Ross, Skye & Lochaber

2015 Result:
Conservative: 2598 (6.2%)
Labour: 2043 (4.9%)
Lib Dem: 14995 (35.9%)
SNP: 20119 (48.1%)
Green: 1051 (2.5%)
UKIP: 814 (1.9%)
Independent: 191 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 5124 (12.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Highlands and Islands. Part of the Highlands council area.

Main population centres: Dingwall, Fort William, Portree, Muir of Ord, Beauly, Gairloch, Ullapool.

Profile: An immense rural seat stretching across much of the Scottish Highlands and including the Isle of Skye and the northern part of the inner hebrides, this is geographically the largest seat in the UK, but one of the smallest in terms of electorate. Most of the seat is extremely remote and sparsely populated, crofting, farming, fishing, quarrying and forestry are important industries alongside tourism. The seat includes Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.

Politics: This was previously a safe seat for the Liberal Democrats, or at least for Charlie Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader. Kennedy won the seat in 1983, the only gain for the SDP in that election, and held it securely under 2015 when he was ousted in the SNP landslide.


Current MP
IAN BLACKFORD (SNP) Former investment banker. Contested Paisley 1997 by-election, Ayr 1997. First elected as MP for Ross, Skye & Lochaber in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 4260 (12%)
Lab: 5265 (15%)
LDem: 18335 (53%)
SNP: 5263 (15%)
Oth: 1715 (5%)
MAJ: 13070 (38%)
2005
Con: 3275 (10%)
Lab: 4851 (15%)
LDem: 19100 (59%)
SNP: 3119 (10%)
Oth: 2193 (7%)
MAJ: 14249 (44%)
2001*
Con: 3096 (9%)
Lab: 5880 (17%)
LDem: 18832 (54%)
SNP: 4901 (14%)
Oth: 2103 (6%)
MAJ: 12952 (37%)
1997
Con: 4368 (11%)
Lab: 11453 (29%)
LDem: 15472 (39%)
SNP: 7821 (20%)
Oth: 841 (2%)
MAJ: 4019 (10%)

2015 Candidates
LINDSAY MCCALLUM (Conservative) Educated at Fortrose Academy and Glasgow University. Chief of Staff to Ruth Davidson.
CHRIS CONNIFF (Labour) Contested Ross, Skye and Lochaber 2005.
CHARLES KENNEDY (Liberal Democrat) Born 1959, Inverness. Educated at Lochaber High School and Glasgow University. BBC journalist. MP for Ross, Cromarty and Skye 1983 to 2015. President of the Liberal Democrats 1990-1994, Leader of the Liberal Democrats 1999-2006. Kennedy was the youngest MP in the Commons when first elected for the SDP in 1983. He was elected Leader of the party in 1999 and was a highly popular and recognisable leader, although occassionally criticised as "chatshow Charlie" for appearing on programmes like Have I Got News For You. He lead the Liberal Democrat opposition to the Iraq War and saw them win a record number of seats - however, it was felt he had done fulfilled the party's potention and he increasingly came under attack for weak leadership, which was connected to rumours of a drink problem. In 2006 Kennedy announced he was seeking professional help for alcoholism and would hold and contest a leadership election. He stepped down from the leadership following a threat of mass-resignations by the Liberal Democrat frontbench.
PHILIP ANDERSON (UKIP) Farmer. Contested Ross, Skye and Inverness West 2001, Ross, Skye and Lochaber 2005, 2010.
ANNE THOMAS (Green) Born Bath. Speech and language therapist.
IAN BLACKFORD (SNP) Former investment banker. Contested Paisley 1997 by-election, Ayr 1997.
RONNIE CAMPBELL (Independent)
Links
Comments - 529 Responses on “Ross, Skye & Lochaber”
  1. Peter, many of the attacks on Kennedy during the election were made by persons quite happy to use their real names. I’m sure you will know who they are better than myself.

    No one is really anonymous on the internet, they only think they are.

    For myself, a few minutes research will tell anyone who exactly I am, my real name and previous political history.

    You, yourself were the soul of courtesy throughout the campaign.

  2. Peter Cairns

    “Well I for one am glad to see anyone who makes nasty personal insults about an opponent step down.”

    Indeed. It’s certainly a positive development to see both the SNP and Labour getting rid of more offensive elements within their parties which, it must be said, seem to be present in a large cross-section of party memberships.

  3. Galloglass,

    “For myself, a few minutes research will tell anyone who exactly I am, my real name and previous political history”

    But that’s not the same as making the decision to openly declare it. It’s true that a lot of people niece ly tend to think that they won’t get caught on the net if they hide their name, but it is the personal decision to make yourself known that matters as it ties you to what you post.

    The other aspect of all this and particularly the Press coverage of “Cybernats” is that much of what is put in tweets and blogs is little different to what they themselves put in print.

    I suspect if people put some effort in to produce a game of “Hack or Troll” most of us might be hard pressed to tell what was one of those vicious unwarranted attacks by a blogger the Press highly and which was one was the vicious unwarranted attack in a journalists syndicated column!

    for fun you could also put in a couple of the vilifying comments politicians, who like to complain about Internet Trolls, make about each other.

    I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that the Press make such a big deal about this because they have both partisan agendas and that it is just such easy copy that can get a headline with a cut & paste and little effort.

    After all now they can’t hack people’s phones it’s “Trawl for Trolls” or actually do some proper journalism and earn their money!

    Peter.

  4. This is probsbly the last seat on the LibDem target list to be in an achievable range for them in Scotland. Much will depend on whether the LIbDems will be able to find a high-profile candidate with local connections as the candidate still matters in these far-flung areas. It will also depend on how far the SNP’s Ian Blackford is able to build up a good reputation as an MP.

  5. I think this is gone for the Lib Dems, as are most of the Highland seats unless tactical voting can prop them up until something changes.

    Here, they are 13% behind already. There is no further tactical voting to collect – Labour lost their deposit and the Tories were little better. Their candidate next time will be significantly weaker than in 2015. Their only chance of regaining this in the near future is some sort of SNP implosion.

  6. @ Simon – for now Caithness would be the only seat where the Lib Dems have any prospect of coming back in the Highland council area.

  7. The longer term problem with Caithness is that it’s significantly less well off than most of the sort of seats that the Lib Dems tend to contend in. That said, they can probably maintain their position as the alternative to the SNP and if things go wrong for the SNP and/or Monaghan turns out to be poor, then you never know. It will be interesting to see how some of these rural seats go in 2016 though.

  8. The Caithness seat is rather interesting.

    It’s been suggested to me that the more deprived coastal villages in Ross-shire voted Yes, with the No-side winning outright across rural Ross. The area of Caithness also had a strong No vote, with a Yes in Wick. As such I’d imagine a Yes vote around the more built-up settlements around the northern Cromarty Firth, in Invergordon and around Milton and Balintore.

    The Black Isle section of the UK seat likely voted against independence: it’s by enlarge an affluent rural area although Dingwall looks to have went Yes.

    The seat isn’t inherently Liberal Democrat – as you say – it’s not an affluent community of “no Tories, but no Labour” similar to North East Fife, Edinburgh West and East Dunbartonshire, and it’s not a particularly affluent rural area like south and east Aberdeenshire… I’d imagine that the local Liberal Democrats relied in the Social Democrat vote in the seat: the economy and community are naturally more agricultural so Labour have never found solid ground beyond Thurso, Wick and the Firth of Cromarty… But combining this with the universal appeal of the SNP gives them a fair advantage over the Liberal Democrats, who are confined to rural Caithness and Ross.

    The simple fact is that unlike in Lochaber and Skye the ‘romantic’ side of independence did not take root here – the more rural parts of the seat appear to have remained more loyal to the Liberal Democrats than elsewhere in the Highland council area, with the social democratic towns and villages in Easter Ross which have generally voted Labour in local elections following a similar pattern to that of central Scotland.

    The Scottish Parliamentary boundaries appear more favourable – in my opinion – for the Liberal Democrats to that of the UK Parliament boundaries. I’d expect this to be the only seat in the Highland council area which the Liberal Democrats have any hope of recovering… Whilst the Inverness-Nairn seat does contain the presumably Liberal Democrat-voting Nairn it is dominated by the City of Inverness (which voted in favour of independence) and it’s surrounding areas. Apparently Lochaber and Skye both voted in favour of independence, making the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat a near certain SNP hold (with the Lib Dems performing decently along rural Black Isle and Badenoch).

    I don’t believe that the Liberal Democrats can recover here without a lurch towards the left. The Highland (and perhaps Argyll) Liberal Democrats are distinctly separate from the remaining Scottish Liberal Democrats in that their appeal rests in the SDP. This is particularly true in the Caithness area which was held by the Labour Party until 1983.

    One thing I will say is that the Liberal Democrats, under a First-Past-The-Post electoral system, are the most likely Unionist party to gain seats in Scotland/”recover”. Their decline in Scotland almost mirrors their decline in the rest of the United Kingdom. They also have the greatest appeal for “tactical unionist voters”, even if you do not believe they exist Simon.

  9. *Also the Liberal Democrats had quite a solid and comprehensive level of support in the Highland area in 2010: this has stayed comparably firm (to, say, Labour in central Scotland) in the 2015 election.

  10. Badenoch & Strathspey is the best LD award in INBS, and I think the party would have carried it (albeit narrowly) in 2015. The addition of part of this ward to the Skye etc. Holyrood seat will help the Lib Dems, but the removal of parts of rural Ross-shire will probably counteract this to an extent.

  11. As to Caithness – I believe Monagan has already gotten himself in trouble for some cybernat stuff.

  12. @ Iain – Skye voted in favour of independence. I’d imagine it will vote strongly SNP with Lochaber.

  13. I was talking about Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch constituency, not just Skye itself.

    Anyway, I’m not so sure Skye would have voted SNP – it has traditionally given the Lib Dems a huge lead in the constituency, and on UNS from 2007-11 (there are ward breakdowns from 2007) the ward would still have been Lib Dem.

  14. I know Iain, you said that as part of the Badenoch seat Skye would “help” the Liberal Democrats.

    I’d imagine that if the area did vote Yes/SNP romantic nationalism had a large influence over the area. It wouldn’t be the first 2007 result to skew considerably (take the Kyle electoral ward in South Ayrshire) which voted Conservative in 2007 despite only having a 57% No vote in the referendum (according to my own figures).

    A quite check on the local MP’s twitter account – Ian Blackford – “I can confirm Skye voted yes and overwhelmingly so. Well done all concerned.#SkyesaidYes”. In the comments section of this tweet he stated that this result was found by “…Ballot box sampling which is then cross checked against the official Highland result for reasonable accuracy.”

    He actually seems quite immature Cybernatic on Twitter. The SNP really should keep their MP’s in line.

    Apparently the Yes % by his own admission was 56% for Skye and Lochalsh… Not quite so overwhelming, unless the SNP are admitting that 55.3% No is an overwhelming result for the No campaign overall?

    I’d imagine outside of Inverness, Lochaber, Skye and north Cromarity Firth/Wick there was an overwhelming No vote in the Highland council area when these areas account for a very sizeable chuck of the area’s population.

  15. NTY UK – what wards in the Highlands would you imagine didn’t vote SNP in 2015?

    Skye has traditionally been the best LD ward in the council area, so it is not necessarily a given that it would have voted SNP – though of course the referendum result may well be more useful for predicting the 2015 results.

  16. @ Iain – unfortunately I am very unfamiliar with the Highland council area.

    I was rather disappointed (as a unionist) to see in the morning after the referendum vote that the Highland council area voted at just 53% to remain part of the United Kingdom: this surprised me given the pattern set in the night which saw large No majorities throughout the Liberal Democrats established seats…

    Knowing what I know now my belief is that the more SDP-affiliated areas of the Highland council area supported independence, propped up by a “romantic nationalism”. From various sources I have found that Skye, Lochaber and Inverness voted in favour of independence. I also believe that the area north of the Cromarity Firth voted in favour of independence (or had a sizeable ‘Yes’ vote at the very least’): this makes Skye voting Liberal Democrat in 2015 very questionable.

    So to answer your question:
    Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross:
    – Landward Caithness (Liberal Democrat)
    – Thurso (Liberal Democrat)
    – North, West and Central Sutherland (Liberal Democrat)

    Ross, Skye and Lochaber:
    – Black Isle (Liberal Democrat)
    – Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh (Liberal Democrat)

    Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey:
    – Aird and Loch Ness (Liberal Democrat)
    – Inverness Ness-Side (Liberal Democrat)

    It could be that no ward voted Liberal Democrat: this is just my opinion based on what I know. I’m very unsure about INBS!

  17. Ross, Skye and Lochaber is the only constituency in Scotland where the % Yes vote exceeded that of the combined Yes vote share in 2015, probably as a consequence of the strong political career of Charles Kennedy.

    Order of smallest Y/N swings (referendum compared to General Election):
    – Argyll & Bute (2% N to Y)
    – Ross, Skye & Lochaber (2% Y to N)
    – Orkney & Shetland (3% N to Y)
    – Glasgow North East (3% N to Y)

  18. ** Based on –
    1) Data from the counts for RSL which implies Lochaber and Skye both voted Yes at 56% and that RSL overall went Yes.
    2) Suggested SNP data of 57% Yes in Glasgow NE. (See Anne McLaughlin’s profile on the SNP website)?

  19. NTY UK

    We know that the Highland area was 53% NO. So where voted strongly NO if Ross and Skye were 56% YES?

    Also where are you getting those swings from? If its just comparing YES votes to the SNPs 2015 GE results it’s pretty meaningless.

  20. INTERESTED-

    That isn’t what I said…
    “Data from the counts for RSL which implies Lochaber and Skye both voted Yes at 56% and that RSL overall went Yes.”

    Lochaber and Skye take up PART of the seat, however the seat also extends into rural Badenoch, Wester Ross and the Black Isle: areas which the No campaign won. This left the overall Yes vote in the RSL seat at 50/51% – as I clearly suggested when I stated that there was a 2% swing from Yes to No in 2015…? (And not a swing of 8%)…

    The INBS seat marginally voted against independence although Inverness City itself went Yes, leaving Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross with the highest No vote at around 57/58% No.

    Why does it matter? Why does any of the results in Scotland matter when the Tories won an overall majority? Even if it doesn’t interest you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t interest other people- for me it is interesting as it demonstrates where the No vote in the referendum was most saturated (around the Highlands & Islands).

  21. The swings compare the overall Yes vote with the combined ‘Yes’ party vote in the seats. – if you don’t think it’s meaningful then that’s your opinion.

  22. It’s only meaningful if your figures are reliable. Unless you’ve seen a leaked breakdown of the votes by area, I think it would be fair to characterise them as best guesses. Which is not to say that Charles Kennedy didn’t do relatively well, although I’d guess that was more of a personal vote than that he actually managed to persuade Yes voters to change their minds between the referendum and the general election.

  23. @ Simon – that’s what I said…
    The SNP documented 56% Yes in Lochaber and Skye, and No votes across rural Wester Ross and Black Isle (this is all from the counts, so it’s pretty reliable) – they found an overall Yes vote in RSL with No’s in CSER/INBS. Given recent by-elections in the area (to account for the No vote in Black Isle/Wester Ross) 50/51% Yes is a plausible “guess” which shouldn’t be dismissed. I for one am happy to examine electoral notions with a degree of interested caution… It’s never going to be an exact science, but interesting nonetheless that Kennedy managed (how ever small a degree) to attract Yes voters to his side… It demonstrates a strong and unrivaled personal vote in the area.

  24. As a note, Yes parties actually got 50.6% here (possibly 51.1% if the independent candidate was pro-Yes). If the Yes vote was 50-51% then he didn’t actually attract Yes voters to vote for him (or at least not to a greater extent than the SNP attracted No voters).

  25. Wasn’t counting the independent candidate.

    Generally independent candidates – even if they support independence – attract voters from both sides of the referendum, although predominantly from the No camp (eg. transfers from the Ayr East/Highland by-elections).

    Also, my mistake, I thought that the Greens didn’t stand here and didn’t add them up!
    That would leave a swing of around 0%! It’s hard to say which way the vote went if we’re distributing the independent vote although I would guess a very minuscule swing to the Yes side (possibly around 0.2%)

  26. NTY

    The geographical specific figures do interest me, but the reason why I questioned them is they’re clearly not official figures, and you didn’t state where they’re from, or how they were attained.

    I’m however still skeptical about comparing YES 2014 to SNP/Green/SSP in 2015 as ‘Yes’ swings. There are all sorts of other local and national factors at play.

  27. @ Intereseted – the data is all derived from SNP count figures, which is in itself subjective.

    – The local MP stated that Skye had a Yes vote of 56% on Twitter.
    – A member of the local SNP group stated Lochaber had a 56% Yes vote on a social media platform (I forget where I found this one, sorry).
    – RDL suggested that from the local counts RSL had a overall Yes vote.

    That is the reason why I am comparing the results, it provides an interesting in sight into how local factors have influenced the results.

  28. I find it very difficult to picture a Yes victory in this constituency.

    With the presupposed Yes votes of 56% in Skye and Lochaber the Yes camp would need to secure atleast 44% of the vote in Wester Ross, Dingwall and Black Isle.

    This would result in huge No majorities across north Ross-shire, Caithness, Badenoch and Nairn, which in itself contradicts the trend set by a Yes vote in RSL.

  29. Or Yes didn’t get 56% in Skye and Lochaber.

  30. @ Simon – Well interestingly Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross sets a very strong trend which suggests big No votes in rural Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire. It’s likely that Badenoch, Nairn, Black Isle etc. had strong No votes touching 60% however for RSL to vote Yes this would mean even bigger No votes in Badenoch, Nairn etc. to compensate for a larger Yes vote around the north of the constituency. The demographics of the area just makes this assumption unworkable, although the Highland vote is very estranged from the rest of Scotland. The vote did follow CERTAIN demographic lines, yet pretty decent No vote in CSER makes it all very confusing.

  31. Basically it looks like the vote went as follows:

    Big Nos in rural parts of the Highland council and in some of the more affluent towns and villages such as Thurso, Nairn and Dingwall.

    Yes votes in Skye, Lochaber (especially around Fort William), Inverness, Wick and around parts of the north Cromarty Firth.

  32. I wonder if the Highland Independents can take most of the seats in Highland for 2017… Thoughts on this?

  33. I’m looking forward to seeing if the Liberal Democrats strengthen/recover at all in the Highlands. I’d expect the SNP to strengthen on 2012, and we might see Labour struggle to hold onto their seats in Inverness and Caithness, given the relatively strong nationwide performance of Labour in 2012.

    Without having any knowledge of note of the area, however, it’s impossible to predict how the local politics of personality will play out at both a party and independent level.

  34. Apparently, new Conservative MSP Douglas Ross was running the line at Pittodrie yesterday as Ross County humped the Dons 4-0. I wonder if the SPFL will allow him to continue officiating matches involving Highland teams, as that’s the region he now represents in the Parliament.

    He’s also been selected to run the line at Euro 2016, which will surely give him the highest absentee rate in the parliament during its initial months!

  35. Really he ought to turn down the request to go to Euro 2016. Working in domestic football is one things as most matches are at the weekend and hence don’t clash with Parliament, but going away for a month is quite a different story.

    Is Douglas Ross also the one who’s qualified to artificially inseminate cows?

  36. “The Caithness seat is rather interesting.”

    The Caithness Holyrood constituency is the only Holyrood constituency that is larger than its Westminster counterpart.

    The Lib Dems victories in the Northern Isles, Fife NE and Edinburgh West are a bit of a smoke screen.

    Their only advance elsewhere was Argyll & Bute, were they defeated Westminster MP Alan Reid stood.

    They have dreadful results in the other Highland seats, Aberdeenshire and the Scottish Borders.

  37. @Piemonteis Given that the SPFL believe referees and their assistants are professional enough to be impartial when officiating the team they support themselves, I’d imagine Mr. Ross will be free to do all the Highland teams. He may get even more abuse than normal when fans of certain teams find out about his day job though.

    Also, isn’t Euro 2016 on during the Parliament’s summer break?

  38. @Dalek The Lib Dems did pretty well in Caithness as well, actually, although I suspect they were just a repository for unionist tactical votes, rather than the initial signs of a revival.

  39. Based on the preliminary boundary provisions set out by the Local Boundary Commission for Scotland I would suggest that East Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire will be the main battlegrounds of the 2017 local council elections.

    I believe that roughly East Renfrewshire should return 7 councillors affiliated with the Scottish Conservatives, 6 from the SNP and 5 from Scottish Labour. South Ayrshire going 11 Conservative, 9 SNP and 8 Labour.

    East Lothian should miss out from going Labour/Conservative (I have it 9 SNP, 7 Conservative, 6 Labour).

  40. In some ways, those areas don’t matter much, because all the councils will need two of the Tories, Labour and the SNP to form an administration. The exact results of the elections, although interesting, won’t change that.

  41. Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders should both go Conservative without much difficulty, which is why I haven’t classed them as “battlegrounds”.

    I’ll have a closer look at Aberdeenshire, Moray etc. once the commission publish their final recommendation (which should be within the month).

  42. Caithness was OK for the Liberal Democrats although their vote dropped on CSER by nearly 2,000 (before considering boundary differences, as mentioned the Scottish Parliament seat is slightly larger to the Westminster seat in terms of electors).

    Argyll and Bute was a pretty good result for the Liberal Democrats: their vote wasn’t down that much from my notional for the constituency for 2015 (vote share of 29% / 2016 vote of 26%), considering that they started from fourth place in 2011 it was a strong result: a clear indicator of the personal nature of politics in the Highlands.

    The remaining ex-Liberal territories in Scotland tended to be strong for the Conservatives.

  43. Assuming you mean that the Conservatives will be the largest party, I suspect Dumfries and Galloway is too close to be sure of that. It may depend on things like where the independents are still strong, whose vote turns out and the luck of the voting system.

  44. Given their performance in Glasgow the Tories should win a seat in the new 4 seat Pollokshields and Kelvindale/Dowanhill Wards.

  45. Strathkelvin & Bearsden and East Dunbartonshire are two completely different constituencies.

    Firstly, let me correct the boundary commission in their own mistake: Strathkelvin & Bearsden is really Strathkelvin & Bearsden South. The constituency covers some of East Dunbartonshire’s affluent suburbs such as part of Bearsden, Bishopsbriggs and Lenzie, however it also covers Kirkintilloch: a working town.

    The boundaries are notably less favourable for the “unionist” parties versus the East Dunbartonshire seat, which is almost exclusively middle class (omitting most of Kirkintilloch and covering the suburbs of Milngavie and the northern section of Bearsden.

    My 2015 notional for Strathkelvin and Bearsden:
    Scottish National – 46%
    Liberal Democrat – 23%
    Labour – 21%
    Conservative – 8%
    Other – 2%

    I published the list vote on the East Dunbartonshire page of this website, which was:
    Scottish National – 14,862 (37.7%)
    Conservative – 9,646 (24.5%)
    Labour – 7,466 (19.0%)
    Liberal Democrat – 3,295 (8.4%)
    Green – 2,603 (6.6%)
    UKIP – 657 (1.7%)
    Scottish Christian – 312 (0.8%)
    Solidarity – 268 (0.7%)
    RISE – 167 (0.4%)
    Liberatian – 57 (0.1%)

  46. Re: Douglas Ross

    I see the conversation’s moved on a bit, but the conflict of interests in this case would be professional rather than personal, as it isn’t simply a case of an official’s club allegiance or area of domicile potentially affecting the objectivity of said official.

    Rather, his job may require him to promote the interests of Ross County and Inverness CT in the parliament, and may potentially require him to develop a close relationship with both clubs. This could be equated to an assistant referee who works as a full-time lawyer representing an individual club in court proceedings.

    However, this is clearly a football matter, rather than a political one. I wouldn’t begrudge him the opportunity to officiate at a major tournament, even if it leads to him missing parliamentary sessions (I haven’t been able to find dates for the summer recess). I imagine he’ll be the only elected politician participating at Euro 2016.

  47. On the regional list vote the Conservatives polled second (behind the SNP) in all three Highland constituencies.

  48. I have been tweaking with my 2014 independence referendum notionals for this area.

    The results in the Highlands were very unusual as the vote didn’t really follow demographic lines: for example I’ve heard consistent reports that Thurso had a massive 60% No vote (which is very strange as the demographics of the town should be better for Yes).

    The vote appears to have been very close in this constituency: down to the wire perhaps. The demographics would suggest that the constituency voted against independence, but who knows.

    Now there’s something I would love to point out: my previous calculations in this constituency were well off the mark. It appears that Charles Kennedy (a great man who will be sorely missed) actually polled ahead in the Black Isle and Wester Ross, Strathpeffer & Lochalsh wards at the 2015 UK general election: a clear reflection of his massive personal vote in the area.

    Based on everything I’ve been told about this area (and it is actually quite a lot) would suggest that the three Highland constituencies voted as follows in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014:
    * Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross – 55% No
    * Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey – 53% No
    * Ross, Skye and Lochaber – 50% No

  49. Given the weakness of other parties here I can’t see the Lib Dems being usurped for second, or even coming close to leaving that position.

    Traditionally the strongest Lib Dem area has been the Isle of Skye, where the vote was weighed rather than counted in recent years, but it now seems that the SNP are polling ahead there.

  50. Actually the Conservatives came second in all three Highland constituencies on the regional list vote at the 2016 Holyrood election.

    In Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch they took 20.0% of the regional list vote to the SNP’s 40.8%.

    In Caithness, Sutherland & Ross they took 19.7% of the regional list vote to the SNP’s 39.8%.

    In Inverness & Nairn they took 21.7% of the regional list vote to the SNP’s 42.1%.

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