which as you said has already been done, by and large caused more harm than good (the old killing a fly with a hand grenade metaphor is appropriate) and yet still hasn’t dented the figures by much. Going even further again and it would unequivocally start doing serious damage to our universities.

    Then their is the spouse situation which again hasn’t dented the figures by much at all in spite of what many (you included) admit is a pretty steep set of economic criteria. The Gov has been barraged with legal challenges and letters from foreign consulates over this, going further again and the Gov would get into massive trouble and would probably see its own rulings struck down.

    You haven’t mentioned any other methods for reducing immigration.

  47. I think there’s little point as you obviously don’t want to believe any contrary evidence.

    The Select Committee evidence session last week was very insightful on this. It heard from experts – not just Migrationwatch – on how immigration could in fact be reduced to 25,000 pa, so clearly the 50-75k pa figure I suggested is entirely feasible after 5 years.

    Whether politicians choose to do so is another matter – but I again showed why your claim that 90% don’t want to was false.

    A foreign embassy can send as many letters as they like. They can’t challenge a UK statute. They can of course delay us from deporting people, as they famously did with Abu Qatada.

    I have no idea why you feel cracking down on fake colleges causes more harm than good. But I entirely understand your mentality. I’ve heard the “no-one is illegal” lot protesting on Merseyside before. They tend to gloss over cases such as Bourgas murdering a police officer in Manchester being an illegal.

  48. Glasgow 2017

    SNP 37 + 9
    Lab 33 – 11
    Green 6 + 2
    Con 3 + 2
    Lib D 0 – 1
    UKIP 0
    Ind 0 – 1

  49. Had Teddy Taylor held on in 1979 he may have lost in 1983.

    The notional Labour majority in 1979 of 1600 became a notional Conservative majority of 1700 by Labour “regained” the seat by some 4230 in 1983. This means that Labour would have won by 7500 on the 1979 boundaries.

    There was a swing to Labour in Glasgow that year evident in other Glasgow constituencies. In Glasgow Hillhead, there was a notional Labour majority of 2000 over the Tories and when Jenkins won the gap between Labour and the Tories increased to 4000.

    This contrasted with places like Renfrew West & Inverclyde, Cunningham North, Dunfermline West and Livingston that all swung to the Tories.

  50. No….Glasgow South is more Tory than the 1955 to 1974, 1974 to 1983 and 1997 to 2005 Cathcarts but not the 1983 to 1997 version. That excluded half of Castlemilk that was part of Glasgow Rutherglen from 1983 to 1997.

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