SNP never stood a chance against tactical voting in Edinburgh Southern - John McLellan

As an Edinburgh Southern resident I had to laugh at the claims by SNP activists in The Scotsman that they failed to oust Labour MSP Daniel Johnston because their candidate Catriona MacDonald was poor.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:45 pm
Edinburgh Southern SNP candidate Catriona MacDonald. Picture: JPIMedia

"Unfortunately this campaign was blighted by an inexperienced candidate who was neither inclusive of nor communicative with activists and constituency party organisations,” said one.

"The vast majority of volunteers were alienated rather than mobilised, and the party’s positive message did not reach voters."

Really? I don’t know anything about Ms MacDonald’s relationship with her activists, but I do know that our house was virtually knee deep in targeted SNP literature and I doubt very much if any voters were uncertain about what the SNP was offering.

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Ms McDonald actually won 4,000 more votes than Jim Eadie in 2016, but the difference was the overwhelming effect of tactical voting as Conservatives swung behind Mr Johnston to help lift his vote by over 7,000. In fact, his total of 20,760 was over 1,000 more than Nicola Sturgeon’s in Glasgow Southside.

Hard as it might be for committed Nationalists to accept, a clear majority in Edinburgh Southern know which side their bread is buttered when it comes to independence. It might be the UK’s Remainer capital, but even the promise of a return to the EU wasn’t enough to trump concerns about the economic slump separation would herald. Indeed, so far Brexit is its best illustration.

Against an embedded sitting MSP, this election was about factors the most committed and effective new constituency candidate couldn’t counter.